How the “socialist Marxist Muslim” saved our financial a$$es

[Rescued from hacker oblivion, thanks to Facebook Notes.] JISHOU, HUNAN — To listen to the right wingers, President Barack Obama has done nothing but spend, spend, spend, ruin health care, trample their rights (to do what, I have no idea), and lead the USA down the path of socialism. Except he really hasn’t. According to Timothy Egan of The New York Times, Obama managed to save capitalism in the USA, at the price of losing his party’s majority after the midterm elections. Suppose you had $100,000 to invest on the day Barack Obama was inaugurated. Why bet on a liberal Democrat? Here’s why: the presidency of George W. Bush produced the worst stock market decline of any president in history. The net worth of American households collapsed as Bush slipped away. And if you needed a loan to buy a house or stay in business, private sector borrowing was dead when he handed over power. As of election day, Nov. 2, 2010, your $100,000 was worth about $177,000 if invested strictly in the NASDAQ average for the entirety of the Obama administration, and $148,000 if bet on the Standard & Poors 500 major companies. This works out to returns of ...

Court restrains further distribution of Expelled, per Yoko Ono suit 4

A federal judge in Manhattan has told the makers of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed that they cannot distribute the film any further, until a copyright infringement complaint is heard in court later this month. The temporary restraining order issued April 30 does not affect existing screenings of the anti-evolution film, which uses a segment of John Lennon’s song, “Imagine,” as an example of “Darwinist” philosophy. Lennon’s heirs filed suit April 24 in US District Court in Manhattan against the producers and distributors of the film, alleging copyright and trademark infringement and requesting monetary damages and an injunction against any showing of the film in its present form. Expelled is showing in 656 theaters nationally, and has gross box office receipts topping $6 million. The parties involved in the suit have until May 6 (Wednesday) to produce documents supporting their cases. Premise Media and its co-defendants have until May 14 to argue against the injunction. The plaintiffs, Yoko Ono Lennon, John Lennon’s sons and his publisher, EMI Blackwood, have until May 16 to rebut. Final arguments are due May 19. Justice is swift, for some of us anyway. Here is the text of the judge’s order: ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE Upon ...

‘Imagine’ is neo-Darwinist theme song, says Expelled producer

John Lennon’s 1971 song, “Imagine,” is the theme song of neo-Darwinists, according to Walt Ruloff, CEO of Premise Media, and was thus used appropriately in his company’s movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. In an interview with the conservative news site, World Net Daily, Ruloff insisted the use of the song fit the theme of the movie. “If you really listen to the lyrics of ‘Imagine’ then you realize that it represents everything that the Neo-Darwinists want. ‘Imagine there’s no Heaven … No hell below us … Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too…’ That’s exactly what the Darwinist establishment wants to do: get rid of religion,” said Walt Ruloff, CEO of Premise Media. “And that’s what we point out when we play less than 15 seconds of the song and show some of the lyrics on screen.” Rrrright … John Lennon channeled Charles Darwin, who wrote a biological theory proposing that we do away with religion. I don’t understand how I missed that connection before. Expelled alleges that a “neo-Darwinist” conspiracy seeks to quash any debate about the theory of evolution and that evolution — Darwinism — is directly responsible for racism, the Holocaust, abortion and euthanasia. ...

Sudanese immigrant granted review of residency request

Pressure from Kentucky’s congressional delegation has convinced immigration authorities to take another look at Lino Nakwa’s residency request, preventing for now any deportation proceedings. The Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services officials had told Nakwa, a Sudanese “lost boy,” they were denying his application for a green card because of his association with a “terrorist organization.” Nakwa had been forced to join the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army when he was 12. He escaped, and was granted political refugee status in the US in 2003. He settled in Louisville, where he raised his four brothers and attended Jefferson Community College. Nakwa is now on the dean’s list at Transylvania University. Check the details at the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Reflections on Apollos 1 and 13

This weekend is a fateful one for space exploration. Forty years ago today, the very first launch of the Apollo lunar mission ended before the spacecraft left the launch pad. A runaway fire took the lives of three astronauts as they prepared for a test of the Apollo-Saturn spacecraft. Coincidentally, I screened the movie Apollo 13 for my physics students just last week, originally to focus on the zero-g scenes but later also to educate them. I was surprised to see so few students knew anything at all about the lunar missions of the 1960s and ’70s. So we watched the entire movie.No one died on Apollo 13, but they could have, had fate moved in a different direction. Although it is a tragic concept to appreciate, NASA learns from its mistakes. Apollo 1 was not even planned as an actual launch on Jan. 27, 1967. The crew was supposed to practice a dry run of launch procedures to see if the Apollo Command Module could operate independently of ground connections. Pilots Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee and Ed White were suited up, running through a well practiced check list. Their suits — intended to protect them in an airless environment ...

