Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ben Tan's Quest To 1000 Posts

Wouldn't it be fitting if the Étudiant's own Ben Tan got to 1000 posts by the time he leaves in late August? He probably has well over 1000 (before we started tagging them), but officially he is at 965. Godspeed Ben; I know you will reach this milestone!

This Book Looks Great

For years the do-it-yourself (DIY)/punk underground has worked against the logic of mass production and creative uniformity, disseminating radical ideas and directly making and trading goods and services. But what happens when the underground becomes just another market? What happens when the very tools that the artists and activists have used to build word of mouth are coopted by corporate America? What happens to cultural resistance when it becomes just another marketing platform?

Unmarketable examines the corrosive effects of corporate infiltration of the underground. Activist and author Anne Elizabeth Moore takes a critical look at the savvy advertising agencies, corporate marketing teams, and branding experts who use DIY techniques to reach a youth market—and at members of the underground who have helped forward corporate agendas through their own artistic, and occasionally activist, projects.

Covering everything from Adbusters to Tylenol’s indie-star-studded Ouch! campaign, Unmarketable is a lively, funny, and much-needed look at what’s happening to the underground and what it means for activism, commerce, and integrity in a world dominated by corporations. - The New Press

It has a 4.5 star (out of 5) rating on I'm going to check it out if they have it at the Beebe.

Exxon Sets Profit Record

NEW YORK ( -- Exxon Mobil once again reported the largest quarterly profit in U.S. history Thursday, posting net income of $11.68 billion on revenue of $138 billion in the second quarter.

That profit works out to $1,485.55 a second.

That barely beat the previous corporate record of $11.66 billion, also set by Exxon in the fourth quarter of 2007.

"The fundamentals of our business remain strong," Henry Hubble, Exxon's vice president of investor relations, said on a conference call. "We continue to capture the benefit of strong industry conditions."

Unfortunately, I side with the Congressional Democrats on this one:

"While oil companies are earning record profits and gas prices are soaring, the largest oil companies have invested more resources in stock buybacks than U.S. production," said Congressional Democrats in a press release shortly after Exxon announced its earnings.

Other critics charge the oil companies with deliberately restricting production in an attempt to keep prices high.

Story from CNNMoney

Hamas Son Converts

JERUSALEM – The son of one of the most popular leaders in the Hamas terrorist organization has moved to the U.S. and converted to Christianity, it has emerged.

In an exclusive interview with Israel's Haaretz newspaper, Masab Yousuf, son of West Bank Hamas leader Sheik Hassan Yousef, slammed Hamas, praised Israel and said he hoped his terrorist father will open his eyes to Jesus and to Christianity.

"I know that I'm endangering my life and am even liable to lose my father, but I hope that he'll understand this and that God will give him and my family patience and willingness to open their eyes to Jesus and to Christianity. Maybe one day I'll be able to return to Palestine and to Ramallah with Jesus, in the Kingdom of God," Masab said.

Masab said he previously aided his father with Hamas activities, but he now has affection for Israel and laments Hamas. - World Net Daily

Welcome home, Masab.

Gov. Schwarzenegger Cuts Jobs/Pay

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an executive order today eliminating jobs for as many as 22,000 temporary state employees and reducing pay for about 200,000 state workers to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour, portraying it as a stopgap measure to ensure the state can pay its bills without a state budget.

The Republican governor intends to reverse those moves once lawmakers reach a budget compromise, meaning the state would rehire temporary workers and give employees their entire back pay. The governor's order also imposes a strict hiring freeze and eliminates overtime but exempts workers in health and safety fields.

Schwarzenegger said the state's financial situation and the fact that no budget has been signed "leaves me with no easy choices."

"I have a responsibility to ensure that our state has enough money to pay its bills. This is not an action that I take lightly," he said. -
It sounds harsh and all, but in reality public employees are paid less than their private counterparts.

Nasa finds ice on Mars

Nasa scientists have confirmed there is water on Mars. The US space agency's Phoenix lander has identified water ice in a soil sample analysed in its on board mini-laboratory.
Ice on Mars? How about LIFE on Mars?

Iraq update

Good news!

George Bush opened the way for US troop cuts in Iraq today when he said security gains in the country were durable and cut the length of deployments.

Karadzic goes to court

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic appeared before a U.N. war crimes judge for the first time on Thursday to answer genocide charges and said he had been kidnapped and feared for his life.
Here's a refresher...

Darfur update

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A U.S. spokesman said on Thursday that part of a resolution on Darfur raising worries about a possible indictment of Sudan's president for war crimes there sent the wrong signal to someone who oversaw genocide.

Election update

Barack Obama’s lead over John McCain has diminished considerably in three battleground states, according to a poll published Thursday.'s current scoreboard:
Obama 292 McCain 195 Ties 51

Manny goes to Dodgers

In a deadline day blockbuster reminiscent of the Nomar Garciaparra deal in 2004, left fielder Manny Ramirez was traded this afternoon to the Dodgers as part of the three-team deal that will send Pirates outfielder Jason Bay to the Red Sox, the Globe’s Gordon Edes and Nick Cafardo reported.
Why do all our players become Dodgers?

Admin Edit (Glen): I apologize for posting an unreliable article that stated Ramirez was traded to the Florida Marlins.

WHS's drug policy challenged

WAKEFIELD - More than 35 parents, educators and students attended a forum Tuesday evening in the Volpe Library at the high school for the purpose of discussing the school district’s current rules and policy regulations regarding substance and alcohol abuse by students. “Guilt by association” and the imposed penalty of school suspension seemed to be the two dominant issues of concern in the current policy.
Wakefield High School Principal Elinor Freedman and Director of Athletics Michael Boyages facilitated the open discussion in an effort to assist the administration as it reviews and considers possible amendments to the existing regulations. They were gratified by the turnout on a hot night in the middle of summer.
Principal Freedman first highlighted recent statistics in a report issued by the Middlesex Partnership for Youth Preservation from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's office which noted that, “Alcohol is the #1 drug of youth.” Surveys indicate that 40 percent of teens who begin using at or before the age of 15 develop dependency. In addition, binge drinking (defined as five or more drinks in-a-row), has also become more prevalent at every grade level. The report jarringly acknowledges “There is one teen fatality per hour each weekend.”
“Wakefield isn't likely to be any worse or better than any other community,” noted Freedman adding, “but the statistics do reveal why we are so concerned.”
Freedman said the purpose of the forum was to hear the perspective of parents and students regarding current policy. “We are seeking input by asking three specific questions. Is it fair? Does it appropriately deter students from risky behaviors? Should there be rules that pertain to student leaders and athletes as they are role models for the community?”
Boyages then read a portion of the eligibility rules as they pertain to drug and alcohol use for student athletes as designated in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) handbook. A two page handout available to everyone in the room stated, “the minimum penalty for a first violation is that the student shall lose eligibility for the next 25 percent of all interscholastic contests in that sport. It is recommended that the student be allowed to remain at practice for the purpose of rehabilitation.”
For second and subsequent violations, the student loses playing privileges in a substantially higher number of games. Though the MIAA statewide standard “is not intended to render ‘guilt by association,’ e.g. many student athletes may be present at a party where only a few violate this standard. This rule represents only a minimum standard upon which schools may develop more stringent requirements.”
Wakefield's policy does embrace a “higher standard.”
The current policy (in part) states: “Consequences for student athletes and all participants in extra-curricular school activities determined by the administration to be using, selling, clearly associated with drug or alcohol use or using tobacco products, whether in school or in the community, will be immediately ineligible for further competition in any extra-curricular activity for one third of an activity season.”
“‘Clearly associated with’ is defined as being in the presence of illegal use of alcohol or drugs or possession/use of tobacco products.” The first offense also results in a five day school suspension. The second offense results in a 12 week or 12 game penalty and student leaders lose their position for one calendar year.
Beyond this, Freedman read appendix II: a Memorandum of Understanding between Wakefield Public Schools and the Wakefield Police Department which states: “The joint and cooperative response efforts will focus on incidents that take place on school grounds, within school property, at school sponsored events and other locations in which students of the Wakefield Public Schools are involved.”
Many parents had concerns that the reach of the school has gone too far and the current policy is too harsh requesting that sanctions be more educationally based and less punitive.
If a student attends a party and does not succumb to the pressure to drink or use other dangerous substances, that student should be commended if anything.  To punish someone for sticking to their guns AND staying clean is ridiculous.

