Let’s “teach the contoversy” of Dubya’s homosexuality.

April 2, 2010

As the Texas School board is so intent on teaching (manufactured) controversies, I think we should teach the controversy that George W. Bush is a homosexual, which would thus nullify any and all restrictions on gay marriage, adoption rights, ordination, or military service.

Let’s start by revising history and social studies textbooks to add “liberal balance” to otherwise conservatively-skewed, conservatively-biased texts that suggest that George W. Bush is a heterosexual. After all, George W. Bush’s heterosexuality is only a theory, not a fact.

It’s not that I’m attempting to re-write history to support a liberal agenda. It’s just that I’m offering a “less traditional” point of view. The only reason that George W. Bush’s heterosexuality is accepted by mainstream America as “fact” is that this belief is spread by right-wing media and conservative college professors, who have conspired together to perpetuate this unproven theory.

These intellectually elitist conservative professors only hesitate to address this alternative point of view because they’re scared of the controversy; they don’t want to admit that they could be wrong! This is the same reason why they won’t directly respond to people who hold this different point of view.

They say that the believe in democratic ideals and free speech. They say that they want students to think critically about what they’re being taught in school. Yet, the fact that they won’t directly engage me in a debate over this issue is clear evidence that the “gay Dubya” theory threatens their authoritarian grasp on history.

After all, George W. Bush was a cheerleader in high school
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And George W. Bush was photographed kissing another man.

And another time another man was seen photographed Zipping up George W. Bush’s fly.

Surely this can’t be in anyway a misrepresentation of facts!

Plus, I’ve seen the movie Brokeback Mountain, which is about gay cowboys from Texas. Or so I like to think. George W. Bush is also a cowboy from Texas! Some say that Brokeback Mountain is a work of fiction, but there are a lot of people who think that it’s the truth! Shouldn’t we give fair representation to their side of the story? Don’t they and their opinions deserve an equal audience?

Conservatives have yet to produce George W. Bush’s marriage certificate, on which he would clearly have stated his sexual orientation. I am proud to be labeled a “Marriager” and I will continue to ask “Where’s the Certificate?” until he produces it. The fact that both Texas and the Unites States refuse to give me (or publish) a photocopy of George W. Bush’s marriage certificate without question or restriction must mean that they have something to hide!

Yes, historical evidence doesn’t support the idea that George W. Bush is a homosexual. But conservatives can’t offer any definitive evidence that kissing men and having men zip up your fly isn’t gay. If they’re so smart, they should be able to come right out and wow everybody with irrefutable evidence that George W. Bush isn’t gay.

The fact that they haven’t must mean that they’re either not as smart as they claim to be, or that they are running from this debate!

I know that I am not an authority on George W. Bush, nor have I made any particular effort to research him. And despite what many experts say, I still have a strong feeling that he Dubya might be gay. If feelings can guide the Texas school board’s historical revisionism, they can guide mine too!

As the Texas School Board has shown, if your historical and scientific fact do not show your opinions in a positive light, the only logical step is to rewrite history and science while ignoring and marginalizing contradictory facts. It’s a hell of a lot easier and more uplifting than critically examining ones own beliefs.

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No Teacher Left Behind? Not so in Pennsylvania

November 18, 2009

According to its Department of Education’s estimates, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a projected shortage of more than 12,000 teachers. This alarming statistic is exacerbated by Pennsylvania’s Teacher Recruitment Bureaucracy.

Due to under staffing at the Department of Education, a prospective teacher in Pennsylvania has to wait approximately 3 months for the processing of his or her application for teacher certification  (the official word is 8-10 weeks, while unofficial sources within the Department of Education say that the process takes 12 weeks).

While Pennsylvania’s Department of Education assures prospective teachers that their applications are being processed in the most efficient manner”, it neglects to mention that its staff of 20-25 evaluators process around 66,000 applications per year. If you do the math (66,000/261/20 or 25) each evaluator has to process around 10-12 applications per work day.

Whether or not this is an unusually burdensome work load for application evaluators is open to debate.

While 3 months may seem like a short time, it is an eternity in the life of a teacher. Not only does this lengthy waiting period hinder a school from hiring new and enthusiastic teachers for an entire semester, but it increases the likelihood that prospective teachers will pursue other career paths (and ultimately leave the education field altogether) as a result of having to seek other employment in the interim.

