Author Archive | majestic

Students Cower When Faced With ‘Wheel of Misfortune’

This science class seems kind of fun, unless you lose in the Wheel of Misfortune game! Reuters reports on a Washington state high school teacher’s controversial disciplinary method:

A Washington state high school teacher has been warned not to have students spin a disciplinary “Wheel of Misfortune” to assign punishments for misbehavior that included being pelted with rubber balls by fellow students, school officials said.

The Stevenson High School science teacher used the wheel to punish “low-level misconduct” instead of sending the students to lunch-time detention, Superintendent Dan Read wrote in a letter to parents on Thursday.

Results from a third-party investigation on Wednesday showed the teacher’s spinning punishment prop to be “inappropriate, but well-intentioned” and that the teacher did not “desire to embarrass, intimidate or harm any student,” Read said.

“Poor judgment by any teacher is concerning and we plan to work with the teacher on more positive and productive classroom management skills going forward,” he added…

[continues at Reuters]

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Poor kids who do everything right don’t do better than rich kids who do everything wrong

Photo: Brookie (CC)

Photo: Brookie (CC)

Following on the heels of its story that sex is only for rich people, the Washington Post now claims that rich kids can do everything wrong and still beat conscientious poor kids:

America is the land of opportunity, just for some more than others.

That’s because, in large part, inequality starts in the crib. Rich parents can afford to spend more time and money on their kids, and that gap has only grown the past few decades. Indeed, economists Greg Duncan and Richard Murnane calculate that, between 1972 and 2006, high-income parents increased their spending on “enrichment activities” for their children by 151 percent in inflation-adjusted terms, compared to 57 percent for low-income parents.

But, of course, it’s not just a matter of dollars and cents. It’s also a matter of letters and words. Affluent parents talk to their kids three more hours a week on average than poor parents, which is critical during a child’s formative early years.

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Ebola Conspiracy Theories, Through a Mainstream Lens

It’s always revealing to see the spin that the establishment places on conspiracy theories and this week it’s the turn of the New York Times, reacting to theories about the Ebola scare:

The spread of Ebola from western Africa to suburban Texas has brought with it another strain of contagion: conspiracy theories.

The outbreak began in September, when The Daily Observer, a Liberian newspaper, published an article alleging that the virus was not what it seemed — a medical disaster — but rather a bioweapon designed by the United States military to depopulate the planet. Not long after, accusations appeared online contending that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had patented the virus and was poised to make a fortune from a new vaccine it had created with the pharmaceutical industry. There were even reports that the New World Order, that classic conspiracy bugbear involving global elites, had engineered Ebola in order to impose quarantines, travel bans and eventually martial law.

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Sex Is Only For Rich People

An interesting hypothesis, brought to you by the Washington Post:

America has decided: Sex is for rich people. Non-procreative sex in particular.

How else would you explain the trap we’re laying for poor people who deign to get it on?

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Our country apparently doesn’t want low-income Americans to have free access to birth control, either by compelling all insurance plans to offer it or by adequately funding public reproductive health programs. In many schools — predominantly located in low-income, high-teen-pregnancy areas — we don’t even teach kids how contraception works. We also don’t want them to have easy access to abortions when they inevitably get pregnant because they’re not using birth control, with states such as Texas and Mississippi trying to shutter their few remaining abortion clinics.

Then we don’t help them very much after they birth those unplanned kids, instead publicly chastising irresponsible single mothers for having babies they can’t afford and offering little assistance in the form of child care, education or cash.

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How Billionaire Oligarchs Are Becoming Their Own Political Parties

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Justice Kennedy, the author of the Supreme Court’s ‘Citizens United’ opinion.

Pay 2 Play politics has been the name of the electoral game in America since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Jim Rutenberg has a great essay in the New York Times Magazine showing just how bad things have become:

…Before 2002, parties could accept unlimited donations from individuals or groups (corporations, labor unions, etc.) so long as they devoted the funds — so-called “soft money” — to the amorphous act of “party building.” The McCain-Feingold law, as it came to be known, banned soft-money contributions, and it also prohibited political groups that operate outside the regulated system and its donation limits — like the Wylys and their Republicans for Clean Air — from running “issue ads” that appear to help or hurt a candidate close to an election. It implemented tough fines and even prison terms for those who illegally coordinated with the official campaigns.