Noam Chomsky Responds To My Question

Mr. Chomsky,

You are the true American's most valuable human resource. You, the king of facts, have transcended the field of American political criticism. Your work against the drug war and America's foreign policy is noble. Having read Manufacturing Consent and a plethora of your interviews on YouTube, I know first hand of your excellence. One question I would like to ask you (if you have the time; I know you are one busy man) concerns mill workers. From what I've heard, you argue that the workers should run them. This might sound like a simplistic analysis, but isn't the job of the worker one of manual labor? Their job, though this may be the case in some instances, is typically one that does not involve heavy thinking. Wouldn't the mill be ultimately more successful if it hires non-physical labor specialists to handle managerial decisions? If applicable, please refer me to a book of yours that gets into this. Thank you and godspeed in your future work, sir!

Glen Maganzini
Wakefield Étudiant (

Thanks for the generous remarks.

For privileged sectors, it's convenient to believe that their special talents and knowledge entitle them to manage the world. To say that the evidence is slim is much too kind. With regard to the case you mention, mill workers typically know much more about production than managers. And there is substantial scholarship on the general matter, including among others economist Stephen Marglin's "Why are there bosses," historian of technology David Noble's work on computer-controlled machine tools, and many other specialized studies.

Can you believe that Yahoo! marked his reply as Spam? He responded to my question 30 minutes after I sent it! What a guy. Not to carp on Noam, but "Why are there bosses" doesn't exist. It's actually called "What Do Bosses Do?

Bring Your Daughter To War Day

I found this on the Palaver blog (Liz's blog) and it was just too awesome to not post on here:

Army Holds Annual 'Bring Your Daughter To War' Day

Band Spotlight: Sunset Rubdown

History: Formed by singer Spencer Krug in Montreal in 2005, Sunset Rubdown was signed to Global Symphonic Records a short time later. They made the move to independent label Jagjaguwar (where Daniel Johnston was once signed to) in 2007 for their critically acclaimed LP Random Spirit Lover.

Years Active: 2005-Present

Label: Jagjaguwar

Line-Up (With Their Bands):
Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade, Swan Lake) - Vocals, Guitar, Kick Drum
Camilla Wynn Ingr (Pony Up!) - Vocals, Percussion
Jordan Robson-Cramer (Magic Weapon) - Drums
Michael Doerksen (Deep Sleepover) - Guitar
Mark Nicol - Bass, Kalimba

Genre: Experimental Art Rock

Musical Style/Mood: A more experimental Wolf Parade

This Day In History: July 31

Today is Thursday, July 31, the 213th day of 2008.
There are 153 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:
On July 31, 1948, President Truman helped dedicate New York International Airport (later John F. Kennedy International Airport) at Idlewild Field.

On this date:
In 1556, St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus — the Jesuit order of Catholic priests and brothers — died in Rome.

In 1777, the Marquis de Lafayette, a 19-year-old French nobleman, was made a major-general in the American Continental Army.

In 1875, the 17th president of the United States, Andrew Johnson, died in Carter County, Tenn., at age 66.

In 1919, Germany's Weimar Constitution was adopted by the republic's National Assembly.

In 1945, Pierre Laval, premier of the pro-Nazi Vichy government, surrendered to U.S. authorities in Austria; he was turned over to France, which later tried and executed him.

In 1957, the Distant Early Warning Line, a system of radar stations designed to detect Soviet bombers approaching North America, went into operation.

In 1964, the American space probe Ranger 7 reached the moon, where it transmitted pictures of the lunar surface.

In 1972, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton withdrew from the ticket with George McGovern following disclosures Eagleton had once undergone psychiatric treatment.

In 1987, Iranian pilgrims and riot police clashed in the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, resulting in some 400 deaths, according to the Saudi government, which blamed the Iranians for the violence.

In 1991, President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in Moscow.

Ten years ago: President Clinton said he would "completely and truthfully" answer prosecutors' questions about Monica Lewinsky in testimony to be beamed by closed-circuit television to a grand jury. IBM's Russian subsidiary agreed to pay $8.5 million in federal fines for selling powerful computers ultimately destined for a Russian nuclear weapons laboratory.

Five years ago: The Vatican launched a global campaign against gay marriages, warning Catholic politicians that support of same-sex unions was "gravely immoral" and urging non-Catholics to join the offensive. Two of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's daughters and their nine children were granted refuge in Jordan.

One year ago: The Army censured retired three-star Lt. Gen. Philip Kensinger for a "perfect storm of mistakes, misjudgments and a failure of leadership" after the 2004 friendly-fire death in Afghanistan of Army Ranger Pat Tillman. The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a 26,000-strong peacekeeping force for Sudan's Darfur region.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Don Murray is 79. Jazz composer-musician Kenny Burrell is 77. Actor Geoffrey Lewis is 73. Actress France Nuyen is 69. Actress Susan Flannery is 65. Singer Lobo is 65. Actress Geraldine Chaplin is 64. Former movie studio executive Sherry Lansing is 64. Singer Gary Lewis is 63. Rock singer Bob Welch is 62. Tennis player Evonne Goolagong Cawley is 57. Actor Barry Van Dyke is 57. The mayor of Fresno, Calif., actor Alan Autry, is 56. Actor James Read is 55. Actor Michael Biehn is 52. Rock singer-musician Daniel Ash (Love and Rockets) is 51. Rock musician Bill Berry is 50. Actor Wesley Snipes is 46. Country singer Chad Brock is 45. Musician Fatboy Slim is 45. Rock musician Jim Corr is 44. Author J.K. Rowling is 43. Actor Dean Cain is 42. Actor Ben Chaplin is 39. Actor Loren Dean is 39. Actress Annie Parisse is 33. Actor Robert Telfer is 31. Actor-producer-writer B.J. Novak is 29. Actor Eric Lively is 27. Country singer Blaire Stroud (3 of Hearts) is 25. Singer Shannon Curfman is 23.

Thought for Today: "We tell our thoughts, like our children, to put on their hats and coats before they go out." — Henry Watson Fowler, English lexicographer-author (1858-1933).
Courtesy of Edwin1961 of the forums

Abstinence Education Lowers AIDs Rates

Washington, DC ( -- A new study by the United Nations makes it clear that the abstinence education message is making a clear impact in the African HIV/AIDS rates. The study shows people are engaging in casual sex less often, waiting longer to start having sex, and infection rates are dropping.

The report says that, in Zimbabwe, there has been a drop in the infection rate among pregnant women from 26% in 2002 to 18% in 2006 and that abstinence is playing a role in encouraging people to have less casual sex.

In nations like Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and others, younger people are reportedly waiting longer to begin having sex. In Cameroon, the UN study says the percentage of children under 15 having sex has dropped from 35% to 14%.

Fewer people are dying -- a decline of 200,000 from 2006-2007 -- and new infections dropped by 300,000 last year.

Abstinence for the win.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Boston Globe profiles faux-hawks

According to popular theory, parting your hair on the left reveals a tendency toward logical, left-brain thinking. Parting it on the right suggests a more artistic, intuitive bent.

But the modern man prides himself on drawing from both sides.
Just insert your own comment here.

