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Unfortunately, "Interspecies Erotica" in New Jersey is Not Limited to Kevin Smith Movies

Sunday, April 27, 2008
From the Courier-Post:

"New charges of sex acts with cows have been brought against a Moorestown policeman who last week was charged with sexually assaulting three girls."

Seriously, no comment.

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Congolese Penises Vanish, Panic Ensues

Wednesday, April 23, 2008
From Reuters:

"Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men's penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft."

"Rumors of penis theft began circulating last week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo's sprawling capital of some 8 million inhabitants. They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings."

According to Kinshasa's police chief, Jean-Dieudonne Oleko, "when you try to tell the victims that their penises are still there, they tell you that it's become tiny or that they've become impotent. To that I tell them, 'How do you know if you haven't gone home and tried it?'"
[Full Story]

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Art?

From The Observer via The Guardian:

"Chaining up a dog and forcing it to go without food and water in the name of art is a surefire way of making yourself unpopular with animal lovers."

Guillermo Vargas, also known as Habacuc, "has been called an animal abuser, killer and worse over claims that a stray dog called Natividad died of starvation after he displayed it at an exhibition last year at the Codice Gallery in Managua, Nicaragua. Vargas tethered the animal without food and water under the words 'Eres Lo Que Lees' - 'You Are What You Read' - made out of dog biscuits while he played the Sandinista anthem backwards and set 175 pieces of crack cocaine alight in a massive incense burner. More than a million people have signed an online petition urging organisers of this year's event to stop Vargas taking part."

Not to defend Mr. Vargas's actions, or those of the gallery in which Natividad was chained, but it seems as if animal rights activists may be erroneously reporting that the dog died when, in fact, he did not. According to Juanita Bermudez, the director of the gallery, the dog "was untied all the time except for the three hours the exhibition lasted and it was fed regularly with dog food Habacuc himself brought in." Of course, it makes a good deal of sense that people would be up in arms about this sort of thing. Still, if Natividad did escape with his life, that fact will undermine the authority of some of the understandably concerned animal rights activists who have (either mistakenly or in a deliberate manipulation of information) presented a far bleaker picture of the installation. I mean, there are scads of people already clustering "animal rights activists" under the broad umbrella of alarmist extremists. Let's not give those people any fuel.

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Stupid Teacher and a Stupid Tattoo

Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Unfortunately, this looks all-too-familiar:

Fortunately, this doesn't look all that familiar:

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Portland Police Tell Citizens to "Do As We Say, Not As We Do"

The Portland Mercury's Matt Davis reports that "[a] citizen who watched a cop illegally park, then walk into a Chinese restaurant to wait for his food, has issued the officer a series of citizen-initiated parking violations." Apparently, Chad Stensgaard
walked into the restaurant wearing his police uniform, but did not make any arrests or citations. Instead, he turned his attention to the basketball game on television, according to [Eric] Bryant. When Bryant asked Stensgaard about his vehicle, Stensgaard allegedly acknowledged being in a no-parking zone but asked Bryant, "If someone broke into your house, would you rather have the police be able to park in front of your house or have to park three blocks away and walk there?"
Bryant, an Oregonian lawyer, maintains that "[c]itizens should be concerned that he used his status as an officer of the law as justification for breaking the law" despite the police department's insistence that certain laws don't really pertain to officers of the law.

Brian Martinek, the assistant Police Chief of the Portland Police Department, maintains that "from what I know, um, I think the officer did what he was supposed to do" by parking in a clearly-marked no parking zone. In an interview with KGW-TV's Dave Northfield (available via CNN), a visibly amused Martinek dismisses the suit, claiming that "[h]e did look around for a parking spot."

Smirking, the Assistant Chief of Police continues, "I think asking an officer to spend a, uh, uh, uh, inordinate amount of time trying to find a, uh, 'legal' parking space, um, that may be a long ways away from where they're going is, is (sic) unreasonable." Viewers might find the finger quotes the scoffing Chief places around the word "legal" amusing, in the most ironic of senses.

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British Parents Place Children in Cages, Cheer

Monday, April 21, 2008
From the Daily Mail (UK):

"A blonde-haired girl with her hands strapped into boxing gloves sobs at the side of the ring.
In another image her twin brother takes a direct hit to the face from a sparring partner.

Miah and Kian Flanagan are just five years old.

But already they are seasoned fighters, taking part in an alarmingly fast-growing 'sport' that pits children against other children in the terrifying public arena of the boxing ring.

