Texas SBOE Destroys Education

Just got done listening to Common Sense 172. I generally agree with Dan on a lot of things. This is one time I think there's more threat here than he's willing to admit to.

As an example, here's a quote from show Number 8:
"I'm not an intelligent design guy, I'm just an open-minded guy. I don't mind a whole bunch of theories being thrown out there. I think we've really forgotten in this whole evolution thing is that the name of this whole name evolution thing is the theory of evolution."
I'm not suggesting that Dan is a creationist, or even a christian. What I am suggesting is that the arguments of the Religious Reich (and I've heard this exact phrase come out of ID defenders mouths before) have seeped into the common arguments presented by average people who don't necessarily understand what scientists mean when they use the word theory. Gravitational theory is only a theory too. But I wouldn't suggest you jump off a building and expect to float. There is every bit as much science backing evolution as there is gravitation. Perhaps more. Dan has gone on the attack against science in the past (episode 5 for those with the DVD) albeit attacking pop science. And yet the scientific method is the only method that has been shown to be capable of determining what truth is.

Science is under attack here in Texas, more than history is. The SBOE has specifically gone on the attack against the scientific method itself, attempting to undercut the basis for our technological society. The stories coming out about the history textbooks just highlight what kind of mental neanderthals are serving on the SBOE, and what their real goals are.

Here's a quote from the story in the NY Times:

In recent years, board members have been locked in an ideological battle between a bloc of conservatives who question Darwin’s theory of evolution and believe the Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles, and a handful of Democrats and moderate Republicans who have fought to preserve the teaching of Darwinism and the separation of church and state.

Since January, Republicans on the board have passed more than 100 amendments to the 120-page curriculum standards affecting history, sociology and economics courses from elementary to high school. The standards were proposed by a panel of teachers.

“We are adding balance,” said Dr. Don McLeroy, the leader of the conservative faction on the board, after the vote. “History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left.”

Excuse me if I don't buy McLeroy's arguments on the subject of the skewing of academia. His past support for inclusion of the teaching of creationism in science classrooms (which is distinctly NOT science) and his boards attempts to manipulate the definition of the scientific method so that Intelligent Design would meet the criteria, have shown that he is no friend of education, or our technologically based society either (which only exists because of the scientific method) which makes me question the justification for his chairing the board that dictates what Texas children will be taught in coming years.

The one thing I do agree with Dan on, on this subject, is the legitimacy of the existence of these types of boards in the first place. There isn't any. They should all be disbanded, and the controls for what is taught should be handed back to the teachers and parents. The people directly involved in educating the children.

Because, trust me, education begins at home. No matter what the government schools set out to teach my children, they get an education in critical thinking from me.



I seem to have started an interesting thread over at the Common Sense forum. Still think Dan didn't hit the SBOE hard enough. Jon Stewart did.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Don't Mess With Textbooks
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I'd like to put this in perspective. The rest of the nation is buying textbooks that meet standards set by a state whose students are not even close to the best performers in the nation.

Bureaucracy in action.



For those who might think I exaggerate the threat, here's a list of the worst of the current changes proposed by the SBOE to the Social Studies curriculum, from the TFN website;
  • Religious conservatives on the board killed a proposed standard that would have required high school government students to “examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion over all others.” That means the board rejected teaching students about the most fundamental constitutional protection for religious freedom in America. (3/11/10)
  • Even as board members continued to demand that students learn about “American exceptionalism,” they stripped Thomas Jefferson from a world history standard about the influence of Enlightenment thinkers on political revolutions from the 1700s to today. In Jefferson’s place, the board’s religious conservatives inserted Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin. They also removed the reference to “Enlightenment ideas” from the standard, requiring that students simply learn about the “writings” of various thinkers (including Calvin and Aquinas). (3/11/10)
  • Board conservatives succeeded in censoring the word “capitalism” in the standards, requiring that the term for that economic system be called “free enterprise” throughout all social studies courses. Board members such as Terri Leo and Ken Mercer charged that “capitalism” is a negative term used by “liberal professors in academia.” (3/11/10)
  • The board removed the concepts of “justice” and “responsibility for the common good” from a list of characteristics of good citizenship for Grades 1-3. (The proposal to remove “equality” failed.) (1/14/10)