Fire chief David Parr retires

WAKEFIELD - How do you retire from literally the only job you’ve wanted for most of your 52 years on earth?
When Wakefield native David L. Parr walks out the door of the Public Safety Building on Friday, it will officially close out a career that has spanned over 30 years along with 15 years as chief.
Parr, a 1973 graduate of Wakefield High, next week will begin a new job as a federal administrator for regional firefighting grants.
Leaving the Crescent Street station won’t be an easy task. A sometimes emotional Parr recently talked about the fires he fought, the people he’s served, the men and women he has led in a career that really started when he was just a teen.
“Being on the fire department was the only thing I ever wanted to do since I was a little kid. I’ve really lived the dream,” he candidly admitted.
May Mr. Parr enjoy his retirement as much as he's enjoyed the last half-decade.

Red Sox Trade Manny To Marlins For Pirate's Bay

BOSTON - The Red Sox, Marlins, and Pirates have agreed to a trade that will send Red Sox star outfielder Manny Ramirez to the Florida Marlins. In exchange for Ramirez, the Red Sox will receive outfielder Jason Bay and relief pitcher John Grabow from the Pirates. The Pirates will acquire pitcher Jeremy Hermeida and a prospect from the Marlins and a prospect from the Red Sox. In addition to Ramirez, the Marlins will receive cash and a prospect from the Red Sox. - New England Sports News Media
Bay is having a solid season as he has hit 22 homeruns and has driven in 64 RBI all while hitting for a .282 average.

Update: Even though the teams have agreed (according to a few published accounts) to this trade, it will not be made official until later on Thursday. According to Peter Gammons, all three teams need to figure out exactly which prospects to involve.

Update #2: The Palm Beach Post is reporting that the deal has been agreed upon by the three teams. All this according to an American League scout.

Research Confirms Giant Lake On Titan

A giant, glassy lake larger than North America's Lake Ontario graces the south pole of Saturn's largest moon Titan, new research confirms.

"This is the first observation that really pins down that Titan has a surface lake filled with liquid," said lead researcher Robert Brown of the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson.

Called Ontario Lacus, the lake extends 150 miles (235 kilometers) and covers an area of about 7,800 square miles (20,000 square kilometers). The lake structure is filled mostly with methane and ethane, hydrocarbons that are gases on Earth but liquid on the bone-chilling surface of Titan. -

Does this mean anything? No. Who cares about space? Let's just worry about Earth for now.

U.S Soldier Death Rate Drops

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The number of U.S. soldiers killed in combat in Iraq has dropped sharply this month, putting July on track to have the lowest casualties for the military since the U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003.

Five U.S. soldiers have been killed in combat in Iraq so far in July compared to 66 in the same month last year, according to the independent Web site, which keeps records of U.S. military casualties in the conflict.

The drop underscores the dramatic fall in violence in Iraq to lows not seen since early 2004.
If you want to win a war, your side should have less casualties than the other. The U.S knows this and is, by Associated Press accounts, in fact winning. Could this be because there are less troops in Iraq now than there were in 2007? Probably.

China Is Racist

Hong Kong's English newspaper The South China Morning Post reported Friday that Chinese authorities have issued a secret ban on blacks, Mongolians and other "social undesirables" from Beijing's bars during the Olympics.

As the content on South China Morning Post's site is for subscribers only, here is an excerpt of the article c/o the Beijing drinking blog Beijing Boyce:

Beijing authorities are secretly planning to ban black people and others it considers social undesirables from entering the city's bars during the Olympic Games, a move that would contradict the official slogan, "One World, One Dream".

Bar owners near the Workers' Stadium in central Beijing say they have been forced by Public Security Bureau officials to sign pledges agreeing not to let black people enter their premises.... - The Huffington Post

The most twisted Olympic games in years? You bet.

Marijuana Decriminalization Proposed!

The U.S. should stop arresting responsible marijuana users, Rep. Barney Frank said Wednesday, announcing a proposal to end federal penalties for Americans carrying fewer than 100 grams, almost a quarter-pound, of the substance.

Current laws targeting marijuana users place undue burdens on law enforcement resources, punish ill Americans whose doctors have prescribed the substance and unfairly affect African-Americans, Frank said, flanked by legislators and representatives from advocacy groups.

"The vast amount of human activity ought to be none of the government's business," Frank said during a Capitol Hill news conference. "I don't think it is the government's business to tell you how to spend your leisure time." - CNN
As much as I hate your politics, Barney, you have done good here. Marijuana decriminalization, as I've said before, is a human right.

Out-Of-State Homo Marriage

Boston, Jul. 29, 2008 ( - The Massachusetts legislature has approved legislation that would allow same-sex couples from other states to be married in Massachusetts.

By a landslide vote of 118- 35, the lower house of the Massachusetts legislature passed a measure that would repeal a law prohibiting the marriage of couples whose union could not be legally recognized in their own home states.

The legislation had already gained approval in the state senate, in a voice vote without any objection. Governor Deval Patrick has said that he will sign the bill, making Massachusetts a destination for marriage-minded homosexuals.
Further proving that Patrick hasn't done any good things for the state...

WHS Football Training Camp Preview

Quarterbacks: Nick Dettorre, John Amentola, Tyler McGrail, Sajan Thakkar, Zach Duffy
Comments: All five are talented, but none have the size and arm of 2008 graduate Brian Millea. Dettorre, Amentola, and Thakkar might get the first looks because they are seniors but Duffy is a better athlete than the three of them. McGrail's status is uncertain considering he is coming off a leg injury sustained last fall.

Tailbacks: Mike McLaughlin, Rob Smith, Martin Hyppolite, Zach Boyages, Nick Haley, Mike Treacy
Comments: Hyppolite is coming off a 1,000 yard season as a junior. He is one of the Middlesex League's best offensive talents and is projected as a strong Division 1 player in college. Boyages and Smith were given a few touches last fall and may make for solid back-ups behind Hyppolite.

Fullbacks: Matt Riley, Stan Misiano, Chris Pizano, Mike Holler, Jason Federico
Comments: One of the weakest positions for the Warriors is fullback. With a load of inexperience including three juniors with only JV experience, the Warriors will most likely turn to Federico, an undersized but strong bruiser. Riley is one of the toughest players on the squad and could also be looked at to plow the way for Hyppolite.

Split-Ends: Joe Grondin, Shane Taylor, Connor Nixon, Tyler Popp, Mike Fiore, Dave DellaRocco, Mike Noonan, Chris Glynn, Brian Coullahan, John Fox, Jack Severt, Zach Sallese, Jebson Dorgilus, Josh Latham, Caio Pacheco, Matt Lincoff
Comments: Although there are a wealth of split-ends on the roster, the Warriors have a pretty good idea who will be the significant contributors in 2008. As a sophomore, Taylor started at receiver and was arguably the best one the team had. DellaRocco, standing at 6'3, is one of the tallest receivers in the league. He is the ideal big target, but he must continue to work on limiting drops. Sallese is another player who got considerable varsity experience in 2007. He plays his position very similar to DellaRocco.

Tightends: Ray Elcewicz, Jamie Roche, Joe Keegan, Mike Reynolds
Comments: Elcewicz is gigantic (6'6/220 lbs) meaning that he could probably manhandle any defensive end or linebacker that gets in his way. As a blocker, you couldn't ask for more. Reynolds is more of a crafty option who has very good hands and athletic ability.

Offensive Lineman: Justin Perry, Chris Annetti, Matt Manfredi, Shawn Conway, Dave Callahan, Tom Dorney, Pat Holleran, Jon Puccio, Jake McCarthy, Andrew Fallon, Tom Rea, George Kopanas, Jeff Sacco, Dan Tartarino, Chris Garabedian, John Carano, Mike Hubbard
Comments: Who is going to block for Hyppolite? These guys. It is unfortunate that one of the league's best players (Hyppolite) doesn't have all-league protectors. Perry, Conway, Callahan, and Sacco are almost sure bets to start. The two players here to keep an eye on are Conway, a tri-captain and Sacco, a participant in combines. Still, none of them are as high profile as the 2006 offensive line which paved the way for all-scholastic rusher Shane Brown. That team featured the likes of Evan Wattles (arguably the most talented player on the team), Brandon Flanagan (Buffalo), Paul Seabury, Mike Gurdjian, and Mike Carlin (Endicott).