As the wife of one excellent, yet jaded teacher put it:

…he did indeed opt for another career path solely for the purpose of feeding and providing a home for his family. Only in the past year has he returned to searching info in the education field. Why did it take so long? He was too busy working at his hourly job. By the time he arrived home, he wanted to spend time with his family before falling into bed, exhausted. There was no time to continue the certification process and/or job search.

A recent letter about this issue was sent to the office of Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell; this letter encouraged the Governor to address this problem by adding more staff to the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Bureau of Teacher Certification and Preparation. In response, his office replied:

… Your suggestions were passed along to the Governor for his review and consideration. Governor Rendell appreciates you taking the time to bring this to his attention. He does not take the input of Pennsylvania’s residents lightly and he always tries to keep their viewpoints in mind when making important decisions.

If you have any additional questions or concerns pertaining to state related issues in the future, please do not hesitate to contact this office again.

To this date, however, no action has been taken. If you would like to contact Governor Rendell about this, you can do so by:

Calling Governor Rendell at (717) 787-2500
Faxing Governor Rendell at (717) 772-8284
Emailing Governor Rendell by clicking here

An Open “No Confidence” Letter to Senator Lieberman: race-baiting the Fort Hood tragedy is unacceptable.

November 9, 2009

Dear Senator Lieberman,

In direct defiance of the Army’s top brass and its Commander-in-Chief,  you have effectively race-baited the recent tragedy at Ford Hood by publicly stating that:

“Dr. Hasan had become an Islamist extremist and, therefore,… this was a terrorist act”

President Obama and Army Chief of Staff General George Casey cautioned Americans against jumping to conclusions until law enforcement officials investigate the shootings and gather the facts. They imparted this advice out of concerns that such actions would incite a backlash against Muslims serving in the Armed Forces.

Your decision to ignore this call for cautious introspection is civically irresponsible act of insurrection and reflects terribly on your position as a both a member of the Committee on Armed Services and The Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

You are chiefly responsible for overseeing The Department of Homeland Security, who’s stated mission is to “secure the nation from the many threats we face”. The first line of defense against these threats is our military, and the key to its success is its ability to function as a cohesive unit. Your comments threaten that cohesion by potentially inciting racist tension within our Armed Forces.

Otherwise put, your unnecessarily inflammatory remarks hinder our military’s ability to protect us from our enemies and, in effect, pose the very same type of threat to our Nation that the Department of Homeland Security is charged with protecting us from.

You are evidently negligent in your sworn duties and, as such, are incapable of handling the responsibilities entrusted to you. It is therefor requested that you resign your chairmanship of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and remove yourself from the Committee on Armed Services, effective immediately.

Sincerely,
The Undersigned

An Open Letter to Governor Rendell

October 14, 2009

An open letter to Governor Rendell concerning the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s inability to process teacher certification applications in under 3 months.

Dear Governor Rendell,

I am a certified teacher who recently became one of your constituents. In order to establish a new life as a public school teacher in your state, I have submitted my application for a Pennsylvania Teaching License. Herein lies an issue that I would like to bring to your attention.

I, like you, am concerned about Pennsylvania’s quality of public education and its ability to find, attract, and recruit teachers. Therefore, it is important to note that Pennsylvania’s Teacher Certification System hurts and hinders this effort.

I submitted my application for Pennsylvania teacher certification on October 2nd and have been informed that, due to a backlog caused by under-staffing at the Bureau of Teacher Certification and Preparation, my application will take three months to process.

Three months is an eternity in Educational time. Not only does such a long period hinder a school from hiring new and enthusiastic teachers for entire semesters, but it increases the likelihood that prospective teachers will pursue other career paths as a result of having to seek other employment in the interim.

Likewise, the feeling of being trapped in Bureaucratic Purgatory has a disheartening and discouraging effect on teachers who should otherwise be excited about their chosen career path.

By your own Department of Education’s estimates, Pennsylvania is projected to have a shortage of over 12,000 teachers in the near future. Reforming and better staffing the Bureau of Teacher Certification and Preparation will not only help assuage this problem, but it will stimulate the economy by creating jobs for both teachers and prospective Department of Education employees.

I hope that you will take the appropriate action to resolve this issue and I look forward to future news of Department of Education reforms.