  • Social conservatives on the board removed Santa Barraza from a Grade 7 Texas history standard on Texans who have made contributions to the arts because they objected to one of her (many) paintings — one including a depiction of a woman’s exposed breasts. Yet some of Barraza’s works had been displayed in the Texas Governor’s Mansion during the gubernatorial administration of George W. Bush in the 1990s. (3/11/10)
  • The board stripped Dolores Huerta, cofounder of United Farm Workers of America, from a Grade 3 list of “historical and contemporary figures who have exemplified good citizenship.” Conservative board members said Huerta is not a good role model for third-graders because she’s a socialist. But they did not remove Hellen Keller from the same standard even though Keller was a staunch socialist. Don McLeroy, a conservative board member who voted to remove Huerta, had earlier added W.E.B. DuBois so the Grade 2 standards. McLeroy apparently didn’t know that DuBois had joined the Communist Party in the year before he died. (1/14/10)
  • In an absurd attempt to excuse Joseph McCarthy’s outrageous witchhunts in the 1950s, far-right board members succeeded in adding a requirement that students learn about “communist infiltration in U.S. government” during the Cold War. (Board member Don McLeroy has even claimed outright that Joseph McCarthy has been “vindicated,” a contention not supported by mainstream scholarship.) (1/15/10)
  • The board voted in January to remove children’s book author Bill Martin Jr. from a Grade 3 standard about significant writers and artists because members confused the author of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? with another Bill Martin who had written a book about Marxism. An embarrassed board reinserted Martin into the Grade 3 standards in March. (3/11/10)
  • Board members added Friedrich von Hayek to a standard in the high school economics course even though some board members acknowledged that they had no idea who the Austrian-born economist even was. (3/11/10)
  • The board added a requirement that American history students learn about conservative heroes and icons such as Phyllis Schlafly, the Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority. The board included no similar standard requiring students to learn about individuals and organizations simply because they are liberal. (1/15/10)
  • Board conservatives passed a standard for the eighth-grade U.S. history class requiring students to learn about the ideas in Jefferson Davis’ inaugural address as president of the Confederacy during the Civil War. (1/14/10)
  • In a high school government standard about “the importance of the expression of different points of view in a democratic republic,” the board added a requirement that students learn about the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. (3/11/10)
  • The board’s bloc of social conservatives tried to water down instruction on the history of the civil rights movement. One board amendment, for example, would have required students to learn that the civil rights movement created “unreasonable expectations for equal outcomes.” That failed to pass. Other amendments passed in January minimized the decades of struggle by women and ethnic minorities to gain equal and civil rights. (Board member Don McLeroy even claimed that women and minorities owed thanks to men and “the majority” for their rights. Earlier in the revision process, a conservative appointed by McLeroy to a curriculum team had complained about an “over-representation of minorities” in the standards.) Under pressure from civil rights groups, the board partially reversed those earlier amendments. (3/11/10)
  • The board’s right-wing faction removed references to “democratic” (or “representative democracy”) when discussing the U.S. form of government. The board’s majority Republicans changed those references to “constitutional republic.” Board member Cynthia Dunbar also won approval for changing references to “democratic societies” to “societies with representative government.” (3/11/10)
  • Religious conservatives stripped from the high school sociology course a standard having students “differentiate between sex and gender as social constructs and determine how gender and socialization interact.” Board member Barbara Cargill argued that the standard would lead students to learn about “transexuals, transvestites and who knows what else.” She told board members she had conducted a “Google search” to support her argument. Board member Ken Mercer complained that the amendment was about “sex.” The board consulted no sociologists during the debate. (3/11/10)
  • Board member Barbara Cargill proposed a standard to the high school economics course requiring students to “analyze the decline in the value of the U.S. dollar since the inception of the Federal Reserve System since 1913.” After debate, the board passed a revised standard that requires students to “analyze the decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.” References to 1913 and the Federal Reserve System were dropped. The board consulted no economists during the debate. (3/11/10)
  • The board approved a standard requiring students to learn about “any unintended consequences” of the Great Society, affirmative action and Title IX. (3/11/10)
  • In a high school U.S. history standard on musical genres that have been popular over time, the board’s bloc of social conservatives removed “hip hop,” equating this broad genre with “gangsta rap.” (3/11/10)
  • The board voted to use “BC” and “AD” rather than “BCE” and “CE” in references to dates in the history classes. That means students going off to college won’t be familiar with what has become an increasingly common standard for dates. (3/10/10)
  • The board removed Oscar Romero, a prominent Roman Catholic archbishop who was assassinated in 1980 (as he was celebrating Mass) by rightists in El Salvador, from a world history standard about leaders who led resistance to political oppression. Romero, they argued, wasn’t of the same stature as others listed in the standards: Nelson Mandela and Mohandas Gandhi. One board member argued that “he didn’t have his own movie like the others.” He quickly reversed himself — the film Romero, based on the archbishop’s life, was released in 1989 and starred actor Raul Julia in the title role. (3/10/10)
  • The board’s right-wing faction removed a reference to propaganda as a factor in U.S. entry into World War I. (The role of propaganda on behalf of both the Allies and Central Powers in swaying public opinion in the United States is well-documented. Republican Pat Hardy noted that her fellow board members were “rewriting history” with that and similar changes.) (1/15/10)
  • The board changed a “imperialism” to “expansionism” in a U.S. history course standard about American acquisition of overseas territories in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Board conservatives argued that what the United States did at the time was not the same as European imperialism. (1/15/10)
(source Texas Freedom Network TFN Insider: The List of Shame in Texas)