Next up: Defense

Chris DeCarlo MIA

He didn't do his Daily Recommendations for July 29 and he wasn't online on July 29 -- two things he always gets to. If anybody has any information on his whereabouts please leave a comment!

This Day In History: July 30

Today's Highlight in History:
On July 30, 1945, during World War II, the battle cruiser USS Indianapolis, which had just delivered components for the atomic bomb that would be dropped on Hiroshima, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine; only 316 out of some 1,200 men survived the sinking and shark-infested waters.

On this date:
In 1619, the first representative assembly in America convened in Jamestown, Va.

In 1729, the city of Baltimore was founded.

In 1792, the French national anthem "La Marseillaise," by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, was first sung in Paris by troops arriving from Marseille.

In 1864, during the Civil War, Union forces tried to take Petersburg, Va., by exploding a gunpowder-filled mine under Confederate defense lines; the attack failed.

In 1908, the first round-the-world automobile race, which had begun in New York in February, ended in Paris with the drivers of the American car, a Thomas Flyer, declared the winners over teams from Germany and Italy.

In 1918, poet Joyce Kilmer, a sergeant in the 165th U.S. Infantry Regiment, was killed during the Second Battle of the Marne in World War I. (Kilmer is perhaps best remembered for his poem "Trees.")

In 1932, the Summer Olympic Games opened in Los Angeles.

In 1942, President Roosevelt signed a bill creating a women's auxiliary agency in the Navy known as "Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service" — WAVES for short.

In 1965, President Johnson signed into law the Medicare bill, which went into effect the following year.

In 1975, former Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa disappeared in suburban Detroit — although presumed dead, his remains have never been found.

Ten years ago: Japan's Parliament declared Keizo Obuchi the country's next prime minister. "Buffalo Bob" Smith, the cowboy-suited host of "The Howdy Doody Show," died in Hendersonville, N.C., at age 80. A group of 13 Ohio machinists stepped forward to claim the $295.7 million Powerball jackpot. (The workers opted to take the cash option — one payment of about $161.5 million.)

Five years ago: In his State of the Union address, President Bush took personal responsibility for the first time for using disputed intelligence, but predicted he would be vindicated for going to war against Iraq. Iraq's U.S.-picked interim government named its first president: Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shiite Muslim from a party banned by Saddam Hussein. Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, who discovered Elvis Presley, died in Memphis, Tenn., at age 80.

One year ago: President Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, meeting at Camp David, forged a unified stand on Iraq. Chief U.S. Justice John Roberts was taken to a hospital after a seizure caused him to fall on a dock near his summer home in Maine. A second South Korean hostage was slain by the Taliban in central Afghanistan. Death claimed Swedish movie director Ingmar Bergman at age 87; Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni at age 94; and Hall of Fame football coach Bill Walsh at age 75.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Richard Johnson is 81. Actor Edd "Kookie" Byrnes is 75. Blues musician Buddy Guy is 72. Movie director Peter Bogdanovich is 69. Feminist activist Eleanor Smeal is 69. Former U.S. Rep. Patricia Schroeder, D-Colo., is 68. Singer Paul Anka is 67. Jazz musician David Sanborn is 63. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is 61. Actor William Atherton is 61. Actor Jean Reno is 60. Blues singer-musician Otis Taylor is 60. Actor Frank Stallone is 58. Actor Ken Olin is 54. Actress Delta Burke is 52. Singer-songwriter Kate Bush is 50. Country singer Neal McCoy is 50. Actor Richard Burgi is 50. Director Richard Linklater is 48. Actor Laurence Fishburne is 47. Actress Lisa Kudrow is 45. Bluegrass musician Danny Roberts (The Grascals) is 45. Country musician Dwayne O'Brien is 44. Actress Vivica A. Fox is 44. Actor Terry Crews ("Everybody Hates Chris") is 40. Actor Simon Baker is 39. Movie director Christopher Nolan is 38. Actor Tom Green is 37. Rock musician Brad Hargreaves (Third Eye Blind) is 37. Actress Christine Taylor is 37. Actor-comedian Dean Edwards is 35. Actress Hilary Swank is 34. Actress Jaime Pressly is 31. Actress Yvonne Strahovski (TV: "Chuck") is 26.

Thought for Today: "The fellow who says he'll meet you halfway usually thinks he's standing on the dividing line." — O.A. Battista, Canadian-born author-scientist
Courtesy of Edwin1961 at the forums

Fried Chicken

I've never seen anyone happier to find KFC!

Internet Spying At Olympics

.- Although the Olympics are meant to be a time of celebration and athletic competition, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) produced evidence today that Chinese authorities are planning to spy on visitors’ internet usage.

Documents obtained by CNA from Sen. Brownback’s office, show that the Chinese Public Security Bureau (PSB) is requiring hotels to install a software program called the “Security Management System” and a hardware device, both of which will allow the PSB to monitor the use of the internet by their patrons.

Hotels and other companies who charge for internet usage were told to have the software component installed by April 28, 2008 and to have the hardware functional by July 31, 2008 or face fines from the PSB.

Those who refuse to comply with the orders will be fined $730 for individuals and $2,200 for a company. Serious violations, the notice mandating the installations warns, will result in a suspension of access to the internet or the cancellation of the company’s business license. - Catholic News Agency

Government censorship = big no no

Balloon Priest Found

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) -- DNA tests confirmed that a body found off the coast of Brazil is that of a priest who disappeared while flying over the Atlantic buoyed by hundreds of brightly colored party balloons, authorities said Tuesday.

De Carli prepares for his flight. He wanted to build a rest stop and worship center for truckers.

The Rev. Adelir Antonio de Carli set off from the Brazilian port city of Paranagua on April 20 strapped to 1,000 helium-filled balloons in an attempt to raise money to build a rest stop and worship center for truckers.

But the 41-year-old Roman Catholic priest soon lost contact with his ground team, and the cluster of yellow, orange, pink and white balloons was found in the water a day later.

Tugboat workers discovered a body off Rio de Janeiro in early July that authorities believed belonged to the cleric.

Medical examiner worker Rosane Alves said Tuesday that tests comparing DNA samples from de Carli's brother to the body confirmed their suspicions.
One must wonder: what the _______ was Father thinking?

My High School Adventures

Walden Update for all interested and uninterested

As you should know if you do not know, I emailed Ms. Tinker regarding my idea for the Walden project. Turns out that my facts were not straight about something: 45 pages, not 90; but that is still a 1:6 journal to text ratio. Ms. Tinker actually approved of my idea for one massive entry, which I will write on Saturday/Sunday. This is how the journal will be set up:

Chapter 0: A Note to the Reader ~ 3 pg

  • My introductory chapter will remind readers of the setup of this journal and briefly describe each chapter. Moreover, it will discuss the time it took for reflection and how long it took to read the book.
Chapter 1: Concerning the Teachings of Thoreau in Walden ~ 10 pg
  • This chapter will talk about Thoreau's life using the text Walden to evaluate his behavior; no outside sources will be used for this. I will attempt to explain what I think is right and wrong with the actual text of Walden.
Chapter 2: An Account of Thoreau's Life on Walden Pond from Various Sources ~ 7pg
  • After documenting my thoughts on Thoreau's lifestyle by means of the book Walden, I will further validate my arguments through use of other sources. Said sources will validate my arguments, and show the nature of Thoreau's actual life, not the one that he describes in his book.
Chapter 3: An Evaluation of the Teachings in Walden ~ 10 pg
  • In this section, I will basically set up an argument with myself, attempting to determine whether Thoreau was consistent with what he did in the book, or if the book itself was not consistent. From the side that I chose to finally believe, I will endeavor to explain why he was either consistent or inconsistent throughout the book and his actual lifestyle. This section will also allow me to reflect again on whether I actually agreed or disagreed with the teachings in the book.
Chapter 4: An Analysis of the Reasoning of Thoreau's Ideas Expressed through Walden ~ 15 pg
  • I will devote this chapter to a psychoanalysis of Thoreau and also an anaysis of the text of Walden. In it, I will attempt to discover why Thoreau wrote the novel the way he did and what truly shaped his thought process expressed in the text.
What do you know...45 pages! At least this will let me reread Walden in one sitting and do all of the journal entries at once. Thank the lord for email.