The opponents - some of them barely old enough to be at school - kick and punch in chilling scenes, while parents shout impassioned advice from the sidelines"
[Full Story]

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For All The English Majors Out There...

Friday, April 18, 2008
From The Chronicle of Higher Education:

"In literary studies, M.H. Abrams is an iconic name. It appeared as 'general editor' for 40 years on nearly nine million copies of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, and has also, in a detail that only scholars would know, led the indexes of many a critical book for a half-century. (In fact, one scholar I know cited 'Aarlef' just to avoid that custom.) In addition, Abrams, now 95, stamped the study of Romantic literature: His book The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition (Oxford University Press, 1953) was ranked 25th in the Modern Library's list of the 100 most important nonfiction books of the 20th century, and he was a prime participant in debates over literary theory, especially deconstruction, during the 1970s and 80s."

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You're Elitist! No, You're Elitist! Nuh-uh! Uh-huh!

Sunday, April 13, 2008
Don't you just love the fuss everyone seems to be making over the comments Barack Obama made in San Francisco? In case you've forgotten, in reference to the working class Reagan Democrats the Democratic presidential hopeful has been struggling to win over, Senator Obama said:
You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And it's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Ever since the Huffington Post first reported on Obama's characterization of working-class Pennsylvanians as "bitter," the blogosphere, radio, newspapers, and television have been buzzing with excitement. Hillary Clinton and her supporters, of course, have jumped at the opportunity to portray Obama as hopelessly disconnected from blue collar America and, consequently, a horrible choice for the Democratic nomination. Mr. Obama, facing a potentially campaign-destroying firestorm, chose to respond to the criticism by acknowledging that while his wording mightn't have been wisely-chosen, his statements were actually, as the New York Times's Katharine Q. Seelye and Jeff Zeleny put it, "an expression of populist sympathy for a displaced working class," as indeed they could be interpreted. Not surprisingly, the Huffington Post continues to overflow with commentary on Mr. Obama's sentiments, both critical and supportive. While the website's bloggers tend to agree with Erin Kotecki Vest's assertion that "Senator Barack Obama is DEAD ON when he talks about the bitterness of residents," the people commenting on postings continue to stir the argument about whether or not such comments could be construed as evidence of either Obama's inability to speak enough like a politician to inspire confidence in his candidacy or of the elitist views that will inevitably alienate the working backbone of America if he becomes president (italics in the original). And it goes on and on, ad nauseum.

What's so funny about the whole ordeal, of course, is that both Hillary Clinton and John McCain--two of the people least in touch with America's working class--have been licking their chops at the prospects of twisting Obama's words around to make him appear elitist. Because, you know, they get Larry the Cable Guy or something.

And it certainly doesn't help that Obama made his comments in a "closed" environment, a detail lending an air of secrecy to the proceedings and fueling the "well, we weren't supposed to hear it, so it must be bad!" crowd. Still, I'm not saying that Barak Obama is, in fact, in touch with the working class; in fact, I doubt any Washington politician really, truly understands what it is like to live under the poverty line in a nation with a failing economy -- at least not at any time in recent memory -- but it really seems like a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Granted, we get to hear a load of platitudes in the wake of Obama's statement. For instance, Hillary reminds us, she "grew up in a church-going family, a family that believed in the importance of living out and expressing our faith," so she understands the people Barak Obama so clearly misunderstands. "The people of faith I know don't 'cling to' religion because they're bitter," Senator Clinton told supporters in Indianapolis yesterday, they "embrace faith not because they are materially poor, but because they are spiritually rich."

Then people cheer.

And more people get killed in Iraq. But who's paying attention?

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Faces of Death

Thursday, April 10, 2008
From the Guardian:

"The German photographer Walter Schels thinks it not only odd, but wrong that death is so hidden from view. Aged 72, he's also keenly aware that his own death is getting closer. Which is why, a few years ago, he embarked on a bizarre project. He decided to shoot a series of portraits of people both before and after they had died. The result is a collection of photographs of 24 people - ranging from a baby of 17 months to a man of 83 - that goes on show in London next week. Alongside the portraits are the stories of the individuals concerned, penned by Beate Lakotta, Schels' partner, who spent time with the subjects in their final days and who listened as they told her how it felt to be nearing the end of their lives."

"Some of the subjects, says Schels, were bitter about how lonely the business of dying had made them feel - for some, this was why they agreed to take part in the project. "Some of the dying said, 'It's so good you're doing this - it's really important to show what it's like. No one else is listening to me, no one wants to hear or know what it's really like.'""