Some additional articles in the local paper.

College readiness overlooked in social studies fight
TEA posts latest version of social studies standards
Now's the time to educate State Board of Education
McLeroy, Miller upset in SBOE elections

Health Insurance, Obamacare & Republican Collectivism

Was reading Larry Elder's column over at the Atlasphere, Republican Collectivism. In it is everything I disagree with resistance to Obamacare, in a nutshell. Not that I like Obamacare, I haven't even read the bill. Here's a snippet.
Take this issue of those with pre-existing illnesses. Many Republicans actually support government action to prevent insurance companies from refusing to insure them. Ignoring the benefits of cost-lowering free market competition and the role of charity, many Republicans believe it acceptable to force an insurance company — in business to insure against unknown risks — to "insure" someone currently experiencing a known risk.
OK. First off, health insurance is misnamed. it's not insurance, except for the fact that it's offered by insurance companies. It was invented near here at the Baylor Medical Center, in the 30's, as a way to get people to come to hospitals. This system was encouraged and given tax subsidies by the state and federal governments over the years, as a preferred method to get healthcare to the masses, without government having to do the legwork (like so many systems in the US, it was built by laziness on the part of authorities, rather than intelligent debate, and testing) or anybody actually thinking about the issue.

It's a government regulated and subsidized industry that pays for people's healthcare, already. It's not like this is free market activity that is somehow unsullied. And it's broken. It needs to be fixed.

Pre-existing conditions is a blanket reason to drop any insured person who gets sick, whether it was truly pre-existing or not. I've seen this done on many people over the years. To jump up in defense of this practice is to completely not understand the real context that the practice is used under.

If they aren't going to cover my costs, I have no use for them. Scrap the entire system, make it a charitable national fund, that individuals and 'real' insurers (read as 'catastrophic care'. If you want someone to pay for your doctor visits, get an accountant, or join a pool. don't call it insurance) can contribute to. Privately run, if possible.

Either that, or let the Obamacare take over. But the status quo has to go.

True healthcare reform requires less government involvement, not more. Every time this subject comes up we get more of the same, and American's have stated time and again that the usual solutions aren't acceptable. How many times do we have to go through this? How about we try something different? Expand HSA's so everyone can have one. Make tax credits available for everyone who buys insurance, not just businesses. Create a Private charity pool at the national level so that those people with severe illnesses can get treatment without going bankrupt. Remove the insurance industry from the picture, except for those who want to do business with them. Remove the federal government from the picture as much as possible. Seriously, how about a *real* change?