P.S. I will be posting the journal when I am finished for all eager readers...which will be slim at best >-(

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

House Apologizes For Slavery

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a resolution apologizing to African-Americans for slavery and the era of Jim Crow. The House on Tuesday evening passed a resolution apologizing for slavery and Jim Crow laws.
The nonbinding resolution, which passed on a voice vote, was introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen, a white lawmaker who represents a majority black district in Memphis, Tennessee.
While many states have apologized for slavery, it is the first time a branch of the federal government has done so, an aide to Cohen said.
In passing the resolution, the House also acknowledged the "injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow."
"Jim Crow," or Jim Crow laws, were state and local laws enacted mostly in the Southern and border states of the United States between the 1870s and 1965, when African-Americans were denied the right to vote and other civil liberties and were legally segregated from whites.

Lincoln apologized best in his second inaugural address:
If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

U.S To Enter POHA In August

Government officials have been quietly stepping up counterterror efforts out of a growing concern that al Qaeda or similar organizations might try to capitalize on the spate of extremely high-profile events in the coming months, sources tell ABC News.

Security experts point to next month's Olympics as evidence that high-profile events attract threats of terrorism, like the one issued this past weekend by a Chinese Muslim minority group that warned of its intent to attack the Games.

Anti-terror officials in the U.S. cite this summer and fall's lineup of two major political parties' conventions, November's general election and months of transition into a new presidential administration as cause for heightened awareness and action.

This is what the Department of Homeland Security is quietly declaring a Period of Heightened Alert, or POHA, a time frame when terrorists may have more incentive to attack.

According to drafts of government memos described to ABC News, the period would run roughly from this August through July 2009. - ABC News

Get scared, America!

You Don't Need To Be Mogni To Figure...

This out:

50 Killed, 250 Wounded In Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Three female suicide bombers killed 28 people and wounded 92 when they blew themselves up among Shi'ites walking through the streets of Baghdad on a religious pilgrimage on Monday, Iraqi police said.

In the northern oil city of Kirkuk a suicide bomber killed 22 people and wounded 150 at a protest against a disputed local elections law, Iraqi health and security officials said. One security official said the bomber may also have been a woman.

The attacks mark one of the bloodiest days in Iraq in months and underscored the fragility of recent security gains in the country, where violence is at its lowest level since early 2004.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Baghdad blasts but Sunni Islamist al Qaeda often targets Shi'ite pilgrims. It considers Shi'ism -- the majority Muslim denomination in Iraq -- heretical.

Can we please just give sectarian violence a much needed day off?

Bush Approves Execution

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush has approved the Army's request to execute a soldier convicted of rape and murder, the White House announced Monday evening.

Pvt. Ronald Gray, seen here in 1988, has been on the military's death row for 20 years.

Pvt. Ronald Gray has been on the military's death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, since 1988. His execution would be the first for the U.S. military since 1961, but the White House said it expects further appeals before the sentence is carried out.

"While approving a sentence of death for a member of our armed services is a serious and difficult decision for a commander-in-chief, the president believes the facts of this case leave no doubt that the sentence is just and warranted," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

Gray was convicted of raping and killing a female Army private and a civilian near his post at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was also convicted of the rape and attempted murder of another fellow soldier in her barracks at Fort Bragg.

Does he deserve to die? Probably not.

Picking the President: Diplomacy

John McCain

  • Create a "League of Democracies"
  • Use pressure, not talks, to deal with some nations
  • Reduce nukes, but keep enough to deter attacks
  • China is a competitor, expel Russia from G8
  • Keep embargo and travel restrictions on Cuba
  • Pressure U.N. to deploy peacekeepers to Darfur

Barack Obama
  • Increase U.S. involvement in U.N. and NATO
  • Talk to any head of state without preconditions
  • Work toward world without nuclear weapons
  • China is a competitor, do not expel Russia from G8
  • Lift restrictions on family travel to Cuba
  • Pressure U.N. to deploy peacekeepers to Darfur

Point to Obama, who kicks McCain's ass at this "diplomacy" thing. I mean, a peaceful solution to problems? I don't think McCain thinks that's possible.

Iraq update

WASHINGTON, July 29 (Xinhua) -- For the first time, U.S. Republican presidential hopeful John McCain left the door open on the issue of whether the country should set a timetable to withdraw troops from Iraq.

THERE ya go!

Darfur update

CAIRO, July 29 (Xinhua) -- A senior official of the Cairo-based Arab League (AL) on Tuesday welcomed the efforts of the Sudanese government exerted to solve the crisis in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, the Egyptian MENA news agency reported.

Sudan is committed to enacting new laws soon "to guarantee thatcrimes of genocide, ethnic purging and war crimes be enumerated in the Sudanese civilian penal code so that their perpetrators could be punished by law," Hosni said.

Foreclosure-plagued cities gain sales

Do any of our readers work in real estate?

June homes sales increased in Massachusetts communities that have been slammed by foreclosures, bucking the statewide trend of declining sales.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fitzpatrick jury selection begins

A month and a week after the Graveside case closed, a Woburn court has begun work on another Wakefield-related crime.

WOBURN - Jury selection in the Sean Fitzpatrick murder trial was scheduled to begin today in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn. The Freedom, N.H., man is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the March 2006 shooting deaths of company president Michael Zammitti Jr., 39, and employee Chester Roberts, 51, at the Allstate Concrete Pumping Company on New Salem Street and one count of possessing a gun without a license.
Let's see some more justice.

CD Review: We Are In Love

1) We Are In Love
2) Only 'Cause I Don't Have You
3) Recipe For Love
4) Drifting
5) Forever, For Now
6) A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square
7) Heavenly
8) Just A Boy
9) I've Got A Great Idea
10) I'll Dream Of You Again
11) It's Alright With Me
12) Buried In Blue
Harry Connick, Jr. knows how to keep a great style alive. His 1990 album We Are In Love pays tribute to the standards with new songs written with the same spirit, but do not simply imitate the classics. That doesn't stop his covers of "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square" and "It's Alright With Me" from fitting right in.
Those two are among the tracks where Connick's vocals and piano are supplemented only by a rhythm section. "It's Alright With Me" features a lengthy solo section in the true jazz spirit. Connick, bassist Benjamin Jonah Wolfe, drummer Shannon Powell, and guitarist Russell Malone all shine.
The title track opens the disc with a bang. Connick sings over an orchestral arrangement rivaling the best of Gordon Jenkins and Nelson Riddle. The flawless switch from swing to Latin in the middle of that song was an unexpected touch.
"Recipe for Love" is a classic limerick with another swinging arrangement Sinatra literally would have killed for - he had connections. He also would have loved to record "Drifting", a beautiful ballad crooned over a gorgeous string backing. Connick does big band every bit as well as Sinatra, Duke, and Basie.
We Are In Love honors love songs better than Rod Stewart's latest cover album ever could.  It proves that great music is timeless.  Kudos to Connick for being the best crooner of our generation.
***** out of five

Concert Review: George Michael

Venue: TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, MA
A few songs into his show, George Michael remarked, "I know a lot of single guys won't tell anyone they were here."  Fortunately, he put on a great show that anyone present should spread the word of.  He performed a quality selection from his 25 years in the biz, full of catchy dance songs and surprising ballads, and his singing was fantastic.
Highlights included an early song from the Wham! days, "I'm Your Man", that recalls the golden age of Motown.  Then there was the gospel-tinged ballad "Father Figure", the Elvis throwback "Faith", and a fantastic jazz version of "Roxanne".  George followed the classic cover with another smoky jazz song, his late 80s composition "Kissing a Fool".
Many of George's fans are, like him, openly gay, and many moments of the show celebrated homosexuality.  I felt more like a party crasher than a rabbi in Mecca, though.  He remarked that "Flawless" may be "the gayest song of the night", but I think that honor goes to "Outside", his disco song poking fun at the embarrassing incident that outed him.
The smooth jazz of "Careless Whisper" would have been a fine finale, since it was the only song not accompanied by videos on the huge screens that defined the stage.  The souped-up screen savers and music videos threatened to turn this concert into a movie, especially when credits rolled at the end.  Nevertheless, George and his magic screens returned for a more fitting closer, the upbeat anthem "Freedom! '90".
This might be George's last tour, so see him while you can.  Hope you like disco and its post-70s equivalents.  And if you have something against gays...what's wrong with you?

