Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Political bumper sticker

Today when I was out finishing my Christmas shopping in Montgomery, I saw a bumper sticker on a car in the Target parking lot. The bumper sticker said "Pray for Obama, Psalm 109:8" I wrote the chapter and verse down so that I could look it up when I got home. When I looked it up it said, in the Contemporary English Version, "Cut his life short and let someone else have his job." And in the King James Version, "Let his days be few; and let another take his office."

If that is not the most un-Christian sentiment, posing as Christian, that I've ever seen I don't know what is. It is one thing to wish him out of office, if that is your politics, fine. But to wish his life cut short is a totally different story. And don't even bother saying that if it is in the Bible it can't be un-Christian, because there are plenty of un-Christian things in the Old Testament.

People like that who call themselves Christian with so much hatred in their hearts just sickens me.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A sad day

Today is a sad day for my family. My uncle, William Ray Strickland died this morning after an extended illness. He was only 44 years old, but has had health issues since 1996 when he contracted encephalitis during the outbreak in Atlanta.

Rest in Peace, Will. We will all miss you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Musing on conspiracy theories & the 16th Amendment

At the suggestion/request of a student, I watched the Zeitgeist video yesterday. One of many of the conspiracy theories set forth in the video is that the Federal Income Tax is unconstitutional because the 16th Amendment was not properly ratified. So today I did a little looking on the internet to find out what the argument is supporting that position. I found this website that points to all the mistakes made by the states that ratified the amendment, but I don't really plan to research the validity of its claims at this point.

The thought that I do have on the subject and would like to voice is this, How would the other amendments to the constitution hold up to this same scrutiny? It would make a much stronger argument if they could show that it was somehow outside the norm that they behaved in the way they did. Even if they were not acting within the letter of the law, you can't prove conspiracy unless you can show they were acting in a way that was inconsistent with their own past behavior. How many amendments do we have to throw out using this method? How many states do we have to throw out as well? I've heard illegal/unconstitutional arguments thrown around concerning West Virginia and Hawaii, but I'm sure more could be found if you search hard enough.

If it is really illegal/unconstitutional, take a test case to the Supreme Court. If there is sufficient discontent with the federal income tax and sufficient states that don't agree with it, propose a new amendment to repeal it. And no, it does not require Congress to act, there are provision in the Constitution for states to both propose and ratify amendments to the Constitution, it has just never been actually used before (See Article V). There is a legally established process for this, people.

UPDATE: After spending close to an hour looking over the Texas Constitution online, I can find no evidence that it prohibits "the legislatures from empowering the federal government with any additional taxing authority." If it is there, I missed it or it has since been removed through the amendment process (it's no Alabama Constitution, but it has been amended 456 times).

It does, however, require that a bill be read on 3 separate days before voting (as the linked page suggests) but that rule can be suspended, in cases of emergency, by vote of the legislators. I'm not sure why a vote on a Constitutional amendment would be deemed an emergency, but if they held the requisite vote to suspend the rule then that legal argument would be moot.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

American National Government & Monty Python

This morning I am working on constructing a quiz for my American National Government classes. To date, the classes have not done exceptionally well on these quizzes, which consist of questions solely from the reading material combined with questions from the power point presentations. Consistently half the students or more have made either D's or F's.

Jokingly, I had suggested to my family over the weekend that I should have three of the questions be as follows: 1. What is your name? 2. What is your quest? 3. What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? So this morning, as I was making out the test and therefore looking for a way to avoid working on it, I decided to Google "what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?" My quest ultimately led me to this site where someone had actually done some research and worked it out, all with a Monty Python theme.

So if you ever find yourself on the Bridge of Death, just remember, the answer is 11 meters per second, or 24 miles an hour. Hum, too bad it was 24 and not 42, then we might have found the question to the ultimate answer, but that's an entirely different story.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Tree ID

Does anyone have any idea what kind of tree this is? It is yet another thing that I have in my yard that I have no idea what it is. It makes a cool looking berry.

This is a close up picture of the fruit, or berry or whatever you call it, that it produces.

Does anyone know? If so, I'd really appreciate a response.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Trip Pictures

I've uploaded most of our trip pictures from our trip to New England and Niagara Falls to Webshots. There is a permanent link to my albums over in the side bar, but here is a link to the new album. Here are just a few to get you started. Enjoy.

American Falls at Niagara

Nubble Lighthouse

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

Friday, July 10, 2009

On an Academic Note

I got a paper proposal accepted!!

The paper is called "Carrying the Fire": Political Liberalism and Realism in Cormac McCarthy's The Road. It will be presented at the Western Literature Association Conference in Spearfish, South Dakota this fall.

You might be asking yourself, "Western Lit? I thought you taught political science?" Well, yes, yes I do teach poli sci, but I'm doing a political look at a piece of modern literature and this is a conference that welcomes and encourages scholars from other disciplines to present at their conference. Plus, my husband is presenting a paper there as well, so I was going anyway, so why not see if I could present too, right?