(Sound of head exploding) Back to WoW.

WoW 'Toons & Servers Update


This is an update for a previous post. I'm on 4 World of Warcraft servers, but I'm really only active on two. One for Horde characters, one Alliance.

My Horde reside on the Terenas server.
  • Rasmuerta - Level 80 Troll Deathknight (Mining, Blacksmithing) My 'main' on horde. She hates humans. A human, Arthas, made her what she is. I find it amusing that Trolls are my least favorite race; and yet, because I made a Troll DK, a Troll is my main horde toon. Strange how things work out.
  • Creavishop - Level 61 Undead Warlock (Tailoring, Enchanting) I discovered that tailoring is essential for making containers in the game. I also discovered that Auction House prices can be ludicrously high for in demand items. So I tend to advance the toons that make these items. Undead is the only race for a Warlock, in the current game (My opinion) With the introduction of Worgen in Cataclysm, I'll make an alliance Warlock that I can advance.
  • Tharthurm - Level 54 Tauren Warrior (Mining, Skinning) Tharthurm will be bidding us farewell when Cataclysm is released. He was always supposed to be a Paladin. I can finally make one for the Tauren with that expansion of the game. I will be making a goblin warrior. A goblin engineer. Tauren, however, are my favorite horde race. I'll have 4 of them when Cataclysm comes out.
  • Uroga - Level 33 Orc Hunter (Mining, Engineering)
  • Olaventa - Level 32 Orc Shaman (Herbalism, Inscription) Doongarind got a sex change. Wanted an Orc female to balance the roster. This toon will be advancing soon. Scribes are also essential.
  • Rakudaga - Level 28 Tauren Druid (Herbalism, Alchemy) Also advancing shortly. Need those alchemy potions.
  • Eugennah - Level 35 Undead Rogue (Skinning, Leatherworking) Will be handing Leatherworking to Uroga soon. Want to see what kind of soulbound dragonscale mail the hunter will be able to make and wear. Eugennah will be taking up mining. I have a hard time suspending disbelief when it comes to looking at the undead models. The elbow and knee joints don't have any connective tissue, how are they supposed to move?
  • Tanath - Level 32 Blood Elf Mage (Mining, Jewelcrafting) My poor lonely bloodelf. I deleted Kelyndrian because I was unimpressed with the blood elf storyline for Paladins, at least the way it starts. Also, I wanted to explore the new areas available with a Tauren Paladin. I've played a mage to 80 already. I'm wondering if I'll do it again.
Alliance toons are on the Muraden server.
  • Eieloris - Level 80 Night Elf Rogue (Skinning, Leatherworking) I have no main in alliance side. But this is without a doubt my favorite. Usually to be found in Wintergrasp these days. She loves PvP.
  • Juverna - Level 74 Dwarf Hunter (Mining, Skinning) Just can't seem to get a feel for the Hunter class. I like to play them, but mostly just to collect pets.
  • Tarashal - Level 80 Night Elf Druid (Herbalism, Alchemy) Both my Druids are balance talented. Both will dual spec as healers. So far, Druid is my favorite healer class.
  • Brenelbur - Level 80 Gnome Mage (Tailoring, Enchanting) Bren thought he was a Night Elf for a very long time. I was in a quandary when Cataclysm was announced to finally allow Night Elf Mages. Night Elves renounced arcane magic, how can they have mages? But Bren wants to be one! Bren is staying a Gnome though. Love the laugh.
  • Garabaldi - Level 54 Gnome Warrior (Mining, Engineering) Named for my favorite character on Babylon 5. This toon plays with The Wife's Alliance toon, when she's on. He's a gnomish engineer, of course.
  • Rasputing - Level 64 Draenei Paladin (Mining, Blacksmithing) Armorsmith. Like the hunter, I just can't seem to get a feel for Paladin. Still, they seem to be the best tanking class. My Draenei will be exploring the full range of quests in Outland, since that is their homeland.
  • Raslinda - Level 54 Draenei Shaman (Mining, Jewelcrafting) Possibly my favorite toon to watch move. Also, potentially my next favorite healing class.
  • Keslingra - Level 60 Dwarf Priest (Herbalism, Inscription) I wasn't even going to do priests for a long time. But I decided to give the class a chance. Remarkably versatile.
  • Rasmortis - Level 80 Human Deathknight (Mining, Blacksmithing) Weaponsmith. In my view Deathknights should be human in the same way the rogues are all female. Previous Blizzard games have set these facts in my mind, can't help it.
The Daughter named our guild (same name, both servers) by mistyping 'frost wyrm riders'. The rest of us liked the typo Frosty Wyrm Riders better. It means what you want it to mean. For me, it means our toons do a wee bit of drinking in game. Or maybe we're just 'staying frosty'.