Daily Recommendations

Quote of the day: "There are three side effects of acid: enhanced long-term memory, decreased short-term memory, and I forget the third." Timothy Leary-

Song of the day: "Red Head Walking" by Beat Happening-

Film of the day: Detroit Rock City (1999)-

Artist(s) of the day: The Everly Brothers-

Book of the day: Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azzerad-

Sacred Cow of the day: Ken Kesey-

W. - An Oliver Stone Movie

Looks like it has potential...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Haziness In China

As in the past four days, a heavy haze hung over Beijing Sunday, cutting visibility to a quarter mile.
Eleven days before the Games open, pollution levels exceeding China’s official standards are continuing to cause Olympic organizers concern. With Beijing’s air quality expected to be a key element in the Games’ success, time is running short.
Conditions are “not good,” the deputy head of Beijing’s Environmental Protection Bureau, Du Shaozhong, said Friday. To ensure progress “we will have to keep taking the measures that have been put into place.” Weather factors in, too, he added.
Tough steps implemented since June are bearing fruit, and “we are confident of fulfilling the commitments we have made to the international community,” the deputy head of Beijing’s municipal government, Li Wei, told reporters Friday.
Doubts persist, however. “The reality is that the air is still awful,” says Steven Andrews, an environmental consultant who has studied Beijing’s pollution statistics over several years. The official records include “manipulated data” to show progress, he charges. - Christian Science Monitor

Blame the sweatshops and factories.

Daily Recommendations

Quote of the day: "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." Noam Chomsky-

Song of the day: "Shoplifters of the World Unite" (1987) by The Smiths-

Film of the day: Stand By Me (1986)-

Artist(s) of the day: Big Black-

Book of the day: Heavier Than Heaven by Charles R. Cross (2001)-

Sacred Cow of the day- Daniel Johnston-

Catholics Ask Pope To Lift Ban

ROME, July 25 (Reuters) - More than 50 dissident Catholic groups published an unusually frank open letter to Pope Benedict on Friday saying the Church's ban on contraception has been "catastrophic" and urging him to lift it.

The letter was published as a paid half-page advertisement in Corriere della Sera, Italy's largest newspaper, on the 40th anniversary of the late Pope Paul VI's controversial encyclical "Humanae Vitae," which enshrined the ban.

While criticism of the Vatican and its views is fairly common in articles and editorials in Italian newspapers, it is unusual for a group to take out paid advertising against the pope, particularly in a large-circulation mainstream newspaper.

The letter, written in Italian, said the Church's anti-contraception policy "has had a catastrophic impact on the poor and powerless around the world, endangering women's lives and leaving millions at risk of HIV." - Reuters
I'm sure there is even more of an outcry here in the U.S

Separatists Threaten Olympics

A Muslim separatist group yesterday claimed responsibility for a series of fatal explosions in several Chinese cities and threatened to target the Olympic Games, due to begin on 8 August.

Chinese officials dismissed video statements by spokesmen claiming to represent the little-known Turkestan Islamic Party, who warned that they would attack next month's Games and said they were to blame for the previous blasts. A US terrorism-monitoring firm published a transcript of their video.

The Chinese authorities have repeatedly alleged that extremists from the restive northwestern region of Xinjiang - known as East Turkestan by separatists among the Uighur Muslim population - were targeting the Olympics. Officials have blamed the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and, more recently, Hizb ut-Tahrir for plots. The AFP news agency quoted intelligence analysts Stratfor as saying the Turkestan Islamic Party was another name for ETIM. - Guuardian

In response, China has set up a 100,000 man anti-terrorist team.

AP Says U.S Winning Iraq War

BAGHDAD (AP) — The United States is now winning the war that two years ago seemed lost.

Limited, sometimes sharp fighting and periodic terrorist bombings in Iraq are likely to continue, possibly for years. But the Iraqi government and the U.S. now are able to shift focus from mainly combat to mainly building the fragile beginnings of peace — a transition that many found almost unthinkable as recently as one year ago.

Despite the occasional bursts of violence, Iraq has reached the point where the insurgents, who once controlled whole cities, no longer have the clout to threaten the viability of the central government.

That does not mean the war has ended or that U.S. troops have no role in Iraq. It means the combat phase finally is ending, years past the time when President Bush optimistically declared it had. The new phase focuses on training the Iraqi army and police, restraining the flow of illicit weaponry from Iran, supporting closer links between Baghdad and local governments, pushing the integration of former insurgents into legitimate government jobs and assisting in rebuilding the economy.

Scattered battles go on, especially against al-Qaida holdouts north of Baghdad. But organized resistance, with the steady drumbeat of bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and ambushes that once rocked the capital daily, has all but ceased. - The Associated Press

It's still not a matter of winning or losing -- it is about what the Iraqi people want. Refer to Noam Chomsky for more.

Population Control Propaganda

Click on the image to see the full-size version. This comes from Readers of the Nation, a left leaning magazine.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Walden (+Project) Sucks - Here's Why - And Here is my Solution

If you can talk about food in a book about food for about 30 pages and still go strong, you may qualify for the definition of mentally insane. I'm sure any incoming junior and senior that takes/has taken Honors English 11 will know about this book. Many define it as socialism, but in socialism the people voluntarily work for the greater good of the community, acting as one entity that helps eachother to fuel society. We all can agree that socialism, although quite the utopian ideal, is quite unrealistic. Humans do not have the programming to work together as equals, for not all humans are equals. Some are smarter than others, some are stronger, and some are less corrupt.

Instead of promoting socialism, Thoreau's "teachings" verge on anarchism. He encourages that people stop working for society to better themselves within the community, and further goes on to say how anything past minimal living is, without going further into an analysis of the book, evil. If everyone decided one day that they would not contribute to society and only care about themselves, the medical fields would not be advanced. Food would not be cultivated fast enough to supply for the mass of people. Sure, it would be ideal for everyone to grow their own crops and hunt their own meat, but unrealist, due to the fact that humans work good in groups with specialization. Instead of specializing to help the community, he advocates every man for himself, enjoying himself without regard for other people. Moreover, without such specialization and group cooperation that drives society and makes everyday life easier, there would be no government at all. If someone found enjoyment in arson, they could burn down houses as they pleased. If they liked another person, since theres no government or rules they could just very well...well, you get the point.

Opinions aside, anyone who has taken Honors English knows about the journal that is needed for Walden. That is 90 pages worth of analysis on the book, about 1:3 ratio. Absolute fail. Now, in the directions, it says to fill the entire journal, and recommends that you read 10 pages a day. That would mean about 3 1/3 pages per every 10 pages if we are to go by the ratio. I find that....unrealistic. Furthermore, the chapters are not very uniform in length, so that leaves reflections at odd times. Wouldn't it be better just to read the entire book all at once? However, that poses another problem: How can I do all of those reflections if I do the entire book all at once?