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Woman Gives Birth to Her Own Appendix

Wednesday, April 9, 2008
From Time Magazine:

"Last month, in an American surgical first, doctors at the University of California, San Diego, removed the appendix of a 24-year-old patient through her vagina. Surgeons Santiago Horgan and Mark Talamini made a small incision in the wall of the patient's vagina, through which they passed surgical tools and a small camera to the appendix, removing the organ through the same incision. Surgeons also made a small cut in the bottom of the patient's bellybutton and inserted another camera through it to help guide surgery. The procedure took 50 minutes from start to finish, 20 minutes longer than a standard laparoscopic appendectomy."

In all seriousness, though, this promises to revolutionize surgery.

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Acquittal Does Not Preclude Punishment

From the Los Angeles Times's David G. Savage:

"The Supreme Court declined Monday to reconsider a legal rule that might surprise most Americans: Judges can punish defendants for certain crimes even after a jury has acquitted them of those charges.

In recent years, the justices have described the right to jury trial as one of the bedrock principles of American law. At the same time, they have been unwilling to say that a jury's not-guilty verdict on some charges means the defendant cannot be punished. Instead, the court has said judges may take into account 'acquitted conduct' when they decide on a prison term."

An interesting article on what the treatment of a Wisconsin drug dealer reveals about a little-known element of judicial procedure.

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Britain Raises Minimum Age to Purchase Ketchup, Eggs

In a move that will likely spoil breakfast for many of the country's youth, the Norfolk Police Department has urged supermarkets to prohibit the "sales of eggs and tomato ketchup to young people in a bid to cut anti-social behaviour." Although "squirting ketchup [is] not a criminal act," Sergeant Andy Brown informs us, "it could be possible to bring charges of criminal damage if paintwork [is] damaged on homes or vehicles."

No word yet on whether or not the Heinz family will protest.

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John C. Woo on the Legality of Torture

In one of many recent articles appearing in the wake of last week's declassification of former Justice Department lawyer John C. Woo's 2003 memorandum discussing the legality of various torture techniques, the Washington Post's Dan Eggen reveals several of the "unsavory topics" appearing in Woo's report. Although "[n]o maiming is known to have occurred in U. S. interrogations" of terror suspects detained by government authorities, Eggen writes, "federal laws prohibiting assault, maiming and other crimes by military interrogators are trumped by the president's ultimate authority as commander in chief" during wartime.

In other words, the president could authorize "slitting an ear, nose or lip or disabling a tongue or limb" if he or she felt it was in the best interest of the country. Furthermore, according to Woo's memorandum, unless such tactics result in "death, organ failure or serious impairment of bodily functions," they will not be regarded as torture. Thus, although several "courts have declared [such] tactics to be inhumane" and "the relative illegality of a wide variety of interrogation tactics" cannot be denied, they do not qualify as torture. Consequently, while "they [are] illegal under a provision of the Geneva Conventions," the Bush administration regards such provisions as without "relevance to unlawful combatants in custody."

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Grandma Needs a Bath; Call the Robot!

From Reuters:

"Robots could fill the jobs of 3.5 million people in graying Japan by 2025, a thinktank says, helping to avert worker shortages as the country's population shrinks."

"Caregivers would save more than an hour a day if robots helped look after children, older people and did some housework, it added. Robotic duties could include reading books out loud or helping bathe the elderly."
[Full Story]

Yeah, so this promises to scare the bejeezus out of the "science has gone too far" crowd. At least until the Raelians finally produce that clone they promised us...

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Frontotemporal Dementia Produces Great Art, Pain

From BoingBoing.net:

"In 1994, Dr. Adams became fascinated with the music of the composer Maurice Ravel, her husband recalled. At age 53, she painted 'Unravelling Bolero' a work that translated the famous musical score into visual form.

Unbeknown to her, Ravel also suffered from a brain disease whose symptoms were identical to those observed in Dr. Adams, said Dr. Bruce Miller, a neurologist and the director of the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco. Ravel composed 'Bolero' in 1928, when he was 53 and began showing signs of his illness with spelling errors in musical scores and letters..."
[Full Post]

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Third Parties Expose Obama's Politics as Usual

Tuesday, April 8, 2008
From the American Chronicle's Kevin Zeese:

"In 2004 there was only one significant challenger to the corporate political duopoly both of whom put forward candidates that campaigned in favor of continuing the Iraq occupation. This year there will be three legitimate campaigns challenging the duopoly. And, since none of the Democratic or Republican Party candidates is calling for a real end to the occupation, Iraq may provide the energy for these efforts."

