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How Europeans negotiate: “Pull my finger…” “No, you pull MY finger….”

Before entering the tough Greece bailout negotiations, Sarkozy and Merkel both put on their best GW Bush face.

Journalist Abuse – Selective Memory Syndrome!

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The poor victim of this horrible ailment – Columnist Michael Crowley.

Today, at a Michelle Bachmann rally, responding to recent news that she suffers from migraines, this happened:

Bachmann said 30 million Americans suffer from migraines and that “nearly 1 in 4 American households” have a migraine sufferer. “While I appreciate the concern for myself and for my health,” she added, looking to climb back down to safer ground, “the greater concern should be the debate that is occurring today in Washington, D.C., over whether or not we will increase our debt spending and taxes.” Bachmann reiterated that she would not vote to raise the debt ceiling. And with that, she departed without taking questions.

That’s when things got interesting. Ross dashed after Bachmann, repeatedly asking whether she had ever missed a House vote due to a migraine. She ignored him. Ross pursued her into a parking area behind the stage. Her aides grew alarmed. When Ross made a beeline for the white SUV waiting to carry Bachmann away, two Bachmann men pounced on him, grabbing and pushing him multiple times with what looked to me like unusual force. In fact, I have never seen a reporter treated so roughly at a campaign event, especially not a presidential one. Ross was finally able to break away and lob his question at Bachmann one more time, but she continued to ignore him.

After the dust up with Michelle Backmann Security guards, Mr Crowley reports this:

Afterward, I asked Ross — a hard-nosed pro who nevertheless seemed slightly shaken — whether he had ever been treated so roughly. “A few times,” he told me. “Mostly by Mafia people.”

He adds:

To zoom out for a minute, what’s most interesting here isn’t Bachmann’s headaches. She’s still a long way from the nuclear football, and unless the story takes some darker turn, I don’t see why a seemingly manageable battle with migraines would be a game changer for her candidacy.

OK, then why go after her as if she has just been outed as being a pedophile (I should probably change that, as I don’t want to start a rumor the press would love to believe).

Thing is, Ross crossed a line over something so trivial as a candidate with migraines. And, for journalists, this rough treatment isn’t exactly uncharted territory. They unjustly get roughed up sometimes. Same thing happened during Joe Miller’s run for Congress.

But, you say, he’s another Rethuglican and that wasn’t Presidential.

OK. I guess Crowley and Ross probably forgot this incident, where Ross’s producer was arrested:

This was at the 2008 DEMOCRATIC Convention… Which WAS Democratic! Did Crowley write as breathlessly about this incident?

PS. A liberal friend wondered why I hate Brian Ross. I don’t have anything against Brian Ross. He’s very good at what he does. We need more people like him to hound candidates and office holders alike. But this was a mistake on his part. If it was revealed that she was a secret pedophile (I should give anyone any ideas), that would be one thing. But, if it were revealed that President Obama suffered from epileptic seizures, he responded thusly:

“Since serving as the President, I have maintained a full schedule between my duties as President and traveling across the nation to meet with voters … I have prescribed medication that I take on occasion whenever symptoms arise and they keep my seizures under control. But I’d like to be abundantly clear: My ability to function effectively will not affect my ability to serve as commander in chief.”

Then, lets say Andrew Breitbart went running after him, continuing to hound him on this matter, would you honestly be upset over Breitbart being manhandled???

The 80% Solution!

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A lot of people are wondering where exactly President Obama got his statistical figure when yesterday  he said this:

“You have 80% of the American people who support a balanced approach. 80% of the American people support an approach that includes revenues and includes cuts. So the notion that somehow the American people aren’t sold is not the problem. The problem is members of Congress are dug in ideologically.”

I found it!

It’s from this article. Money quote:

Now consider the positions of the respective parties to the negotiation. One framework that President Obama has offered, which would reduce the debt by a reported $2 trillion, contains a mix of about 17 percent tax increases to 83 percent spending cuts. Another framework, which would aim for twice the debt reduction, has been variously reported as offering a 20-to-
80
or 25-to-75 mix.

Look! The number 80 is RIGHT THERE!!!! 🙂

And Now Class, We Begin Our Lesson On Gay People In History!

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A friend on Facebook asked if I had something to say about the new law in California that requires schools to include the contributions of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender in social studies curriculum.

Yes, I have something to say.

I’m a teacher… OK, I’m a yet to be an employed teacher (2 credentials earned in 2 years), and I think this is absolutely NUTS!.

What exactly are they going to teach?

Harvey Milk?

OK. I have no problem with giving him a mention. That was a somewhat landmark election.