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Latest Intellectual Property Chapter Of TPP Agreement Leaked

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is supposed to be secret, but once again a draft has leaked, this time the Intellectual Property chapter. Mike Masnick reviews some of the copyright law provisions, writing at Techdirt:

…In the copyright section, it appears that US goes beyond existing US law in asking that “making available” be considered one of the exclusive rights protected under copyright law. Some US courts consider “making available” to be considered part of the “distribution” right, but others have disagreed (saying that the distribution right only covers works that have actually been, you know, distributed). While the legacy entertainment industry likes to pretend this is settled law and merely making available equals distribution, that’s not entirely clear. No matter, in the agreement, the US (and Japan) push to require everyone to include “making available” as an exclusive right for copyright holders.

There was great fanfare a few years ago when the USTR announced that, for the first time ever, it would include some language about fair use to appease those who were concerned about how these agreements only ratcheted up the enforcement side of copyright, and not the public’s rights.

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Big Pharma Has Made Americans Into Wimps

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Americans are wimpy hypochondriacs, says Julie Gray at Huffington Post:

…The way illness is treated in the United States is ghastly, ranging from costly, inadequate insurance to cheap, over the counter medicines for everything under the sun. It has turned us into a nation of willfully ignorant drug and convenience addicted wimps, buying treatments for symptoms that we don’t like and medications for illnesses we don’t have, padding the pockets of big pharma along the way.

We have become a nation for whom illness is anathema. We are terrified of diseases we probably won’t get; the Ebola scare is sweeping the nation. It was SARS before that. And the H1N1 flu epidemic before that — and so on. Our sense of proportionality, of the actual impact of illness, is way out of whack.

From where I live now, I am thankful that I cannot reach for a spray or lozenge that will make it go away.

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Chris Bovey, Chemtrails Conspiracy Troll

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What do you make of Chris Bovey? Assuming his story is true, does his fake chemtrail spraying video prove anything more than it is possible to hoodwink ardent believers of chemtrails / geoengineering theories? Vice presents his story as a debunking, while it seems to me more akin to claiming that because some crop circles are man made, then necessarily all crop circles are hoaxes…

The chemtrails conspiracy theory has been circulating for a while among the same sorts of people who believe that 9/11 was an inside job and celebrities are being controlled by the CIA. In brief, chemtrail enthusiasts think that those white trails of vapor you see pouring out of planes are actually nasty chemical or biological agents that governments are using to geo-engineer the weather, create a vast electromagnetic super-weapon, control the population, or—well, you get the idea. There’s no science or proof whatsoever behind this, but plenty of people are still willing to entertain this vaguely supervillain-esque notion.

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The Mormon Church Is Building a Family Tree of the Entire Human Race

Before you decide that this is completely insane, consider that the Mormon Church already has 32 times the amount of information stored at the Library of Congress. The New Republic excerpts Christine Kenneally’s new book, The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures:

Mormons think as hard as, probably harder than, anyone else in the world about what it means to keep facts alive, or at least to keep them accessible to the living, and the phenomenon they have built out of granite, microfilm, machines, and software is as mind-bogglingly ambitious for our century as the flying buttresses and gargoyles of Notre Dame were in the twelfth century.

The Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Photo: Cookiecaper (CC)

The Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Photo: Cookiecaper (CC)

Even as a large branch of American genealogy sheared off at the turn of the twentieth century into a mad eugenic scheme to reshape the human race, the Mormons got on with their mission to gather and share records.

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One More (Very Compelling) Reason Not To Shop At Walmart

This is gross, stop reading right now if you don’t like stories about stuffed animals and bodily fluids.

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But if you do, the Smoking Gun reports that a Florida man took a stuffed animal off a shelf at Walmart, had his way with it, and then put the soiled beast back on the shelf to be sold. It’s just one more (very compelling) reason not to shop at Walmart!

A Florida man today took a stuffed animal off a Walmart shelf and then used the toy to masturbate before returning the ejaculate-covered item to a store shelf, police report.

The repulsive episode occurred around 3 PM at a Walmart in Brooksville, a city 50 miles north of Tampa.

According to cops, Sean Johnson, 19, walked to the store’s bedding department with a stuffed toy horse and proceeded to pleasure himself–a lewd act that was captured by surveillance cameras.

Johnson, seen in the adjacent mug shot, was then spotted returning the stuffed animal to a Walmart shelf.

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