"Unfortunately, Senator Obama has reversed course and can no longer be described as a peace candidate. He recently said he will leave the private mercenaries in Iraq which at a minimum are 140,000 troops and may be twice that number. His campaign has said that Obama will leave up to 80,000 troops in Iraq. And, Obama has said he will withdraw combat troops to a surrounding country like Kuwait so they could serve as a strike force in Iraq. Obama continues to promise to end the "war" but the details do not describe an end to the war. Further, he has kept a military attack against Iran on the table and plans to expand the already too large and too expensive military by 92,000 troops. He describes his foreign policy as a return to the policy of George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and JFK -- all of whom aggressively used U.S. military force.

Obama may think he has the Democratic nomination wrapped up and is positioning himself for the General Election, but now with three serious independent political challenges who all oppose the war his Republican-lite positions risk losing many peace voters and the election."

"The desire for more choices in elections has been growing in recent years. The president has very low approval ratings as does the Congress -- the latter for their failure to fulfill their 2006 mandate to end the war. One-third the electorate now considers themselves independent, not Democratic or Republican."

If what Zeese implies is true--that Barack Obama has changed his stance on the Iraq war to cater to potential non-Democrat voters--the popular senator's campaign may be irreparably damaged. If a full third of U. S. voters are not affiliated with either major party and a significant chunk of these independent voters look to third party candidates like Cynthia McKinney, Mike Gravel, Bob Barr, or Ralph Nader for a fresh approach to key issues, Obama's increasingly moderate, Republican-friendly anti-war stance will likely strike such voters as evidence of precisely the sort of politics-as-usual behavior for which the Senator has so vehemently asserted his disdain. It would seem that the staunch anti-war sentiments of the McKinneys, Gravels, Barrs, and Naders of the world, especially in their unwavering consistency, will undoubtedly force voters to reconsider the trustworthiness of Obama's views on Iraq--the validity of which has been a problem for the junior senator ever since his Democratic challengers questioned his experience in the earliest debates.

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This Is, Like, The Second Incest Story This Month

Monday, April 7, 2008

"'I knew it was illegal, of course I knew it was illegal but you know, so what.

Mrs Deaves said the physical relationship with her father was like 'a sexual relationship with any other man'.

For Mr Deaves the sexual relationship was 'absolutely fantastic'.

A US psychologist told 60 Minutes the Deaves's relationship was an example of 'Genetic Sexual Attraction'.

He said the phenomenon was not rare, and society would be surprised at how prevalent it was."

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Dinesh D'Sousa Sadly Misinformed About Libertarians, Atheists

For anyone who has read Dinesh D'Sousa's astonishingly bigoted "How Atheists Celebrate Christmas," it should come as no surprise that Andrew Davis's response addresses the conservative pundit's claim that "[m]any libertarians are basically conservatives who are either gay or druggies or people who generally find the conservative moral agenda too restrictive." Although the essay's latent homophobia (notice how quick D'Sousa is to assert that many libertarians are gay) and explicit religious intolerance (D'Sousa's treatment of non-theists is extremely prejudiced) immediately weaken the author's claims, it is nice to see a thoughtful rebuttal that does not stoop to the same petty behavior. As Davis argues, D'Sousa "sees most libertarians as hedonistic atheists, and uses a tipsy [Christopher] Hitchens as the chief example of [the libertarians'] disdain for morality," which is sadly misinformed. In his conflation of libertarianism with conservatism and atheism with surfeited pleasure-seeking, D'Sousa does a tremendous disservice to freethinkers as well as liberty-minded Americans. Plus, he omits the rather significant number of left-libertarians...

Since we've been covering the Libertarian race a bit lately, I thought it'd be nice to post a link to the videos of the Heartland Libertarian Conference Debates that took place over this weekend in Missouri.

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More Gravel-Barr Discussion

From John Nichols's Online Beat Blog on TheNation.com:

"Gravel, a quirky but often contender contender, spiced up the early Democratic debates by suggesting that most of the other candidates scared him with their casual talk of flexing the nation's nuclear capacity. Those comments earned Gravel a disinvitation to later debates. But he continued to campaign, raising a little bit of money and a lot of important issues, especially with regard to needed reforms in the political process. None of this got him many votes and he won no delegates to Democratic National Convention."