Best Regards,
James Clarke and mutually concerned constituents.

Important Contact Information:

Call Governor Rendell at (717) 787-2500
Fax Governor Rendell at (717) 772-8284
Email Governor Rendell by clicking here

Call the Bureau of Teacher Certification and Preparation at (717)787-3356
Call the Pennsylvania Office of Press and Communications at (717) 783-9802
Call Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald L. Zahorchak at (717) 787-5820

Is Sympathy for Bernie Madoff’s Millionaire Victims Misplaced?

March 24, 2009

By now, most of us have heard the sad, sob stories of millionaires (and multimillionaires) who have lost there life savings to Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme; life savings in the millions, and in some cases tens of millions. But I can’t help wondering if maybe we’re being a bit to sympathetic to them.

Ponzi investment schemes, like most other “get rich quick” cons, work because they exploit their victims’ careless and overzealous greed. Their victims naively assume that they can shortcut the hard work that honest, successful people undertake to get the equivalent rewards. Such schemes bring out the worst in people; not only as evidenced by the crooks, but by their victims as well.

Take, for example, the case of Nobel Prize Lauriette and Holocaust Survivor Elie Wiesel.

Now, granted, I deeply respect Mr. Wiesel for his accomplishments and I am in no way diminishing his legacy of hardships. However, Mr. Wiesel blew over 15 million dollars that was supposed to be set aside for his charity, The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, on this get rich(er) quick scheme.

Due to Mr. Wiesel’s apparent shortsightedness and desire to, in his own words “make so much more profit”, a fortune which would have otherwise provided aid for thousands of Jewish refugees, has now evaporated into nothing, thus negating his charitable foundation’s plans to open a center in Jerusalem.

It is a sad irony that Jewish refugees, who in the last century have survived Nazi monstrosities, are now forced to suffer because of a green-eyed monstrosity.

If such fortunes had been lost to equally foolish enrichment gambles such as horse races or Nigerian inheritance schemes, popular opinion would be against these victims. But because Bernard Madoff is such a hateable crook (and marketable poster-child), we all seem to excuse the victims and absolve them of their responsibility.

If we should cry for victims of financial ruin, why not cry for countless people who have lost their life savings due to health care costs, natural disasters, atrocity, or the economy? Why not cry for the people who, due to live long impoverishment, have never had finances worthy of ruination in the first place?

The true cost of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is not among those who sought profit, but for those to whom these millions of seemingly expendable dollars could have been given in charity. I sympathize with the people who need more money, not with the people who want more money.

The Scariest Bathrooms in New York City

March 23, 2009

Everybody is familiar with the “gas station bathroom” nightmare– the gross, in-house outhouses that desperate commuters are expected to settle for on road trips.

For New York City Yellow Cab Drivers, such horrific bathrooms are the daily reality.

Behold, the disgusting world of the bathrooms designated for Taxi Drivers at the Central Taxi Stand at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Most of the sinks have either broken faucets or broken soap dispensers. Some, like the sink pictured below, have both broken faucets and broken soap dispensers.
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Many of the toilets, such as the one below, do not have toilet seats.
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In fact, many of the bathroom stalls are broken as well. Damage to these bathroom stalls includes:

Bathroom Stall Doors Falling off the Hinges:
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Bathroom Stalls Held Together By String (I believe that it is packing string)
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Bathroom Stalls which, having lost anchor with the wall and floor, are being supported only by a milk crate:
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And of course, as if this should be a surprise, most of the bathroom stalls, like the one pictured below, do not have working locks.
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The City of New York is however, kind enough to supply its Taxi Drivers with working XCelerator Automated Hand Dryers (not pictured).

Incidentally, look at the below picture. Notice that there are no signs designating “Mens” and Women’s” Bathrooms. That’s because 0318090550bathrooms are not provided for women at JFK International Airport’s Central Taxi Stand. Those who wanted to make a guess about the demographics of Taxi Drivers based on the empirical evidence gathered at the Central Taxi Stand would wrongly assume that all the Taxi Drivers in New York City are Men. They aren’t.

There is a conspicuous lack of women at The Central Taxi Stand because The City of New York does not provide facilities for its female Taxi Drivers. Given that a fare from JFK International Airport (which requires Taxi Drivers to queue at the Central Taxi Stand) can pay off almost half of a Taxi Driver’s daily lease, this deprives female taxi drivers of an opportunity afforded to their male counterparts.

