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Fun with Christian Education…

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has come under focus recently for the kind of textbooks he is willing to fund with State money, even they are for private Christian schools. And this is a guy who some want for Vice President.

Some samples:

“Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’ in Scotland? ‘Nessie’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.”

– from Louisiana Christian schoolbook by Accelerated Christian Education, or ACE.

“…is it possible that a fire-breathing animal really existed? Today some scientists are saying yes. They have found large chambers in certain dinosaur skulls… The large skull chambers could have contained special chemical-producing glands. When the animal forced the chemicals out of its mouth or nose, these substances may have combined and produced fire and smoke… Dinosaurs and humans were definitely on earth at the same time and may have even lived side by side within the past few thousand years”

— from Bob Jones University Press biology textbook Life Science 3rd. Edition (2007).

“The Great Depression was exaggerated by propagandists, including John Steinbeck, to advance a socialist agenda.”

 – also from Bob Jones University Press.

These books are used widely in Christian schools that would receive dramatically increased funding under Mitt Romney‘s education plan. But look at this:  BJU‘s biology, history, English, and religion textbooks have been rejected by the University of California for course credit. Why? Because they don’t even have the kernel of truth in them.

My recommendation: don’t go to school in Louisiana.

Economic Quote for the Day

Why do we need banks at all? If it sounds crazy – a world without banks – it is not.

We have become so used to storing money in banks and talking to our banks that we have forgotten what they do. Simply put, banks borrow money from you, and lend it out to borrowers at a higher rate than they pay you in interest. That is it: Banks are lenders. They provide credit. Everything else is window dressing.


You think banks provide safety? Wrong. That is the government and FDIC…. So why do you go to a bank? Because your brain has been trained to believe that you can trust them.  Their brand means safety to you. You assume that their risk management is better than yours, and therefore will protect your money and enhance its value.

What if that assumption is wrong?

– Economist Michael Eisenberg quoted in Washington’s Blog

There are so many potential enemies destroying our free society through economic and political means that it it hard to see where to grab on that would be effective. I watch the spread of Occupy Wall Street and I am impressed with the energy, but I don’t see where it will end… positively or negatively.

Meanwhile, we are slowly moving into Depression-level Unemployment and politicians are very busy clawing at each other as a means to attract corporations.

It’s hard to see a way to win given the present Congress and Administration. If we could only Raise FDR from the grave (Yeah, I’m influenced by Greek Tragedy.)

Minnesota: Is this the upcoming National Crisis in Miniature?

By Barb Kucera, editor of Workday Minnesota, where this articleoriginally appeared

Minn. government shutdown puts thousands out of work.

ST. PAUL – “Where are the damn jobs?” was the question posed by a sign at Thursday night’s State Capitol vigil. Not only were no jobs created during the 2011 legislative session, the state

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government shutdown that began at midnight put thousands of public and private sector workers out of work.

Minnesota’s sluggish economy, struggling to recover from the recession, will be rocked by the layoffs of 23,000 state employees and thousands of others as the effects of the shutdown ripples through local units of government, businesses and communities.

Some 10,000 construction workers immediately face unemployment due to the closure of all state-funded construction projects, said Harry Melander, president of the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council.

At a vigil Thursday night, state workers filed before a microphone to list the litany of public services affected by the inability of state lawmakers to reach a budget agreement before Friday’s start of a new fiscal year. They ranged from adoption services and addiction programs to business licensing, pollution prevention and public health efforts.

“We want to work!” participants in the vigil chanted as darkness fell on the state Capitol. A sign on the building said it was closed until further notice due to the shutdown.

Failure to compromise

Minnesota labor leaders said Republican lawmakers, by refusing to address the state’s revenue shortfall, were to blame for the impasse that led to the shutdown.

“Their insistence on protecting millionaires has now resulted in a government shutdown that leaves thousands of public and private sector workers without a job,” said Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson.

“While this shutdown will be harmful in the short-run, it is only a preview of what the GOP‘s all-cuts budget would look like.

“Governor Dayton has met Republicans halfway with a balanced solution that will hold the line on taxes for 98 percent of Minnesotans. We call on Republican legislators to join Governor Dayton in the middle and forge a compromise that will create jobs and protect the middle class.”

Jim Monroe, executive director of MAPE, the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, said state workers “are being used as pawns in a budget impasse,” adding “It seems that legislative leaders do not understand the value that public services give to the quality of life in this state.”

Eliot Seide, executive director of AFSCME Council 5, the largest union of state workers, said, “We are saddened the Republican legislators would dispose of us like we are yesterday’s trash.”

In the coming days, both unions will be operating phone banks so members can call lawmakers to demand an end to the crisis and a fair budget.

They also plan a mass rally at the Capitol July 6 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Dubbed the “Downeyville Rally” after state Rep. Keith Downey, who sponsored legislation to slash the state workforce, the event will dramatize the effect of the shutdown, in the same way impromptu encampments called “Hoovervilles” portrayed the devastation of the Great Depression in the 1930s.

A moral crisis

Participants in Thursday night’s vigil were joined by clergy from various faiths. The Rev. Paul Slack, pastor of New Creation Church in Brooklyn Park, spoke for many when he framed the debate in  moral terms.