And, regarding Bob Barr's potential candidacy:

"But a ticket made up of a former Democratic senator and a former Republican congressman who find agreement on a number of Constitutional issues would gain attention - and perhaps a decent number of votes - in a fall election season that may see former adherents of both major parties casting about for alternatives."

And you can check out the comments under Nichols's post if you're in the mood to read the predictable "if you vote for a third party, you're voting for McCain" garbage and the handful of "I vote on conscience" or "I wouldn't vote for Barak Obama or Hillary Clinton anyway" responses...

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Alzheimer's Research Still Lagging

From the New York Times:

The new approach to dealing with Alzheimer's Disease:

"If Dad wants to polish off the duck sauce in a Chinese restaurant like it's a bowl of soup, why not? If Grandma wants to help out by washing the dishes but makes a mess of it, leave her to it and just rewash them later when she's not looking. Pull out old family pictures to give the patient something to talk about. Learn the art of fragmented, irrational conversation and follow the patient's lead instead of trying to control the dialogue.

Basically, just tango on. And hope somebody will do the same for you when your time comes. Unless the big breakthrough happens first."
[Full Story]

Harrowing.

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Politics as Unusual

Sunday, April 6, 2008
From The Atlantic's Reihan Salam:

"Former Rep. Bob Barr, once an ardent Republican and one of the architects of the effort to impeach President Clinton, is on the verge of entering the presidential race as a Libertarian"

"Once known for his zealous opposition to medical marijuana, he has reversed his old stand on the Drug War, and he is almost as passionate in damning the invasion of Iraq as Paul himself. Can Barr become the Ralph Nader of 2008 -- spoiling the election for Republican conservatives, or perhaps for anti-war Democrats? Almost certainly not. All the same, this year's most interesting presidential debate will likely happen within Bob Barr's Libertarian Party."

"Meanwhile, Mike Gravel, the erstwhile Democratic presidential candidate, has also thrown his hat into the ring for the Libertarian nomination. For all his strident anti-imperialism, Gravel never developed a real constituency on the left. But his politics offer an intriguing way forward for Libertarians. His plan for overhauling the welfare state, devised by the far-from-insane Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff, promises to put entitlements on a sound footing and deliver healthcare to all Americans, all while sparking an investment-led economic boom. This isn't the kind of platform that normally appeals to flinty individualists, but the case can be made that the plan is in some important sense freedom-friendly. Provided you found the right messenger -- namely, someone slightly less loopy than Gravel -- it might even resonate with the public."

I don't think the term "loopy" really describes Senator Gravel. Having met the man and having listened to him speak at length, I can say that he struck me as an intensely passionate man, a thoughtful and intelligent person, and a strikingly candid politician, but not loopy. Dennis Kucinich is loopy. Ross Perot is loopy. Mike Gravel is, well, driven--and I imagine his passion is what some folks misinterpret as loopy behavior. Seriously, he's done a tremendous amount of good for this country, reading the Pentagon Papers, helping stop the draft for the Vietnam War, and injecting a healthy dose of reality into the Democratic debates--precisely the sort of behavior that one would not describe as loopy.

I look forward to the Libertarian debates. If Bob Barr does decide to throw his hat into the ring, that would make a tremendous race. As it stands now, Vegas oddsmaker Wayne Allyn Root remains the leading Libertarian candidate, but George Phillies, Christine Smith, Michael Jingozian, Mary J. Ruwart, and Senator Gravel promise to make for a hotly contested nomination battle. What will be really nice about the LP debates is that Sen. Gravel will be allowed time to speak--something he was systematically denied during the Democratic debates. You will recall that second- and third-tier candidates like Gravel, Dodd, Biden, and Kucinich were allotted considerably less talk time than top-tier candidates like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards and, to a significantly lesser extent, Bill Richardson. It's too bad America's third-largest party does not have the clout of the big two and, consequently, lacks the ad revenue potential required to land prime time television coverage, because I am certain these debates will be much more probing than the predictable GOP and Democratic debates we've been subjected to over the past ten months...

And speaking of Libertarians: George Phillies says "Libertarians are not Conservatives."

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A Breath of Fresh Air. Seriously.

From the New York Times:

"Once scoffed at as a luxury major, philosophy is being embraced at Rutgers and other universities by a new generation of college students who are drawing modern-day lessons from the age-old discipline as they try to make sense of their world, from the morality of the war in Iraq to the latest political scandal. The economic downturn has done little, if anything, to dampen this enthusiasm among students, who say that what they learn in class can translate into practical skills and careers. On many campuses, debate over modern issues like war and technology is emphasized over the study of classic ancient texts."