Stonewall Riots?

That’s already taught in the Civil Rights curriculum and was included in the text book I was using while student teaching my social sciences classes.

Are we going to be required teach that Abraham Lincoln might have been gay, even though he almost certainly wasn’t??? This is usually based on the close relationship between Abe Lincoln and Joshua Seed. There IS a great lesson here. Lincoln and Joshua Seed is a wonderful example of the changing mores as populations expand geographically and as a result of very short life expectancy. There was no problem societally of males having and expressing a platonic love for each other that had nothing to do with sexuality. In that period, you were much more isolated than you are now and the opportunity to have close friendships was a rarity. Couple that with a very short life expectancy compared to today, you told your best friend how you truly felt, because you knew that he could be wiped out by yellow fever or an infection or a fatal fall from a horse at any time. There was no shame or sexual intent when telling your best friend that you loved him. It was simply a healthy sign of true friendship. And it’s not gay.

I get really ticked off at this kind of legislation by fiat! It’s stupid! Don’t get me wrong, I like including little details about people in history so that the kids might connect with the historical figure as a human and not just some guy mentioned in a book. And I wouldn’t mind throwing sexuality into the mix IF it served a purpose to illuminate the character of the subject at hand. I could for instance mention that Ben Franklin was his generations scientist rock star. And mention that he was flirtatious with the ladies, though, like Hamilton, his rep for being a player is extremely exaggerated. History is a one big fat soap opera… Tons of Drama. If used properly, that can be used to captive the students interest.

That said, WE ONLY HAVE “X” AMOUNT OF TIME TO COVER ANY ONE SUBJECT!!!

So, I wonder, what do they want to have us throw to the curb in order to cover this new curriculum????

I am SO sick of politicians and administrator, many of whom have never spent a day in a classroom trying to teach, interfering and constantly whittling down our choices / our ability to teach effectively. They don’t realize it, but they invariably end up hampering any creative freedom that each of us as individual teachers, with individual experiences, brings to our jobs. They have reduced teaching to an assembly line process, and the result of this show loud and clear in the ranking of our state education system.

By the way, did I forget to mention…. I’m Gay?

How To… Uhm…

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“Game Of Sex”… Err… I Mean “Thrones”!

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So there is this book series called “A Song of Ice and Fire”, many people know of it from the HBO series “Game Of Thrones”. The setting is a fictitious Medieval land of several Kingdoms, and a number of houses either plotting to take over the throne, or other houses trying to stop them. Thing is, the behavior of the times are portrayed quite broadly and as realistically as you can imagine. This includes sex… lots and lots of sex! Much of it is men of various positions of power either purchasing it or, worse, raping for the thrill. And, unlike todays world, women had little recourse to punish the perpetrator.

Still, the portrayal of sex / rape has some feminists upset. In one interview, when asked about the sexual violence that appears liberally throughout the story, he says this:

Well, I’m not writing about contemporary sex—it’s medieval.

There’s a more general question here that doesn’t just affect sex or rape, and that’s this whole issue of what is gratuitous? What should be depicted? I have gotten letters over the years from readers who don’t like the sex, they say it’s “gratuitous.” I think that word gets thrown around and what it seems to mean is “I didn’t like it.” This person didn’t want to read it, so it’s gratuitous to that person. And if I’m guilty of having gratuitous sex, then I’m also guilty of having gratuitous violence, and gratuitous feasting, and gratuitous description of clothes, and gratuitous heraldry, because very little of this is necessary to advance the plot. But my philosophy is that plot advancement is not what the experience of reading fiction is about. If all we care about is advancing the plot, why read novels? We can just read Cliffs Notes.

One feminist writer ponders:

Regardless of the role of rape in Martin’s depiction, with this response, Martin is reflecting a really bothersome point of view I’ve perceived a lot lately.

There seems to be a disconnect in how modern people think about feminism—and by extension issues like sexism, rape, and women’s roles in society. The myth seems to be that attention to these issues just didn’t exist before 20th century feminists made us pay attention to them. Unfortunately, I just don’t buy it. From what I’ve read about feminism, ideas about gender equality are as old as the idea of gender itself.

Does this writer want the characters to go out and hold equal rights signs and burn bras?

Yes, I’m being sarcastic there. The thing about the comment “From what I’ve read about feminism, ideas about gender equality are as old as the idea of gender itself.”, is that that would have been a perfect opportunity to provide links and enlighten us to example of this during Medieval times. in the late 18th Century, we can certainly she flashes of feminism in, say Abigale Adams or Mary Wollstonecraft. This could have been a teachable moment, as they say, and I wish the author would have done that.