Thousands of Minnesotans, especially the state’s most vulnerable residents, will be hurt by the shutdown and by many of the proposed budget cuts, he said.

“We need to pass a budget – not just a budget – but a budget that works for us all,” he said. “This is not a budget crisis. This is not even a revenue crisis. This is a moral crisis.”

For more information

View more photos on the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation Facebook page

AFSCME and MAPE have resources for laidoff state workers on their websites.

A local group, ShutDownRiseUp! will offer a free meal every day at 5 p.m. in Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis and the opportunity to organize around the shutdown.

John Boehner Claims Spending Cuts Will Create Jobs

Here’s the beginning of a wonderful article based on the Sunday pundits in Crooks and Liars.

Give it a look, then go in and read the rest:

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Is anyone else as tired of this latest talking points by Republicans that continually goes unchallenged by the media — spending cuts are going to create jobs. John Boehner claims he’s got hundreds of economists who agree with him after Chris Wallace points out that a lot of economists don’t agree with him, but of course Wallace didn’t bother to ask him what some of their names were.
How about we fix our trade laws and quit rewarding companies for outsourcing American jobs? Heaven forbid that never seems to be part of the conversation from our politicians when the topic of jobs comes up.

Nicole: Anyone wish that Wallace the Lesser would have asked him for just one or two of the names of those “200 economists” that Boehner insisted agree with this ridiculous meme? It’s one that Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA05) also repeated in a widely-disseminated op-ed this weekend:

As the failed trillion dollar stimulus proved, increased government spending did not create the millions of jobs promised and only added to our record-breaking deficits and over $14 trillion in debt. The new projection that this year’s deficit will reach nearly $1.5 million only reinforces the need to cut up Washington’s credit cards once and for all.

Failed stimulus? Are we in the midst of another Great Depression? No? Wasn’t that the purpose of the stimulus, to pull us back from the brink? The only reason it didn’t do better were all the stupid concessions added to get the Republicans to sign off on it. And as far as jobs are concerned, the unemployment rate is still bleak, but to ignore that the Obama administration — even with all the obstruction placed before them by the Republican Party — managed to create more jobs in 2010 than Bush did in all eight years of his term put together is fundamentally disinforming the public.

But that’s the plan for the GOP.

blog it

Howard Fineman is predicting a BIG loss for Democrats.

This article from HuffPo gives you Fineman‘s views this morning… I’ll give you the first couple of paragraphs, but DO go in and read the rest:
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Publicly, Democratic campaign officials are putting a brave face on predictions of House losses, with House Campaign Chairman Chris Van Hollen claiming that the party might hold the chamber, meaning that they would lose fewer than a net of 39 seats. Other officials are pegging the expected losses at 50-55 seats, in line with consensus independent public forecasts, such as those of Charlie Cook and Nate Silver.

But within the last 12 hours I’ve spoken to two top Democratic consultants — very active on the battlefield this fall and with 60 years of on-the-ground experience between them — who told me some shocking news.

Separately, and privately, they each told me that they thought the Democrats could lose 70 seats on Tuesday. That would be a blowout of historic proportions.

For the record, the biggest one-day loss for the president’s party in modern times was in 1938, when voters expressed their impatience with the Depression and FDR’s New Deal by voting out 71 Democrats.

blog it

Me? I see it the way Tony Auth does:

We are about to enter an era of lunacy.

I’m losing my energy for the blog… not sure how long it will stay up…

Yesterday I had the lowest number of visitors (and by that I mean serious visitors, not quick check-ins pushed by Alphainventions, Blogitti, Blogiche or Blogsurfer) to Under The LobsterScope that I have had in the last couple of years. The number of SPAM postings that I have to look at and make a decision over has increased markedly as well. I’ll admit that yesterday I was gone most of the day getting my new old car in Silver Spring, but it is usually the evening that gives me my biggest amount of real participation.

I am now midway through my 64th year and rapidly heading to 65… tired, retired and mired in medication for diabetes, ADD, Depression and a new set of indications which they are testing for. I have the Radio Show to prepare for each week and the housework I’m now committed to as my wife is the full-time employed person. And I’m so low on physical energy that working myself up over the incessant trash dumped everywhere by the extreme right wing is becoming exercise I no longer wish to partake in. Plus, with the advances from Sustainable Shepherdstown working locally, the idea of creating a life that would mean survival if the Conservatives finally destroy our economy and and social structure now takes up a major portion of time and will only grow in the future.

I am quite depressed about the current election season, as I think, no matter what we reveal as the honest truth, America is getting ready to pull off a suicide vote this year and just the thought of John Boehner undermining health care as Speaker of the House and Rand Paul eliminating public schools for our growing population of poor children and  Mitch McConnell gleefully putting party ahead of country for the next four years until he is up for election again (not that I think Kentucky will ever wise up) makes me shiver. Politics has become a lost cause, and since this blog is about 75% politics, it is not effective enough to maintain.

I’ll be deciding what to do in the next day or so (my wife and I are celebrating 32 years of marriage this weekend and I’d rather think of her than saving the country today and tomorrow) and will probably come out on Monday with a final statement on what will happen with UTL. Meanwhile, let me know what you think… if you are out there.



One solution I have is to do a much smaller blog with an Arts/Theatre focus… that ties into the things that I enjoy most in life and that are worth pursuing.