As you can see from these photos, the condition of the bathrooms at the JFK International Airport Central Taxi Stand are deplorable, even by mens’ standards.

Why does the city of New York show such disregard for its Taxi Drivers?

Is it because most of New Yorks Taxi Drivers are immigrants? (Or come from immigrant families?)

Is it because most of New York’s Taxi Drivers possess less than a college education?

Maybe it’s because New York City Taxi Drivers depend on the Central Taxi Stand for their livelihood and as a consequence, do not have the luxury of opportunities to boycott a businesses that has such filthy, disgusting bathrooms.

If you could like to join me in complaining to the City of New York, here is what you can do:

Email Mayor Bloomberg by clicking here

Email Matthew W. Daus, the Commissioner of the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) by clicking here

Now that we can ban “A Visit to Cuba”, let’s ban Sesame Street too!

February 12, 2009

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals should be applauded for upholding the Miami-Day School District’s ban on the K-2 Social Studies Book A Visit to Cuba.

A Visit to Cuba, which attempts to teach 5-7 year old children about the culture, geography, and lives of children in Cuba, was rightfully banned because it “presents an inaccurate view of life in Cuba” by failing to address the atrocities wrought by the Cuban Dictatorship.

Concerned parents should take this decision to push for a ban on Sesame Street as well. Like A Visit to Cuba, Sesame Street presents an inaccurate view of life by failing to address adult politics.

Below is a breakdown of how many of the characters on Sesame Street represents a failure to provide our young children with the correct political education:

Bert and Ernie: As flagrantly homosexual domestic partners, Bert and Ernie should be used to educate young children on the complex issues of gay rights and sexual identity.
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Big Bird: As a gigantic bird, Big Bird should be used to educate children about the dangers of Avian Flu.
sesame_street_big_bird

Oscar the Grouch: As a perpetually angry monster who lives in a trash can, Oscar the Grouch should be used to educate children about the issue of homelessness, the benefits of Prozac,  and the shortcomings of unionized waste management.
oscar

Miami’s ban on “A Visit to Cuba” doesn’t go far enough…

February 11, 2009

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the Miami-Dade County School District’s right to purge a book titled “A Visit to Cuba” from its libraries. A Visit to Cuba is one of many childrens’ book in the A Visit to series published by Heinemann-Raintree Library.

The A Visit To book series aims to increase childhood literacy and provide Kindergarten through Second Grade students with basic information about the geography, culture, and lives of children living within countries all across the world. This series also includes books on Brazil, Cambodia, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Puerto Rico,  The United Kindom, and Vietnam.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ban on A Visit to Cuba because it presents an “inaccurate view of Cuba” by not exposing its  readers to horrors inflicted by Cuba’s Dictatorship. In upholding the ban on A Visit to Cuba, the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals has implied that the focus of childhood education should not be on basic social studies, but on the complex politics of atrocity.

This ban does not go far enough. Concerned parents should push for a ban on the entire “A Visit To Series”, because too many of these books fail to address the catastrophic conditions of the countries about which they are trying to education children.

For example:

A Visit to Columbia:
This book does not address the influence of international drug cartels and paramilitary terrorists.

A Visit to China: This book does not address the rampant abuse of the death penalty, the suppression of free speech, the destruction of the Falun Gong exercise movement, or the horrors of the One-Child population control policy.

A Visit to Egypt: Does not address the poor human rights under the authorian rule of President Hosni Mubarak

A Visit to India: This book does not address the rampant poverty felt by nearly 30% of the population.

A Visit to Vietnam: This book does not address the issues of Child Prostitution and Exploitation.

Is it time to consider re-naming the Chrysler Building?

February 11, 2009

In 1991, the building which was for 28 years was commonly referred to as The Pan Am Building was renamed The MetLife Building.  Why? Because Pan American World Airlines went out of business and the company which, ironically enough, had owned the building for the last 10 years, decided to give it the appropriate namesake.

Now that Chrysler is getting help from the Government for the second time in 30 years, Americans should be asking themselves this question:
Should Chrysler, with its continuously embarrassing financial issues, be nominally honored by one New York City’s most beautiful skyscrapers?

