Monday, November 29, 2004

Letting daughter attend drunken frat party

A letter to Dear Abby says:
My 16-year-old daughter went to a party at a frat house where she was given a great deal to drink. Feeling "woozy," she went outside. One of the "boys" suggested she go back to his room to lie down. She had known this fellow before that night and trusted him. ...
You can guess the rest of the story. The odd thing here is that Dear Abby fails to notice anything wrong with the parents for letting their 16-year-old daughter get drunk at a college frat party.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Aliens getting American jobs

John sends this Las Vegas Sun article about how a new increase in the H-1B quota is going to cost Americans their jobs.
Some high-tech groups claim H-1B visas unfair

A push by some federal lawmakers to extend a yearly cap on temporary visas for highly skilled foreign workers is necessary to make sure American businesses can attract the talent they need to compete, company executives and immigration lawyers say.

But one local out of work computer programmer says allowing more foreign skilled workers is unfair to people like him, adding to the supply of workers chasing scarce jobs.

Jordan Stevens, a computer programmer who hasn't worked full-time in his field in three years, sees the proposed extension as a way for companies to improve their bargaining position with prospective employees, an unnecessary federal move that would hurt American workers.

NBA bad boys

I think that a lot of people are overreacting the recent scuffle at a Detroit basketball game. I've seen several TV clips, and I don't see where anyone got hurt. There was some bad behavior, but I don't think that anyone attempted to injure anyone else. I didn't see anything criminal. A one-game suspension for players should suffice.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The NY Times is covering the invention of digital music:
Music Industry Is Trying Out New Releases as Digital Only

... But for the companies, shifting to a digital world means treading on unstable financial ground. Instead of plunking down $16 for an album, fans can now visit free file-sharing networks to grab songs.
Somebody should tell them that music CDs have been all-digital for over 20 years.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Andy writes:
A few times a year liberal publications will promote a "new missing link." You can count on the NY Times running this type of story in its bogus "Science" section several times a year. Roger just circulated such a story from the Murky News (San Jose Mercury News).

Each of these stories has the following characteristics:

1. It gives the impression that the artifact is "human" when it really isn't. (Liberals have redefined "human").

2. It quotes "scientists" who likely supported Kerry and would believe in evolution regardless of the evidence, creating enormous bias.

3. It claims to have old dates for the artifacts but never tells you what was actually dated (usually the dating is NOT based on the artifacts themselves).

4. Usually the artifact is a collection of separate pieces put together by evolution promoters, but the article will not convey that impression.

5. There is a lucrative market for these alleged artifacts, giving greater incentive to fake them, that is never disclosed in the articles.

6. Independent scrutiny of the artifacts by skeptics is usually not allowed. Access to the Piltdown Man was limited for years, for example.

These pseudoscientific articles are supermarket tabloid stuff. They give science a bad name.
The article said:
Scientists have discovered the remains of a tree-climbing creature that lived 13 million years ago in what is now northeastern Spain and may be the last common ancestor of modern-day great apes and humans, according to a report published today.

Scholars greeted the discovery as a spectacular find, bringing together 83 skull fragments, vertebrae, wrist bones, ribs and other bones from the same animal, a rarity in a field that often bases its analyses on a few skull fragments and teeth.

The fossil also is the oldest of a primate displaying traits shared by modern great apes, but not by monkeys: a broad, flat chest; shoulder blades fixed to the back rather than the sides; a spinal column suited to vertical climbing; a relatively flat face; and wrists that make it easy to grab and hold branches and tree trunks.

In all, the remains represent a landmark addition to a fossil record that seeks to trace primate evolution from a 55 million-year-old lemur-like creature to the monkeys and great apes -- chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and human ancestors -- and finally to the appearance of modern humans only 100,000 years ago.
Andy is misusing the term "artifact" -- all artifacts are made by humans.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Parents get prosecuted for minor mistakes

15-year-old Christopher Osbourne got mugged, and his parents got arrested for failing to notice that his head was bleeding. His lawyers say:
The story of the interrogation and arrest of Carlene Francis and Neville Henry is far from unique; this is a case that we as lawyers at the Bronx Defenders' Family Defense Project see every day in the criminal justice system and in family court.

In poor communities of color, like the South Bronx, the criminal justice system is routinely used by the police and prosecutors to call into question reasonable and necessary parental decisions that should never be criminalized.

As the lawyers for Ms. Francis, we saw the rush to judgment by the police and prosecutors and the subsequent trauma and separation this family endured. There should never have been an arrest or a child protective investigation of this family.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

You may need permission to fast-forward

John writes:
Here's another reason to fight Arlen Specter!
Congress is considering a new copyright law:
The proposal started with the Hollywood lobby trying to prevent DVD makers from including technology that would allow people to skip through the promotional material that comes with movies at the beginning and end of DVD films.