Anyway, the levels progress, and some of the toons are maxxed. The 80's that aren't PvP obsessed are gearing for Icecrown, which I hope to do before it becomes like all the other low level raids; bypassed.

Comments on Star Trek by the Minute

What follows is a record of my comments on and conversations with the author for Structured Dream and his posts for Star Trek by the Minute

Star Trek by the Minute 022: Leap Without Looking
R. Anthony Steele said...
I always saw that scene with Scott and his nephew as Scotty's throwing the cost of avoidable battle in Kirk's face. It's possible he expected Bones to be on the bridge, since that is where he seems to spend most of his time on the show.

In any case, while WOK is one of my favorites, I don't consider it to be exactly 'canon'. None of the films really work in the context of the original show (except the first one) since they are all products of the writer/producer/director team makes them.

Having said that, I have to say that I no longer consider myself a Trekkie or a Star Trek fan, after this last film. It's dead for me now. I can't think of anything that could have been more of a betrayal of the Trek that I followed and loved than this latest film is.

I have enjoyed every minute of the review that I've read so far. Thanks for writing it, it has saved me the pain of doing it myself, as I pointed out on my blog.

RAnt(hony)-ings - Star Trek

BurntSynapse said...

Thanks for the feedback and the links, Anthony. You're the type of fan I'm trying to reach, and I enjoyed your Abramination posts. I would like to read your TrekBBS posts; Are they accessible?
March 14, 2010 7:35 AM

R. Anthony Steele said...
if you go into the interface and do a search for 'ranthony' you should get all my posts in a list.

There's really not much there, if I remember correctly. I reposted the RIP blog post, and was looking for feedback (it's still there, in the closed thread) and then was attacked, repeatedly, for daring to ask where my posts went, and for not liking the film.

It's funny. I used to run a Trek fanclub. When I see my former club members, almost all of them *love* the film. When they find out I don't, the questions begin, and it almost follows a script.

"Loved the action" Yep, it was great.
"Loved the actors" Yep, they were great. They clearly all had respect for the characters they were portraying, and they did good jobs with what they were given.
"So, what don't you like?" EVERYTHING else. A story would have been nice. Some science would have been good too (red matter. It would be funny, if it wasn't in a Trek film) REAL FEMALE CHARACTERS sort of tops my charts of complaints. Where are they in this film?

I have a theory, and I wish I had the money and permission to give this a try. Take STV, and remove every special effects scene. Rework it with state of the art effects, and the budget this film had. I think it would be every bit the seller this film was. And it would be a real Trek film, to boot.

That film was thrown to Shatner as a bone, and the studio never got behind it. But it has some of the best scenes with classic characters interacting. There are some really bad scenes (the birth sequence, as someone else noted, is horrible) but mostly it suffered from a lack of a real effects budget. Compare the comic moments between the two films. I don't see the difference.

...and yet STV is routinely panned as the worst film. Why? Because of the laughable effects, IMO.

Anyway, thanks for reading my linked posts.

-RAnthony
Star Trek by the Minute 025 Safety Belts

R. Anthony Steele said...
The bike sequence is the moment in the film when I could no longer suspend disbelief. The antique car at the beginning, far fetched as that sequence was, was an artifact of the past.

Kirk's bike is a tool of the modern age, and it has wheels, which is completely outside of the trek universe (It's also why Nemesis doesn't make it as a trek film, btw) and it's appearance pulled me right out of the film. So much so that I couldn't even enjoy the grand entrance of the under construction Enterprise.