Yes, fans of the musical Annie may be dismayed that the relevance of Ms. Hannigan’s edicts to her orphans may be lost along with other historical references, but such is life.

Yes, Chrysler has been a backbone of the American economy and has employed many, many Americans. However, over the years Chrysler has also been part-owned by (and has outsourced jobs to) The Germans, The French, The Italians, The British, The Spanish, The Australians, The Japanese,  and The Indians (through its various ownership/partnership deals).

Other companies that can’t manage themselves have to give up naming rights to their baseball stadiums and concert venues.

Why can’t we hold Chrysler, to whom we have grudgingly contributed billions of our hard-earned tax dollars, to the same standard?

Instead of Chrysler, why can’t we honor a company that is both well-managed and fundamentally loyal to hard-working Americans by whose hands it was built?

Maybe it’s because the Chrysler Building is now owned by The Abu Dhabi Investment Council, and in this world of Post 9-11 Xenophobia, having a skyscraper named The Abud Dhabi building in the middle of New York City is just inappropriate.

Crossbows: An Innovative Solution to the “Gun Control” Dilemma

November 20, 2008

For years, the debate about to which the degree to regulate the sale and ownership of guns has raged throughout the United States. For better or for worse, both gun ownership and gun violence have been popularized in American culture, and at issue are concerns about personal freedom, self-defense, and the costs to American society.

Gun Rights advocates argue that guns are necessary for hunting and self-defense, that criminals (not responsible gun owners) cause problems, and that the right to own a gun is protected by the Second Amendment. Conversely, Gun control advocates argue that gun ownership has led to record amounts of gun violence and accidental gun death, that current regulations are insufficient to keep guns away from criminals, and that the Second Amendment’s sole intent was to create the equivalent of what is now The National Guard.

Here is my solution to this dilemma: Legalize, in fact advocate, crossbow ownership for all civilians.
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This has several advantages:

1) Accidental shootings go down
Loading a crossbow is harder than loading a gun, but easy enough to do quickly in case of an emergency. Additionally, it’s much easier to tell whether or not a crossbow is loaded.

2) Getting Shot Loses It’s Glory
Whether you’re a cowboy or a gangsta, you may get “cred” for being shot, but not if it’s with an arrow. It’s humiliating to have a gigantic arrow sticking out of you, especially if you’re crying all the way to the hospital.

3) Hunting Still Remains Strong

Hunters used bows and arrows for thousands of years before the invention of gun-powder. Hunting with a crossbow is not only a more exciting challenge, but a crossbow’s comparative stealth helps hunters avoid scaring other prey away.

4) Arrows make crime more difficult
Bullets are cheap, very easy to load, difficult to find in crime scenes, and require ballistics experts to trace. Having to purchase arrows at a higher price than bullets is an expensive deterrent to unnecessary shootings. Also, the time it takes a criminal to reload a crossbow allow polices the opportunity to safely apprehend him. Finally, due to their size, arrows are easy to find by police and uniquely identify by manufacturers.

5) The Intimidation Factor
When a criminal has a gun pointed at him, he probably knows that getting shot is going to hurt. The advantage of a crossbow is that seeing the large, sharp, pointy projectile which is about to tear into him sends a strong visual reminder about just how much pain he could avoid if he just walked away.

6) The Lethality Factor
Yes, people have died by being shot by well-placed arrows. But unless you’re a masochist who stays around for more, you’re likely to only get shot with one arrow, as opposed to the hail of bullets that a shooting frenzy can cause. Additionally, the force with which an arrow impacts is nowhere near the force of a bullet, especially that from a magnum.

7) Less Risk of Contagious Fire
It is significantly less difficult to surprise police with a crossbow than with a gun. Not only is a crossbow harder to conceal, but minimizing the threat of a person armed with a crossbow doesn’t require a frenzied hail of bullets.

8.) Mini-Crossbows are a better “concealed weapon” alternative to handguns.
mini-crossbow
Mini-crossbows, which women can easily store, fully loaded, in their pocketbooks are less expensive and bulky than handguns. This means that enabling women to protect themselves against potential rapists becomes that much easier.

9) The “Noise Factor” is less intimidating to the owner
The comparative silence of crossbows means that firing one is less frightening of a prospect than firing a gun, given that gun owners have to anticipate a loud BANG.