But now lawmakers are realizing that the bill is written so loosely that it could make criminals out of viewers sitting at home who use a remote control to fast-forward past commercials. (The bill specifically allows people to fast-forward through parts of a movie if it is too gory or sexually explicit — a right people already have, of course.)
This is crazy. How would anyone decide what is legal to skip, and what is not? If, say, I have a pathological fear of spiders, could I get govt permission to skip movie scenes with spiders?

Monday, November 15, 2004

Bogus sexual harassment lawsuit

A former writer's assistant for a TV sitcom, Amaani Lyle, has sued for sexual harassment, because they used some sexually explicit language while brainstorming new scripts!

She doesn't even claim that any of the comments were directed at her, but only that she was offended that the writers talk about sex so much.

The whole point of a TV show like Friends is to be soft-core porn for women. It uses a lot of sexually titillating jokes that women like. It seems obvious that the writers would use much more vulgar language, and then clean it up for TV.

The complainer had previously sued for sexual harassment in a previous job. There should be some national registry of women who file such lawsuits.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

School has zero tolerance for cartwheels

A schoolgirl was suspended for doing cartwheels:
Deirdre Faegre, a sixth-grader at San Jose-Edison Academy in West Covina -- a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade charter school with 1,150 students --was suspended Tuesday when school authorities warned her for the last time to stop doing gymnastic stunts during lunchtime.

"They told me I can't do it anymore because I can hurt other people or myself," the 90-pound Deirdre said. "There's other kids that do ... but it's obviously only been told to me and I don't know why." ...

"Our first concern is the safety of all of our children," Patton said. The gymnastics have "created an unsafe situation for herself and others." ...

There would be chaos if all students decided to do gymnastic stunts at school, he said.

Also, Patton added, most children are not as skilled as Deirdre, who has been practicing with the Charter Oak Gymnastics team since she was 6. They may try to copy her and get hurt.

"She may be skilled in being able to do these stunts, but I have had children who have tried to mimic what these skilled children do and end up hurt."
Maybe the problem is stupid school administrators trying to mimic the skilled ones.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Arafat dead

It is funny how no one wants to say that Yasser Arafat died of AIDS.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Wisc. evolution

Andy writes:
Roger circulated an AP story saying this: "Members of Grantsburg's school board believed that a state law governing the teaching of evolution was too restrictive. The science curriculum 'should not be totally inclusive of just one scientific theory,' said Joni Burgin, superintendent of the district of 1,000 students in northwest Wisconsin. Last month, when the board examined its science curriculum, language was added calling for 'various models/theories' of origin to be incorporated."

OK, so far so good. Only the most hardened censor would object to that.

But that's what liberals are, as 300 educators complain about allowing any criticism or alternatives to evolution indoctrination. CNN's headline screams, "Wisconsin district to teach more than evolution," and AP complains with the lead sentence that "School officials have revised the science curriculum to allow the teaching of creationism, prompting an outcry from more than 300 educators who urged that the decision be reversed."
Phyllis writes:
Another item of intolerance: The ACLU is suing the Cobb County School District (Atlanta) for a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state because the school has put stickers in biology textbooks saying that evolution is "a theory, not a fact" and should be "approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered." NYT, 11-8-04

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Fatherhood wins in Mass. election

Fathers rights groups advocate a presumption of joint child custody, instead of just giving custody to the mother. A nonbinding ballot initiative in Mass. just passed with about 80% of the vote:
The referendum asked whether voters want their state representative "to vote for legislation to create a strong presumption in child custody cases in favor of joint physical and legal custody, so that the court will order that children have equal access to both parents as much as possible, except where there is clear and convincing evidence that one parent is unfit, or that joint custody is not possible due to the fault of one of the parents."

Supporters of a "yes" vote have argued that some judges in divorce and child custody cases are inclined to favor the mother when deciding which parent should have legal and physical custody. They contend that state law should guide judicial action more firmly in the direction of joint legal and physical custody and of assuring children's "equal access to both parents as much as possible."

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Is it a gay gene or a God gene

Dr. Dean Hamer, a molecular geneticist, once claimed that he discovered a gay gene. Further research by others shot down that theory. Now he claims that he has found a God gene.
Still, he writes, the fact that spirituality has a genetic component implies that it has evolved for a purpose. "There is now reasonable evidence that spirituality is in fact beneficial to our physical as well as mental health. Faith may not only make people feel better, it may actually make them better people."
This sort of goofy genetic determinism used to be very politically incorrect.