Friday, May 15, 2009

What the heck was that? - Bones edition

I don't know what last night's season finale of Bones was supposed to be, but I was very disappointed with it. Oh, it was funny and all, but certainly not what I had hoped for in a season finale. The only thing I can figure is that the writers wanted to find a way to give the die-hard fans some of the things they have been longing for (Booth and Bones in bed together, Zack back on the show) and they couldn't think of a normal way to do it. I don't know.

I do wonder if there was supposed to be any significance to anything that played out in the show. Plus, there is the question of whether that was all Booth's dream or was it Brennen's story that she deleted, or what.

I sure hope they get there act together by next season. If they don't, you can forget jumping the shark, they will just fall into the shark tank and be devoured.

Friday, May 08, 2009

We live in a drug culture

You've probably seen this commercial for Abilify before, but I'll post it for those who haven't.

When I heard this commercial it just struck me how reliant on drugs we really are. Basically what this commercial is saying is that if you take drugs and they don't seem to be helping, or helping enough, the answer is to simply take more drugs. Drugs are not always the answer, and usually they just aren't the answer at all. We tell out kids, "Don't take drugs", "Say NO to drugs", etc. but then we are bombarded by commercial after commercial that says if you want to feel better, perform better, etc., the answer is in this drug or that drug.

Now a lot of people try to make the argument that there is a difference between prescription medication and "drugs" and on some level that is true, but on another level it just simply isn't true. Most of the street drugs today started out as drugs recommended by doctors. Yes, even cocaine and heroine. They were psychiatric drugs. We didn't know about their long term effects, side-effects and all that back then like we do now, so they are generally not prescribed anymore. But the flip side to that is that the drugs we have today are rushed to market without enough research and/or the doctors who prescribe them don't really pay attention to what they are doing or why they are doing it. (And I say this from experience.) The drug company tells them, "try this" and they do.

Some times medication is necessary. I'm not saying it isn't. But we rely on them too much. As a culture, we seem to have this notion that everything can be fixed with a little round pill taken once a day (or 30 minutes before sexual activity) and I think that is wrong-minded. We look for the easy way out and sometimes there just isn't one.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New York City flyby ill advised, to say the least

Via, Official who OK'd N.Y. flyby accused of 'felony stupidity'
After a YouTube video showed panicked New Yorkers scrambling as a Boeing 747 flew frighteningly close to the lower Manhattan skyline, a former Homeland Security adviser questioned whether the man who approved the flyby should remain in his White House office.

Fran Townsend, who advised President George W. Bush for more than three years, called the move "crass insensitivity" in the wake of 9/11.

"I'd call this felony stupidity. This is probably not the right job for Mr. Caldera to be in if he didn't understand the likely reaction of New Yorkers, of the mayor," Townsend said Tuesday on CNN's "American Morning."

Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office, quickly apologized for Monday's incident after the planes prompted workers and residents to evacuate buildings in New York and New Jersey.

I have to say that I agree, felony stupidity is an appropriate descriptor here. If it is not stupidity on the part of the person authorizing it, then it is sadistic. Let's hope for stupidity.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Quote of the Day

Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.
-- Leonardo da Vinci

As a college instructor that teaches only general studies classes, I can vouch for the truth of this statement. When people are disinterested in a subject, they are not likely to learn much or retain what little they did learn.

I wish that as a culture we actually valued education and knowledge. Instead, what we value is the piece of paper that we get after paying for 4 years of college and the job that we get because of it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Speaking of Jumping the Shark...

Apparently has jumped the shark. What was once a great site full of user comments and feedback on tv shows, etc. is now just another page on It is nothing like the old site. The good news is, there is a new website out there is picking up where left off. It is called Bone the Fish. It is just starting up, so go check it out, sign up and starting adding content to make this a great site like the old Jump the Shark used to be.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Joys of a New Landscape

Last fall we moved into a new home, but the house is not actually new and the yard has a good bit in the way of established landscaping. I'm trying to figure what all I have and what I want to plant and where. It is an interesting discovery experience. Currently I have a small shrub (or I suppose it could be a small tree) blooming in one of my beds that I have no idea what it is. The blooms look a lot like honeysuckle, but it is definitely not a honeysuckle vine. If anyone knows what this is, I would really appreciate the info. Here are some pictures of the shrub and close-ups on the blooms.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bones Jumping the Shark?

Some say that Bones jumped the shark by making Zach the Gormogon's apprentice, but I could deal with that because I had just started watching the show at that time and Zach was already seeming creepy at that point. But if any of what is in this article is true, the shark tank is filled and the ramps are in place.

P.S. If Booth keeps hallucinating somebody needs to make him pee in cup.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Be careful how you kid around in Israel

Via MSNBC - Rabbis rule joking teens legally married
It all began as a lark, in a schoolyard where a 17-year-old boy recently declared the girl his wife, reciting a Jewish ritual vow in front of witnesses, and she accepted his ring.

That, and what a spokeswoman for Israel's Rabbinical Courts said was the consummation of their marriage, was enough to make them man and wife in the Jewish state.

I came across this headline in a google search while working on writing my ANG midterm exam questions. Of course, I had to click on the story. Once I read it, I had to share.