It was just time for a change

After spending five days working on other sites, I came back to my blog to find I was really tired of the default WordPress theme. It was too narrow, and the sidebar was hard to read. So, I spent Sunday night finding a new theme and as many hours finetuning it. The new theme is called Sharepointlike, developed by a coder in Bulgaria. The links for “Category,” “Edit this post,” and “Comment on this post” were in Bulgarian, so one of my tweaks was to change those into English for the Cyrillic-impaired. Then, I had to manually edit the index.php file for the theme to add the Amazon, PayPal and other doodads I have added during the last six months. This part was the post time-consuming, as I do the editing the old-fashioned way: change the code, upload the file, view in browser. Rinse. Repeat as necessary. Finally, I could not live without my header image, a Martian sunset transmitted to Earth by the Mars rover, Spirit, in 2005. The image is compelling. I have the same feeling looking at it as I did way back in 1976 when the Viking lander sent back the first images of the ruddy ...

Tangled Bank #56

The latest compendium of science bloggers’ biweekly musings is at Centrerion, a Canadian political blog. I’m in there twice this time, since I missed the last Tangled Bank, but of course there are a ton of other posts to read, too.

Go to church, win a prize!

This news is either weird, or offensive, I’m not sure what. One of the local churches is holding some kind of bombastic special event — sturm und drang Christian style — at which they will hand out prizes. Examples include a TV, a vacation, … a car! Need I say that the church is Pentecostal? Maybe it’s just me, but Pentecostal-style churches seem to borrow heavily from secular entertainment shows for their services. Now, they are  adopting a game-show mentality to win people to the Lord. Visitors might now say, as they leave a service, “Well, I wanted to be born again, but I was really holding out for that convertible.”

Idiosyncratic graduation ceremony

So, this evening we graduated 41 seniors, with none of the church-state drama some other Kentucky high schools are suffering through. In fact, our ceremony was, as usual, quite pleasant. Being a small school helps, since reading only 30-40 names goes a lot quicker than 300-400 or more, but we have honed the ceremony down to the essentials. Herewith is a summary of the evening’s festivities. Times are approximate, since I was not really keeping track of time. At 5:45, students enter auditorium to precessional by brass quartet, followed by faculty. Invocation, very non-denominational, by female Episcopal minister. (3 minutes) Head of school offers welcoming remarks and addresses class. (About 10 minutes) Alumni award is given to a member of class of ’84. (About 15 minutes) Featured speaker is departing history teacher, who recalls his youthful optimism of the late ’60s and charges the seniors with the task of retaining theirs. Then he sings the Bob Dylan song, “Forever Young,” accompanied by one of the seniors on guitar. Who knew he could sing? [Last year, a math teacher danced during his speech. Don’t ask.] (About 15 minutes) Honors graduates are recognized, Commonwealth Diploma graduate recognized. (10 minutes) Awards are given ...

Bush is not the only CiC with low ratings 2

But of the two, I’d rather keep Geena Davis/Mackenzie Allen around for a while. OK, I admit it. I am a sucker for TV. I have given it up several times in the past, but always end up returning to suckle at “The Glass Teat,” to use SF author Harrison Harlan Ellison’s phrase. ABC premiered Commander in Chief last fall, starring Davis as a female vice-president who ends up in the seat of power. She is a political independent, a former academic with three kids and an understanding, politically savvy husband. Her running mate, a Democrat, picked her to appeal to that demographic, but as he lies in his sickbed, makes it clear to her that she has to step aside to let the Speaker of the House (played by Donald Sutherland) take charge. After some internal conflict, she refuses, taking the oath of office at the end of the first episode. The second ep was also pretty good, as we get a glimpse of the problems Allen and her family face professionally and personally as she settles into office. Later eps lost the initial lustre and viewers bailed out. There were apparently some problems between the creator/writer/producer Rob Luria ...

You turn your back for one minute … 1

My AP students put this on my board, apropos of nothing.

Left wing, here I am 3

There’s another questionnaire you can take online to determine where you stand on the left-right, authoritarian-libertarian plane. It’s like the Myers-Briggs personality test. My score was: Economic Left/Right: -5.75 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.74 This puts me in the left-wing, libertarian quadrant with Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi., according to For comparison, George W. Bush is roughly 180 degrees from me in the right-wing, authoritarian quadrant. [See below. I added my coordinates manually.]
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