June 23 2009 - Tuesday

fishing-vessal-imagesHour Two: "Has the right 'LOST' it?" Thom debates the Law Of the Sea Treaty with Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org


Mark (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, home of the oldest public market in the U.S., has double the state’s poverty rate, and according to an LA Times story, almost a thousand children who are homeless in its public schools—out of a total city population of 55,000. The city’s “solution”? Support an effort by a coalition of business owners and “civic boosters”—with mostly taxpayer money—to establish a privately-run network of closed-circuit surveillance cameras, peering into every nook and cranny in the city, at a cost of $3 million. The “coalition,” which has no public oversight or accountability, deploys camera operators who, based on whatever criteria they personally deem fit, “can pretty much tell right away if someone’s up to no-good” as one operator put it. If they see “suspicious” activity, the operators call 9-1-1. That this surveillance is ripe for abuse can be deduced by the fact that they can zero-in on a face or a license plate from a block away—or perhaps through the creases of someone’s window drapes unbeknownst to them. This is yet another example how the solution to poverty and homelessness is creating a police state to keep the impoverished and have-nots from being a problem for the well-off and haves.

Meanwhile, as politicians and xenophobes keep the public’s eye on Latino immigrants and the lower-rung jobs that they are allegedly preventing the “natives” from enjoying, the state of Washington recently approved something called the “Microsoft Subsidy Bill” which allows foreign students who are working for companies like Microsoft on work visas, and who have been in the country one year, to pay in-state tuition fees at state colleges. It is one thing that high-wage technical jobs in this country are being filled by importing workers, but it is quite another thing to require that they only pay much lower (relatively speaking) in-state tuition instead of even what out-of-state American students must pay. With economic hardships that so many people find themselves in, and less tax revenue to put into the education system, skyrocketing tuitions fees have put more and more people beyond the reach of a college education. And now the state gives special breaks to those—very likely from well-to-do and upper-rung families—who companies like Microsoft wants to employ. Rather than be so generous with taxpayers’ money, Microsoft should be paying difference itself.

To remain on a "foreign" track, it appears likely that Mexico’s president, Felipe Caulderon will sign a law decriminalizing the possession and use of small amounts of most presently illegal drugs, in order to “focus” on drug violence being perpetrated by the drug cartels. The Obama administration has kept quiet about this, unlike the previous efforts at decriminalization which ground to a halt after the hysterical reactions of the Bush administration. Whether this is a good idea or not remains to be seen; since selling is still illegal, the problems associated with drug-trafficking will continue. But if in fact it can be shown that decriminalization has little effect on the level of use, or doesn’t lead to further social dislocation or criminal activity—even a lessening of it—then the U.S. might take note and begin to examine its own policies.

Mena Sprague (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

While visiting Amsterdam in 1975, two of the six arrived sick, vomiting and diarrhea. The hotel clerk called a doctor, who made the house call, gave each of us two suppositories. One for that night and one the next morning. And we were well the next morning and the rest of the trip. Total cost for both of us - $7.43.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago


1) I think it's interesting that the "Republics" are so outspoken regarding the "stolen" election in Iran. (I guess they know one when they see one!) Have they no shame?

2) There's a good article in the June 22 issue of Newsweek: "The Insurgents - The Secret Battle to Save Capitalism." It's very short and worth reading the entire thing:


Please ask Bernie about this group and whether he thinks they will be successful. Here are some excerpts:

"...in late March, Cantwell and her confederates—Carl Levin of Michigan, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, Dianne Feinstein of California, Jim Webb of Virginia and Vermont's Bernard Sanders—met with Obama and members of his economic team in the White House. "I told the president I was concerned that the administration had people in charge who had missed all this before," she says. It was an awkward moment: two of the officials that Cantwell and her allies came to complain about—Obama's chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner—were sitting right there.

...one by one, the other senators echoed Cantwell's concerns. Obama's appointed officials and nominees were products of the system that had brought us this economic grief; they would tinker but in the end leave Wall Street mostly intact. "Some of the people around the president needed to be given a push," says Levin.

For their part, administration officials reject this view.

(However) the Senate pressure seems to have paid off. (See the article for details.)

Much remains unaddressed, say Cantwell and other critics. Now that the financial markets are beginning to stabilize and the big Wall Street players pledge to pay back their bailout billions, they are digging in against fundamental change. Recently, a group of big banks including Citigroup, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs formed a new lobby to fight controls on over-the-counter derivatives. Cantwell is skeptical that the Obama team will hold the line against the Wall Street lobby. "Do I think they've become true believers? No, I don't." She says Gensler is already "whining" about how hard it is going to be to get new regulation past Wall Street. Gensler insists he and the Obama administration are determined to rein in the financial industry once and for all. "We need to regulate all derivatives, standard or customized, by regulating the dealers," he said. Gensler is clearly under a lot of pressure. The question is, who is he more worried about: Wall Street or fellow Democrats like Maria Cantwell?

Quark (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Decades ago, common wisdom was that playing music helped plants grow. That's about the time that Stevie Wonder produced his "Secret Life of Plants" album.

When I was in college (3 decades ago), I played music for my plants, talked to them, cleaned and polished their leaves with milk, plus the usual feeding and watering. They were the healthiest plants I ever had.

Of course, good care of anything helps it to thrive. Not like the thinking of MO state senator Cynthia Davis, who doesn't want the state to pay for meals for the 1 in 5 undernourished children in her state. ("Hunger is a great motivator.") She was Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" last night:


Quark (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Stevie Wonder - "The Secret Life of Plants"


Richard Adlof (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

HEY!!! Why not bring back tabbing Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) . . .