I have come up with a logical solution to this dilemma: I will read the book at once in a day, then do a near 100 page reflection/psychoanalysis on Thoreau, his methods, and why he advocates what he does. Not only will I refer back to the text, but I will also use outside sources. It will be so epic that she won't even read it, she will just look at all the footnotes and passages, and see how intense this was that I will get an A for Term 1. I will be posting the book when I am done with it, that is, my book. I do need a title though...which I'm thinking would be "On the Account of the Psychoanalysis of Thoreau through use of the textual references of Walden and others which concern it"

This Day In History: July 26

Today's Highlight in History:
On July 26, 1908, U.S. Attorney General Charles J. Bonaparte issued an order creating a force of special agents that was a forerunner of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On this date:
In 1775, Benjamin Franklin became Postmaster-General.

In 1788, New York became the 11th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1856, playwright Bernard Shaw was born in Dublin, Ireland.

In 1945, Winston Churchill resigned as Britain's prime minister after his Conservatives were soundly defeated by the Labour Party. (Clement Attlee became the new prime minister.)

In 1947, President Truman signed the National Security Act.

In 1952, Argentina's first lady, Eva Peron, died in Buenos Aires at age 33.

In 1956, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal.

In 1958, Britain's Prince Charles, age 9, was made the Prince of Wales by his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, although his investiture did not take place until the following year.

In 1971, Apollo 15 was launched from Cape Kennedy, Fla.

In 1986, kidnappers in Lebanon released the Rev. Lawrence Martin Jenco, an American hostage held for nearly 19 months.

Ten years ago: The White House said President Clinton's lawyers were working with prosecutor Kenneth Starr to avert Clinton's direct testimony to a grand jury about the Monica Lewinsky case. (The president ended up testifying via closed-circuit television.) AT&T and British Telecommunications PLC announced they were forming a joint venture that would combine their international operations and develop a new Internet system. (The joint venture, known as Concert, proved a money-loser and was shut down.)

Five years ago: Backers of a drive to oust California Gov. Gray Davis held a boisterous celebration at the state Capitol in Sacramento, more than two months before the Oct. 7 recall election. Cuba celebrated the 50th anniversary of the start of Fidel Castro's revolution against Fulgencio Batista. New York Times music critic Harold C. Schonberg died in New York at age 87.

One year ago: The Senate passed, 85-8, a measure intensifying anti-terror efforts in the U.S. Wall Street suffered one of its worst losses of 2007, closing down more than 310 points.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Marjorie Lord is 90. Movie director Blake Edwards is 86. Actor James Best is 82. Rhythm-and-blues singer-songwriter Bobby Hebb is 70. Singer Dobie Gray is 68. Actress-singer Darlene Love is 67. Singer Brenton Wood is 67. Rock star Mick Jagger is 65. Movie director Peter Hyams is 65. Actress Helen Mirren is 63. Rock musician Roger Taylor (Queen) is 59. Actress Susan George is 58. Actor Kevin Spacey is 49. Rock singer Gary Cherone is 47. Actress Sandra Bullock is 44. Rock singer Jim Lindberg (Pennywise) is 43. Actor Jeremy Piven is 43. Rapper-reggae singer Wayne Wonder is 42. Actor Cress Williams is 38. Actress Kate Beckinsale is 35. Rock musician Dan Konopka (OK Go) is 34. Gospel/Contemporary Christian singer Rebecca St. James is 31. Christian rock musician Jamie Sharpe (Rush of Fools) is 19.

Thought for Today: "One brave deed makes no hero." — John Greenleaf Whittier, American poet and essayist (1807-1892).
Courtesy of Edwin1961 of the forums

Federal Minimum Wage Raised

WASHINGTON (AP) — About 2 million Americans get a raise Thursday as the federal minimum wage rises 70 cents. The bad news: Higher gas and food prices are swallowing it up, and some small businesses will pass the cost of the wage hike to consumers.

The increase, from $5.85 to $6.55 per hour, is the second of three annual increases required by a 2007 law. Next year's boost will bring the federal minimum to $7.25 an hour.

Workers like Walter Jasper, who earns minimum wage at a car wash in Nashville, Tenn., are happy to take the raise, but will still struggle with the higher gas and food prices hammering Americans.

"It will help out a little," said Jasper, who with his fiancee support a family of seven, and who earns the minimum plus commissions when customers order premium car-wash services.

The bus fare he pays each day to get to work already went up to $4.80 this spring from $4. "I'd like to be on a job where I can at least get a car," he said.

Last week, the Labor Department reported the fastest inflation since 1991 — 5 percent for June compared with a year earlier. Energy costs soared nearly 25 percent. The price of food rose more than 5 percent. - Associated Press

$6.55 is unjust; $9.00 is more like it.

This Week in É: July 18-26, 2008

We've spent this week preparing for the big re-launch on September 1. É2.0 will take much more than six people to run, so we need all the help we can get. More details here.
Meanwhile, I've finally joined Glen and Chris in their video series, talking about a recent show and loudly covering favorite songs. We welcomed our promising new writer, Cameron Williams. Follow his lead and join the revolution!

Daily Recommendations

Quote of the day: "Regulation and control is always better than prohibition," Judge James Gray-

Song of the day: "MTV Get Off the Air" by the Dead Kennedys (1985)-

Film of the day: Alice in Wonderland (1951)-

Artist(s) of the day- Leonard Cohen-

Book of the day: A Clockwork Orange (1962) by Anthony Burgess-,24459,a_clockwork_orange,00.html

Sacred Cow of the day: John Locke-

Wanna write for us?

Hey, you! Yeah, you. You seem to like what you see here.

Why don't you email me - or Glen - - so we can sign you up and you can start posting, just like us? You can write whatever you want. Better, you can write for the Étudiant when it re-launches on September 1...but sign up sometime before then!

The new version of this site that will debut that day will be bigger and better, but we need your help to make it happen. Articles, commentary, pictures, and videos of any topic are welcome, especially if they're of the following:

- W.H.S. Sports - Are YOU a Super Fan? We're looking to expand our coverage of the Warriors and their many sports.

- Boston Sports - NESportsNews will finally return as part of the re-launched Étudiant, so we're looking for dedicated sports writers to help us follow the Celtics, Sox, and Patriots.

- Tech - Keeping track of the latest computers, music players, consoles, and P.D.A.s? Did you wait in line so you'd be one of the first to OWN one of those? Good. Write for us.

- Political Opinion Pieces - Whether you're a liberal, conservative, or anything in between, everyone has a different idea about how to improve our world. No matter what your views, the Étudiant is the perfect place to speak your mind.

So, hit us up at or to become an Étudiant! Write about what you love, whatever that may be. Mahalo...oh, and...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Writer Spotlight: Cameron Williams

Name: Cameron Williams
Grade: Junior ( Class of '10 )
Age: 17
Writing Style: Opinionated
Writing Topics: Opinion, Unless needed for anything else
Political Leanings: Moderate
Fun Fact #1: Plays football for El Camino High School.
Fun Fact #2: Has a minor form of Autism.
Fun Fact #3: Holds a 3.0 grade point average.
Fun Fact #4: Wants to Major in Economics and Sports management.
Fun Fact #5: Likes music like Breaking Benjamin and Linkin Park.
Fun Fact #6: Has made a football playbook.
Fun Fact #7: Is looking for the love of my life.
Fun Fact #8: Has a dead twin during birth.
Fun Fact #9: Is taking AP Physics
Fun Fact #10: Is a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Randy Pausch Dies

Randy Pausch, a terminally ill professor whose earnest farewell lecture at Carnegie Mellon University became an Internet phenomenon and bestselling book that turned him into a symbol for living and dying well, died Friday. He was 47.

Pausch, a computer science professor and virtual-reality pioneer, died at his home in Chesapeake, Va., of complications from pancreatic cancer, the Pittsburgh university announced.