But, back to feminism in the story. If the HBO series is anything like the book, then there is feminism in the story. Arya Stark may be just a young girl, but she is not pushed around easily by anyone… Even a nasty little punk prince! And her father even helps her develop her determination and strong will. Her sister, Sansa, is nothing if not the model of the submissive female and is definitely the anti-feminist. She wants to be the Princess. She gets her wish, but the cost is her happiness, and the life of her beloved pet and a very close family member. Though things don’t go well for either sister, between the two, Sansa definitely gets the raw end here. There are lots of other strong women in this story, a few of whom rise from near servitude of males to become quite dominant.

By Martin saying he’s writing about “medieval sex,” he seems to be saying that medieval people weren’t aware that rape was wrong. (It’s also a bit frustrating to hear him refer to rape as “sex,” since many feminists, I think convincingly, argue that rape isn’t about sex at all but rather about power.) Here’s the thing, though, the idea of rape wasn’t invented by 20th century feminists. And while it’s probably the case that there was less social pushback against the consequences for rape were probably less—though given how modern rape victims are treated in the press, I’m starting to think things aren’t all that awesome now—I’m fairly certain that rape wasn’t universally accepted.

Another feminist writer responds:

Does he write sex scenes the way he does because he’s telling stories about women coming into their power after they’ve been mistreated in gendered ways? Or does he write medieval fantasy because he’s engaged by images of women being brutalized? I tend towards a charitable reading of A Song of Ice and Fire, but this is one case where I’d really like to have that reading confirmed by the author.

Oh Come On!!! Do you really think he’s going to say something like “Yeah, I LOVE the visualization of women being abused!”. Jeez!!!

If you haven’t seen the HBO series Game Of Thrones yet, find it, and watch it!

 

Hat Tip:  Daily Dish

Stomping Upon The Spine Of The Sierra Nevadas!!!!

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From Sunday – Me, hiking on Mono Pass! Click on the image to see the whole thing!

Here is Mono Lake, just over the spine of the mountain range. The air is a thin up here, and you definitely feel it! The whole area of the lake and beyond is an old caldera within the Long Valley.

Two days later… my calves are still sore!

YouTube Banter – Alex Lifeson’s Never-Ending Problem!

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As demonstrated via YouTube comment!

This must be? the best band ever : Geddy Lee, one of the best basist in the world, Neil Peart, THE best drummer ever, Alex Lifeson, really good guitarist

Alex Lifeson is a freak-of-nature guitarist! Listen to this solo at 3:13…

That’s just blistering freaky cool!

Some people bitch that he’s “not Eddie Van Halen”. Thing is… He doesn’t have to be! He’s the perfect foil for the other two guys in the band. It’s impossible to say, but I wonder how EVH can handle all the chord and time changes packed into most of the Rush catalog. And I’m not dissing EVH in any way. He and Alex do different things, function in different ways in their bands. In any other band, Alex would be the bona-fide super star? of the band! But when you have two other musical freaks-of-nature as band mates… Some will say you’re OK. I don’t think he minds too much! All I can say is that pretty much every guitarist I’ve ever worked with holds Lifeson in the same esteemed groups as

Google Bias… Time For A Conservative Search Engine?

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We often fault the main stream media for being overtly liberal concerning both it’s  reporting point of reference and it’s editing choices. Sometime the criticism is unwarranted, but sometimes there is substance to it. Yesterday, I wrote about a blogger complaining that Republicans are not talking about jobs or the economy. I wrote this:

 

It’s not that Republicans are not talking about jobs and the economy… It, well, the same ‘ol thing… The media is not interested in what Republicans have to say about it. So, they report on “The Gay” thing instead! So, if you don’t dig, you think “The Gay” is more important, because that is what the media is focusing on.

 

Wonder why?

There is little doubt that, when it comes to reporting anything that has to do with Conservatives, mass media will invariably focus on more controversial things. Michelle Bachmann versus gays are big on the media circuit (circus?) right now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that shouldn’t be news, but it will be the only news about Backmann. Which is why Rauch doesn’t seem to think Republicans are talking about anything other than gays. And nothing else she does or says will push the gay stuff off the front page, unless it’s learned that she tortures and eat kittens! THAT would certainly push the gay thing out of the way!

There is another bias out there that gets much less attention, and that is the apparent bias toward liberal subject matter built in to the Google search engine. I encountered it while I was gathering information for the previous post. This isn’t the first time I had noticed it. Some time ago, the hosting service for my blog had a major crash. My blog was off line for almost three weeks. Naturally, once I regained access to my blog data, I changed services. When you switch server hosting companies, it takes a while for your blog to show up in a Google inquiry. I would on occasion type my blog name into the Google search engine to see what would come up. When Sonicfrog.net finally did show up, I thought the posts that were listed were interesting. They weren’t based on the most amount of hits to a post or comments that the posts had received, it was based on subject matter. In this case Global Warming.