The 'giving away things' comment in the novelization is probably a wrong-headed attempt to incorporate the (poorly conceived) notion of money and property in the ST universe that previous screen writers have failed to communicate in their own right.

They would have had to have some grounding in philosophy, money and ethics in order to understand it themselves, much less communicate it to others.

As you pointed out, the film addresses none of this, doing even less (if that's possible) to incorporate past conceptions of Trek into the story.

-RAnthony
Star Trek by the Minute 027 Three Years?
R. Anthony Steele said...
Glad I wasn't the only one who noticed this. That was the first thing in my mind. Maybe they invented some Red Dwarf type games to pass the time. Soap suds slalom down the cargo ramp, perhaps.

Still, they aren't the last Romulans alive, and they traveled to this time period to change the timeline. Why not just go to Romulus and CHANGE IT. Just a thought.

-RAnthony
Star Trek by the Minute 031 Cheating to Win?
R. Anthony Steele said...
It's been my opinion, since the announcement of this film, that this scene was the reason for setting the film as a prequel.

It should have been the shining moment in the film. I kept thinking how much I hated that smug bastard in the Captain's chair.

Funny, I never felt that way about Shatner's performances.

-RAnthony

Spring Forward? Bugger off!

It's That Time of Year again. It's a Conspiracy. But we have Little Choice, because it's Good For Us;
"I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves." (Robertson Davies, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, 1947, XIX, Sunday.)
So, don't forget that you'll wake up still drunk Sunday morning because you will have had an hour's less sleep. And don't forget to thank Benjamin Franklin for joking about the idea with people who thought he was serious...



Here's some proof that DST is a bad idea.

The result of the study showed that electricity use went up in the counties adopting daylight saving time in 2006, costing $8.6 million more in household electricity bills. The conclusion reached by Kotchen and Grant was that while the lighting costs were reduced in the afternoons by daylight saving, the greater heating costs in the mornings, and more use of air-conditioners on hot afternoons more than offset these savings. Kotchen said the results were more “clear and unambiguous” than results in any other paper he had presented.

Kotchen and Grant's work reinforces the findings of an Australian study in 2007 by economists Ryan Kellogg and Hendrik Wolff, who studied the extension of daylight saving time for two months in New South Wales and Victoria for the 2000 Summer Olympics. They also found an increase in energy use.

From: Study: Daylight saving time a waste of energy

Since it doesn't save any energy, the only reason left for DST is the conclusion I came to before.

What glorious power is given to congress. They can dictate what time the sun comes up, and the sun will listen. Maybe they should tackle that Pi thing, try dictating that it will be 3.2 or something...

Vaping?

E-cigarettes not only supply "clean" nicotine, but also look like cigarettes--many even having an LED light at the tip. These products, which contain no tobacco, are noncombustible. While we'd certainly benefit from a review of their safety as well as their efficacy as cessation devices, you don't need to be a heart surgeon to know they aren't as dangerous as the real thing.

From How Obama Can Quit Smoking - Forbes.com
The article caught my eye because a couple of film friends were vaping at the Drafthouse the other day. (Their recommendation? www.cigtechs.com KS-808, or the JOYE 510)

If you're still smoking after all the health information that's been thrown at you in the last ten years, maybe a nicotine vaporizor is worth a try. Can't hurt more than smoking.

Treadmilling Computer Time

I, like most people, have never been one to exercise. Large sums of money have been spent in studies attempting to find out why this is true. Wasted is more the word for it. I don't know why "we're all lazy" isn't a good enough answer.

The trick, it seems, is to make exercise part of established daily routines. I've installed a monitor over my treadmill where I've made myself watch all the DVD's I've purchased of late. That has helped significantly in motivating me to get on the treadmill.

Still, I seem to spend a lot of time sitting in front of the keyboard, gaming, typing, etc. This thought reminded me of the stories I had read a few years back (here's one) about offices installing treadmills at desks and workstations, and the positive response they had gotten from this effort.