Re: Forcing ADHD Treatments on 'Norms': I get better results and way less bad effects from two B-100's daily than any of the drugs that I had been scripted over the last three and a half decades. This is yet another attempt to suck bucks outta folks' wallets while screwing up their health so Pharma can sell them more drugs to correct the next syndrome caused by legal drug abuse.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Clip from the movie "The Secret Life of Plants:"


Richard Adlof (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Riddlin was largely useless and changed the way food tasted.

Caffeine sets me dragging back on my heels and leaves me fuzzed while still letting me be distracted big time.

Welbutrin made my back teeth feel like they were vibrating, funked me out and did not fully stop the feedback loop. I was scattered when I was on it.

Food Fascist (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

University of Phoenix facilitators are at least taught peer reviewed learning and even to write papers on this to be included as faculty. It is a more egalitarian type of atmosphere which is rather than the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoon - pedagogic rather than andragogic.

Richard Adlof (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

ADHD . . . & MGM (Mentally Gifted Morons . . . Sorry . . . Minors)

The worse part is having kids in this situation with Mensa level IQs. In the 60s & 70s, most of us survived by hiding or hyper-excelling or finding a avocation/subject we could immerse ourselves in. Kids don’t have that option anymore. Teaching the ‘three R’s to beat a test is farging kids up like crazy.

mathboy (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Thom, would you propose having kids take a short class (say, 6 weeks) in each subject to "diagnose" which method of learning works for each child in that subject? Then--rather than making a child fail a year-long (36-week) class before he or she gets a useful, tailored form of education--they can be sorted properly by teaching method with dedicated teachers and classrooms for each, instead of being lumped into one "special needs" and one "ordinary" group. Sound good?

DRichards (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Is there anything to this article?

CIA has Distributed 400 Million Dollars Inside Iran to Evoke a Revolution
Former Pakistani Army General Mirza Aslam Beig claims the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has distributed 400 million dollars inside Iran to evoke a revolution.

In a phone interview with the Pashto Radio on Monday, General Beig said that there is undisputed intelligence proving the US interference in Iran.

“The documents prove that the CIA spent 400 million dollars inside Iran to prop up a colorful-hollow revolution following the election,” he added.


Quark (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Richard Adlof,

The hardest thing (for me) about having children was dealing with education. He started with a "continuous progress" class, which is similar to what Thom was describing. That would have been perfect for him if the instructors weren't so dysfunctional.

My son was in a special ed. program in middle school, but that didn't help and only made him feel like an oddball. I pulled him out and home schooled him. After a year of that, I he entered an "alternative" school.

The school psychologist told us that he had the highest I.Q. of anyone in any population group (not just in the schools) she had worked with.

Through all this, he struggled with depression and the later discovery that he had ADD. The entire ordeal was such a nightmare. I wish I could have done better for him.

He's on Lexapro (and ritalin, when he remembers.)

He worked his way through undergraduate school and is trying to save money to go to medical school. (Right now, that seems like an illusive dream .)

B Roll (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Phone Sex for Plants

OK… I’ll admit that my first response was to be skeptical about this story. It seemed like one of these “crackpot” science stories (my point of view) that Thom is constantly drawn to. So I Googled – women talking to plants. What did I find?

I found http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/5602419/Womens-voices-make-pl... an article in the from the online version of the Telegraph in the UK

My reading of the article convinced me that my original opinion was pretty much right on. The study the article talks about was very loose science.

First of all, the scope of the “experiment” was very small. It only involved 10 plants and 10 people who “talked” to the plants. At best that would be a preliminary test and not conclusive. The time covered by the experiment was fairly short, only one month.

I don’t recall if Thom mentioned this, but the people didn’t actually speak to the plants. They recorded “excerpts from John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids, Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night Dream and Darwin's On the Origin of Species” and the recordings were played for the plants through headsets attached to the pots the plants were in.

Is that what you thought the experiment was like when Thom reported the story?

It’s disturbing that people get excited about stories before they really look into them.

Well, I'm gonna go outside now and yell at the tangerine tree. I blame her for everything and she seems to like it. Looks like a bumper crop this year.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

B Roll,

'Sounds like you and your tangerine tree need a little "talk therapy." LOL

nora (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago


Wouldn't it be better to find out what is wrong? Could it be that these children are the canaries in the mine of the Education System, telling us that our teaching techniques and environment are NOT working, have become TOO regimented, crowded, uncreative, or one-dimensional (brain-centered memorization, lacking in physical integration, mind-body skill development), Is the problem the intolerant adults, who now require exact obedience and machine-like precision and timing and cannot accept the diversity of personal uniqueness in the approach to an individual's brain development?

If a child differs from an adult because the child's brain in not yet mature, how does drugging a child affect real brain development?

Why are these behavioral problems happening now when they did not happen in the past? Is something CAUSING this? Is it the television flicker pattern, or the presence of microwaves or radiowaves in the atmosphere now or while developing in the womb, changing brain chemistry? Is it the pregnant mother's diet or child's diet?

There's got to be a cause if this problem never existed before.

But it doesn't seem like these drugs are a solution, only the usual "treat the symptoms" approach. That is not fair to these children OR the next generations of children either. They deserve BETTER. They deserve to get the CAUSE addressed so real healing (or even acceptance of human uniqueness) can take place. In the meantime, the Pharmaceutical Industry continues to rake in the big bucks!

And really -- what is cheaper??? Improving the situation through decent research into the cause? Adopting smaller class sizes? Or paying Big Pharma obscene profits for the lifetime of every child???

The Food Fascist (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

test for gravitar

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

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