It's nice to read this. Really, really nice.

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Scheisse

From Reuters:

"A court in Germany sentenced a law professor to three years in prison for giving students better marks in exchange for sex and money.

The 53-year-old from the central city of Hanover admitted accepting 156,000 euros ($244,000) in total for awarding doctorates to students who failed to make the grade."

And here I am working for my degree...sheesh.

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University Courts Promising Recruits With Insane Ad Campaign

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

"Justin Chung knew Wilkes University wanted him when he got one of its first acceptance letters in February. But he didn't know how badly until he saw the mall kiosk with his name on it.
And the pizza boxes.

And the commercial on MTV and VH1."

Ah, but it's not as creepy as it seems...Wilkes University asked if it could use students in their ads.

Still...what a sad reminder of what higher education has become...

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Don't Mess With Texan Principals

Saturday, April 5, 2008
From the San Antonio Express-News, via MySA.com:

"A middle school principal threatened to kill a group of science teachers if their students did not improve their standardized test scores, according to a complaint filed with the New Braunfels Police Department."

"'He said if the TAKS scores were not as expected he would kill the teachers,' White said. 'He said 'I will kill you all and kill myself.' He finished the meeting that way and we were in shock. Obviously, we talked about it among ourselves. He just threatened our lives. After he threatened to kill us, he said, 'You don't know how ruthless I can be.'''

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My Kid Can Beat the $#!+ Out of Your Kid

Courtesy of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

"Ultimate fighting was once the sole domain of burly men who beat each other bloody in anything-goes brawls on pay-per-view TV.

But the sport often derided as 'human cockfighting' is branching out.

The bare-knuckle fights are now attracting competitors as young as 6 whose parents treat the sport as casually as wrestling, Little League or soccer."

and:

"Tommy Bloomer, father of two of the 'Garage Boys,' doesn't understand the fuss.

'We're not training them for dog fighting,' said Bloomer, a 34-year-old construction contractor.

'As a parent, I'd much rather have my kids here learning how to defend themselves and getting positive reinforcement than out on the streets.'"

and:

"Missouri appears to be the only state in the nation that explicitly allows the youth fights. In many states, it is a misdemeanor for children to participate. A few states have no regulations."

and:

"'It looks violent until you realize this teaches discipline. One of the first rules they learn is that this is not for aggressive behavior outside (the ring),' said Larry Swinehart, a Joplin police officer and father of two boys and the lone girl in the garage group."

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Ed Wallace Says There's No Gas Shortage

From BusinessWeek.com:

"Gasoline reserves on hand are at the highest levels since the early 1990s, which is remarkable considering the nation's refineries have been cutting back on the production of gasoline because their margins have declined. In fact, average gasoline reserves on hand have risen since this past October, while oil reserves in this country have gone up virtually every week this year--and only fog in the Houston Ship Channel that kept oil tankers from unloading their crude one week kept it from being every week."

"Here's the scorecard, in case you missed it. There's no shortage of gasoline or oil in the U.S. today, and we have near-record reserves on hand. Meanwhile the Congressional mandate for ethanol has jacked up the price of chicken feed for Pilgrim's Pride, which is the U.S.'s largest processor of chickens and turkeys--by $1.3 billion. And that's for just one company processing chicken. This is what passes for acceptable to our Energy Secretary?"

Still, even if there is no gas shortage, let's get off of it before there is one.

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School Days, School Days

Thursday, April 3, 2008
From Local6.com (Orlando):

"A recent survey that found some Florida teens believe drinking a cap of bleach will prevent HIV and a shot of Mountain Dew will stop pregnancy has prompted lawmakers to push for an overhaul of sex education in the state."
[Full story]

Evidentially abstinence-only sex education adds another feather to Florida's already thickly-plumed graduation cap...


"Three out of 10 US public school students do not graduate from high school, and major city school districts only graduate one out of two students, according to a study released Tuesday."

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Fewer Kids Admitted to Big-Name Universities

Wednesday, April 2, 2008
From the New York Times:

On gaining admission to elite colleges: "'I know why it matters so much, and I also don't understand why it matters so much,' said William M. Shain, dean of admissions and financial aid at Bowdoin. 'Where we went to college does not set us up for success or keep us away from it.''
[Full Story]

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