I’ve written a lot of posts about global warming, few of them flattering, but the three posts that have emerged in the Google search are, if you just read the titles, they are somewhat positively supportive of global warming. Global Warming Fixed! reads one title. The second one from the Google search is Huge Climate Story – Honesty!. The third on the list reads favorably if you leave off the first bit of the title – Failed Meme Alert – Hottest Year Ever! . Even though many of the other 200 sum-odd posts concerning  global warming and climate change have had more hits, they don’t come up on a Google search. Those have title such as More Little Deaths For The Hockey Stick, and The Case To Disolve The Corrupt IPCC. One climate post that got many hits and comments is called Why Climate Scientists Should NEVER Be Trusted With The Fate Of The World. Pt 2. I think “More Little Deaths’ garnered the most comments of any post I’ve ever written, except for the one where I got into a huge blargument with Patterico.  Patterico is a well known blogger with lots of traffic, yet that doesn’t matter for Google Search.  I’ve had a number of posts linked to one of the most highly trafficked bloggers on the web, Instapundit.  Yet – that also holds no import in the Google metric.

 

Which brings me back to something I noticed yesterday…

When you type in the term “Rush Limbaugh Jobs” into the Google News search engine, instead of getting stuff that Rush actually said about the economy and jobs… You get… What Media Matters and other liberals say about Rush Limbaugh’s take on the ATF and his new line of tea!  Because, you know, Rush Limbaugh NEVER talks about the sour economy or stuff like that. Here are the result from a regular Google search. Not much better.

My blog-pal Dan at Gay Patriot has chimed in and adds supporting evidence to my observation:

I too have noted Google’s bias with Media Mutters and Talking Points and other leftie sites receiving prominence. When I did a search for where’s the Democratic plan to save Medicare, the top hit I got was the Daily Kos

Which, in turn (some would say “finally”)  brings me to the main point of this post. I haven’t checked Yahoo or Bing yet, and they may be more info-neutral, but since Google is by far the most dominant of the search engines out there, if Google is truly favoring left / liberal biases in its search matrics, is it time for Conservatives to launch their own search engine service? I mean, this is why Conservative talk radio and FOX news have been so successful. There was an open niche, a political vacuum,  just waiting to be filled! It’s why Daily KOS became so popular from it’s launch during the later part of the Bush years. There was a huge amount of political pressure building on the progressive side that was ready for an outlet, and KOS was a perfect vehicle for that. Is Google creating the same political void that some enterprising Conservatives will no doubt try to fill?

I would hate to see it on the one hand, because I think something like a search engine should be as politically neutral as possible. But, if Google continues on the road it’s on and continues to structure its searches based on things of liberal importance…  well… I wouldn’t be surprised if someone will soon fill the gap with a conservative based search engine.

PS. If this happens, I want everyone to remember… It Was My Idea! I Demand Some Monetary Compensation For This!!!  🙂

Is He Serious??? AMENDED!!!

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This, from new and apparently, important, blogger Jonathan Rauch:

The economy is tanking. The country may be about to default on the national debt. And what are the Republican political candidates debating? Gays.

Because, you know, Republican candidates have NOT been talking about the poor economy and their solution for this whole time! Even non-candidates have had plenty to say!

Jonathan, Google is your friend. Learn to use it!

Now, you may firmly, thoroughly, with no hesitation, with every fiber in your being, absolutely disagree with Republicans on the solutions they offer concerning jobs growth, but it’s a little disingenuous to try and push the meme that they haven’t been talking about it!

 

AMENDED!   Oh… Here’s the problem! When you type in the term “Rush Limbaugh Jobs” into the Google News search engine, instead of getting stuff that Rush actually said about the economy and jobs… You get… What Media Matters and other liberals say about Rush Limbaugh’s take on the ATF and his new line of tea!  Because, you know, Rush Limbaugh NEVER talks about the sour economy or stuff like that. Here are the result from a regular Google search. Not much better.

 

Jonathan, my bad! It’s not your fault!

 

It’s not that Republicans are not talking about jobs and the economy… It, well, the same ‘ol thing… The media is not interested in what Republicans have to say about it. So, they report on “The Gay” thing instead! So, if you don’t dig, you think “The Gay” is more important, because that is what the media is focusing on.

 

Wonder why?