When I googled treadmill desk, I got way more information than I needed (although this is new. Nice construction) I already had a treadmill, I just wanted some way to get a keyboard/mouse into the hand reach area during normal walking.

Most of the ideas I'd run across, and most of the ones that I had myself involved some rather detailed construction. So I wandered around Home Depot for a few hours trying to visualize the various materials at hand being used to support the devices I had in mind, on the treadmill I already owned.

I finally hit upon using a closet shelf, inverted to give it a lip at the back so that it could hold the keyboard at the right angle for relaxed hand positioning. I just couldn't imagine how I was going to connect it to the treadmill in a way that wouldn't work loose over time.

Then The Wife said "how about using zip ties?"

I knew I married her for a reason.

Here's a few pictures of the resulting contraption. It works, that's the important part. I'm not straining my wrists, that's the next most important point. I'll have to work out permanent attachment later. Maybe. I'm beginning to think break away connectors might be a good idea in case of a fall. We'll see.

Tron Legacy. Let's hope it is.

Been hearing rumors of this film for years. There was an early teaser trailer out more than a year ago that left me wondering if I wanted to see it or not. Looked promising. Still looks promising.



Tron is one of my favorite films. I saw it in a theater, first run (Two Babylon 5 stars worked together for the first time on that film. Can you name them?) The story of the making of that film should be a film in itself (Oh wait, it is) Every single frame of Tron that takes place in the digital world had to be hand processed, matted, painted, etc. A back breaking labor of love that makes today's digital effects seem like a cake walk.

The new film looks to be grittier and grimmer (go figure) and packed full of more explosions than they could even imagine doing back in 1982. I'm hoping they remembered to include a story. In any case, I'm sure I'll be there opening night. The Wife loves movies with explosions.



Another one I forgot I wrote.  I actually really got into Tron Legacy.  Loved pretty much everything about it, far more story in the new film than was present in the first one.  The effects were amazing, and it was beautiful seeing the actors reprise their roles so faithfully.  This film was one of the true bright spots in Hollywood's insistence in remaking all of the films I loved as a child.

NOT Endorsing Governor Good-hair

I got an 'alert' in my inbox today from Empower Texans (I'm canceling that subscription, by the way) letting me know I need to vote in the primary tomorrow.

[I'm probably going to sit this one out, haven't decided yet. I may go get my card stamped Libertarian again; but then again, I may not bother. I'm getting convinced it's all a waste of time. More on that later]

In the 'alert' they are sure to tell me that they have endorsed candidates for the races, so click on over to the Empower Texans website and they'll be sure to let you know who to vote for.

Just for the fun of it, I clicked on over to peruse the list of suggestions; and sure enough, bottom of the list is an endorsement for Rick Perry.

Exactly how does endorsing the sitting governor 'Empower Texans'? a governor who has exceeded his gubernatorial authority time and time again; has created private road systems that put dollars in foreign companies pocket, disenfranchised whole segments of the population with his bible-thumping rhetoric and whose influence over the SBOE has threatened the future of education in the State of Texas?

Around this house we call him Governor Good-hair. That's the sum total of his positive contribution to this state, in our lowly opinion.

Let's get past the basic waste of time it is to endorse any sitting politician in this day and age. With re-election rates in the mid-90's for incumbents, why bother? Let's get straight to the heart of the matter; why not endorse someone who actually favors Liberty in the Lone Star State? If it has to be a Republican, why not Debra Medina? Why not the Libertarian candidate? As Libertarians, they've got to be more 'liberty' oriented than any candidate the other parties might run.

I get so fed up with political ads in Texas. "The REAL Conservative Candidate" (you can hear the capitol letters) as if conservatives haven't run this state, and the federal government for the last 8+ years. If we aren't happy with what's going on in the state, maybe we don't need REAL conservatives. Maybe we need a Democrat. How about the former mayor of Houston, Bill White? Houston is notorious for it's hands off approach to development and business. What about Farouk Shami? any man brave enough to run for governor with that name has got to have what it takes to run this state.

How about we pull ANYBODY off the street and endorse him, instead of endorsing Governor Good-hair? They've got a better than even chance of doing a better job.