When Pausch agreed to give the talk, he was participating in a long-standing academic tradition that calls on professors to share their wisdom in a theoretical "last lecture." A month before the speech, the 46-year-old Pausch was told he had only months to live, a prognosis that heightened the poignancy of his address.

Originally delivered last September to about 400 students and colleagues, his message about how to make the most of life has been viewed by millions on the Internet. Pausch gave an abbreviated version of it on "Oprah" and expanded it into a best-selling book, "The Last Lecture," released in April. - Chicago Tribune
He lived much longer than expected, but still too short a life. I posted his last lecture in June.

Songs of the Week

00s- Black Lips- Dirty Hands (2007)

90s- Rollins Band- Liar (1994)

80s- Public Enemy- Fight the Power (1989)

70s- The Stooges- Search and Destroy (1973)

60s- Grateful Dead- China Cat Sunflower (1969)

50s- Hank Williams- I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive (1952)

Why You Shouldn't Vote For Obama

1) Education - Obama doesn't support education vouchers. Education vouchers, more typically called school vouchers, allow parents to choose an appropriate school (public/private/independent/parochial/etc) to send their children to. With choice, schools have an incentive to improve their educational and innovative standards. Students who can't afford private schools under our current system would be given the option of attending one. Also, racial diversity would become standard; if you look at Wakefield Public Schools you will notice that a very small amount of METCO students are allowed to enroll. More and more minorities would be welcomed at a racially homogeneous school like WHS under a school choice system.

2) Health Care - Obama is a proponent of both universal health insurance AND universal health care. Universal health insurance is a human right and should be supported by all decent human beings. Universal health care is debatable to say the very least. The myriad of arguments arguing for and against UHC give an instant headache to anyone willing to read them. I'd like to think our current system offers high quality care even if it is at a large expense. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act requires hospitals and emergency personnel to administer treatment to all regardless of one's ability to pay. In a government controlled system, there isn't a lot of incentive to improve standards.

3) Unclear Foreign Policy - Obama stated on July 15 that he hopes to bring a responsible ending to the War in Iraq. An early opponent to the war, he originally wanted troops out as soon as possible but later refined his position to pulling them all out by the summer of 2010. He also said he is open to revisiting that target once he becomes President. He also expressed interest in shifting his fighting concern to the Taliban and Afghanistan. While that might appeal to many people, it is more reasonable to not physically harm anyone.

4) Abortion - Obama almost fully (100%) supports a woman's right to an abortion. Consider this:

There is a continuous holocaust occurring in America and we the people need to stop it. America was a unanimously pro-life nation for a very long time; in fact by 1875 every state in the US of A had laws that banned abortion. Margaret Sanger, a champion of eugenics who had connections with the Nazi Party, came along in 1916 and formed the Birth Control League. The BCL is now known as Planned Parenthood. More than fifty years later in 1973, Roe Vs. Wade legalized abortion on demand. Moreover, states couldn't prohibit abortion during the first three months.

Some of you pro-death advocates might be saying "those aren't babies that are being killed, but merely tissues." Let us step backward to fertilization and see if you guys are right. Upon fertilization, the sperm and egg have already formed up to 50 sets of DNA. This DNA is a determining factor in physical characteristics, personality, and intelligence. By Day 22, the baby's heart begins to beat and by this time his brain and nervous system should be near complete. By just the fifth week, the baby has taken shape. Need I go further? The little one develops so much in the early stages that there is no doubt that he/she is more than just a "tissue."

In 40 years, from 1965-2005 more than 500,000,000 babies were killed via surgical or chemical abortion. This is not even counting the 1,000,000 that were murdered before 1965. The methods of killing the unborn are outright gruesome, but need to be described to get the point across. Prisoners on death row who are presumably guilty don't even face the pains that the innocent unborn child does. Here are a few of the methods (Source: American Life League):

Dilation and extraction (also known as D&X or partial-birth abortion): Used to kill babies well into the third trimester (as late as 32 weeks old), the abortionist reaches into the mother's womb, grabs the baby's feet with a forceps and pulls the baby out of the mother, except for the head. The abortionist then jams a pair of scissors into the back of the baby's head and spreads the scissors apart to make a hole in the baby's skull. The abortionist removes the scissors and sticks a suction tube into the skull to suck the baby's brain out. The forceps are then used to crush the baby's head and the abortionist pulls the baby's body out the rest of the way.

Prostaglandins: Used during the second and third trimester, prostaglandin abortions involve the injection of naturally produced hormones into the amniotic sac, causing violent premature labor. During these convulsions the baby is often crushed to death or is born too early to have any chance of surviving.

RU-486: RU-486 blocks the hormone that helps develop the lining of the uterus during pregnancy (progesterone). This lining is the source of nutrition and protection for the developing baby. The tiny boy or girl is starved to death and then a second drug, misoprostol, causes contractions so that the dead baby is expelled from the womb.
Let us take, for example, a woman who has just aborted her baby. She got it over with and now expects to be relieved of the hardship of bringing up a child. But wait....are the hardships really over with? Emotional symptoms of abortion include Acute grief reaction, depression, and guilt. The chance of a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer increases 140% following an abortion. If the women decides to have a pregnancy in the future following an abortion, she is 600% more likely to suffer from Placenta previa, which is extreme and life threatening bleeding.

What about the "special cases"? These include, but are not limited to: rape and incest. As Judie Brown of the American Life League put it "Killing the child doesn't solve [the mother's] problem." "What if the mother's life is......." You can stop it right there. There is no such thing as a situation in which it is necessary to kill the baby to save mother. Ever.

A culture of death has plagued America and needs to be ended. People all often too often take for granted their own life. We all were born the same way that the unborn will be born. Thus I ask: is taking away innocent life ever justifiable? In every circumstance, the answer is no.
5) Gay Marriage: Like abortion, Obama fully supports homosexual unions and marriage. Refer to this:
I hate to be the burster of bubbles, but research has suggested that Mendelian inheritance has not occurred in a family yet. Researchers who claim that you can be born gay also realize that environmental factors play a large role in determining homosexuality. Says researcher Dean Hamer of his findings: "We assumed the environment also played a role in sexual orientation, as it does in most, if not all behaviors..." (Hamer and Copeland)

Take a look at this major "twins study". Conducted by J.M Bailey and Richard Pillard, the study found that among a group of twins, 52% were found to be homosexual. In order for the genetic argument to work, 100% must be homosexual.

Also, look at transgender people. They are claiming that they were born transgender! If that isn't crazy, I really don't know what is! Transgenders and a whole bunch of other crazies (read: mentally disturbed) are pushing for rights. Pretty soon, interspecies-erotica will be legalized!

Gays today are being looked at as victims. The gay agenda is making people like me out as bad guys. Using the media and guilt, gay rights activists are portraying anti-gay rights activists as homophobic (clear example) and verbally militant.
6) Death Penalty - Here is what Obama says: "While the evidence tells me that the death penalty does little to deter crime, I believe there are some crimes — mass murder, the rape and murder of a child — so heinous that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment." Rehabilitation and forgiveness are instrumental alternatives to shutting off somebody via death. Self-defense is the only reasonable justification of killing another.

7) Civil Liberties - The ACLU, such a ridiculous and incredulous source of disinformation, gave Obama a rating of 88% in this category. Actions speak louder than words; the man failed to support two bills that would close Gitmo.

8) Embryonic Stem Cell Research - Here is what Obama said a few years ago: "Democrats want this bill to pass. Conservative, pro-life Republicans want this bill to pass. By large margins, the American people want this bill to pass. It is only the White House standing in the way of progress - standing in the way of so many potential cures." I'm neither conservative nor Republican, but I am pro-life. I don't support embryonic stem cell research and neither should you. Adult stem cells, in most cases, are just as effective/more effective than their embryonic counterparts.