Thursday, March 3, 2011

Our Wacky World—3/3/2011

See kids? It really does happen!

The trial of woo-monger James Arthur Ray finally began this week. Meanwhile, some Native-Americans are sick and tired of woo-loving palefaces making off with their sacred stuff:
'Taliman, 53, also wrote about long-standing efforts by Native Americans to stop the "appropriation and exploitation of sacred ceremonies," pointing to a 1993 international gathering in South Dakota of 500 Lakota, Dakota and Nakota nation representatives. Together they "passed the 'Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality,' denouncing individuals involved in the New Age movement, shamanism, cultists, and neo-paganists and others who promote 'intolerable and obscene imitations of sacred Lakota rites"

"Charismatic televangelist Benny Hinn, who denied romantic involvement with Paula White after a tabloid article last year, is being sued for $250,000 by his book publisher for violating a morality clause in their contract."

A third-grader has discovered he has the gift of healing with qigong:
Magic is usually saved for the imagination, but in his life, Reffsgaard is using an ancient Chinese teaching that he said often makes him feel like Harry.
“I feel like I'm a wizard using the healing spell.”
Killer shrimp threaten Wales

"A woman is chosen for jury duty in a rape case. On the second day of the trial, she realizes... she spotted the defendant committing the alleged crime."

"A veteran Houston police officer participating with a cooking team at the Houston rodeo's Bar-B-Que cook-off has been relieved of duty for reportedly tossing a tear gas canister at booth opponents during the popular event, apparently sickening several patrons."

"The suspended worker who was paid by a Norfolk agency for 12 years has fired back that she was wrongfully terminated after false allegations by the city.
Jill McGlone, a former administrative worker at the Norfolk Community Services Board, wrote letters Feb. 16 to City Manager Marcus Jones and CSB Director Maureen Womack saying she wanted to meet with them about her "wrongful termination" and denial of unemployment benefits."
Hampton Roads Pilot

Here's the future of automatic weapons—cobalt alloy barrels

The Register

Andy Dick is yet another celebrity on a Concorde-to-hell ride whose 15 minutes were up years ago. Here are some pictures of him snorting coke.

Rock on.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No sleep after puberty

Here's a hypothetical situation: imagine that your sons worked and saved enough money to by cars when they turned 16. Then you become a state Senator. What do you do? Try to rollback child labor laws:
Cunningham's objections extend to the current law's requirement that children 14 or 15 work no more than three hours a day on school days, no more than eight hours on a non-school day, and that they cannot work before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
"The hour restrictions are so tight,'' she said. "There are many jobs where you can work after 9 p.m.,'' such as restaurants.
St. Louis Beacon

Yeah, that makes sense. Especially since many teenagers are already sleep-deprived:
"What good does it do to try to educate teen-agers so early in the morning?" asks Maas. "You can be giving the most stimulating, interesting lectures to sleep-deprived kids early in the morning or right after lunch, when they're at their sleepiest, and the overwhelming drive to sleep replaces any chance of alertness, cognition, memory or understanding."
American Psychological Association

Has anything improved in the ten years since that was written? Not as far as I can see. Here's what will happen if you remove the 9:00 PM time limit:
She has homework and she’s supposed to get off at 8 p.m., but the shift manager needs her to stay and close up because Fred didn’t show up for work. Susie calls her mom, who protests, but the boss is adamant and Susie really wants to keep her job so mom agrees, just this once. And pretty soon “just this once” becomes the routine.
Kansas City Star

No kids by Mary Poppins' era
I can hear the counter-argument now. Something about this being a free-market system and having to bow to the poor, struggling boss. And a blank stare when you bring up the hard-fought battle for the reformaton of child labor over the last two centuries. Because of that the chimney sweeps in Mary Poppins were all of-age, although one had a very poor accent.

But it gets stupider. There's a constitutional lawyer cum Tea Party Senator in Washington claiming that child labor laws are unconstitutional:
Child labor laws are also only one of many essential protections that would evaporate in Mike Lee’s America. The same legal theory Lee uses to impugn child labor laws applies equally to the federal minimum wage and the ban on whites-only lunch counters.
Think Progress

These are the sort of people who think say that civil rights for African-Americans would have happened all by itself; we didn't need federal laws and outside agitators to make it happen. And gays aren't the new Blacks.

I don't have a job. I'm disabled. I'm both ADHD and bipolar II, a curious combination with a singular effect: I cycle every single day. I wake up "depressed" and by bed-time I'm hypomanic and can't fall asleep. All I wanted to do most of my life was sleep more and later. Thank "Bob" I didn't have to get up at 6:00 AM every day when I was in school. Some of the jobs I've had were nightmares where I only got six hours of sleep a night. I was walking around like a zombie. One night a state trooper pulled me over on the Interstate and told me that I'd drifted all the way into the left lane and back again. I had no memory of it.

In 2007 I read Delivered From Distraction by Hallowell & Ratey, the sequel to their classic book on ADHD, Driven To Distraction. They described this particular syndrome and suddenly it all began clicking into place. After decades of living with it and reading as widely as possible this was the first inkling of a real explanation I'd ever had. And it turned out to be correct.

And now I have sleep apnea, too.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Our Wacky World—3/1/2011

Crack O' Christ
In 1981 Ron Wyatt [bad link fixed] located what he believed to be the crucifixion site of Jesus Christ. He found a square depression in the surface material, into which a cross could have been placed, along with an adjoining crevice. Ron Wyatt said that the blood of Christ ran down through that crevice and onto the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant that was hidden in a cave below.

That new tell-all book about Sarah Palin just keeps getting better:
"Good idea about the letters to the editor. Guys—let's remember to tell people that when they offer to help but don't know what to do. They can loan us their names for a letter, and they have to be ready to confirm that they authored the letter when all those various newspapers call them for confirmation."
The Daily Beast

"Businesswoman Zane Selkirk revealed her body was ‘crawling’ with bugs and ‘covered with bites’ during a ten-hour transatlantic flight from Los Angeles to London Heathrow in January."
Mailonline [link fixed]

"The Vatican reports cited countless cases of nuns forced to have sex with priests. Some were obliged to take the pill, others became pregnant and were encouraged to have abortions. In one case in which an African sister was forced to have an abortion, she died during the operation and her aggressor led the funeral mass. Another case involved 29 sisters from the same congregation who all became pregnant to priests in the diocese."
The Independent

"As for religious leaders calling me a fraud, that places me in good company," Popoff said. "The religious leaders of Christ's day called him a fake and a demon-possessed fraud. They went so far as to crucify Him. I have no time for my critics, I have a job to do and I'm doing it for God's glory."

Update—I just found a copy of James Randi's classic report on the Peter Popoff scam here. Fucking hilarious.

'These "personas" were to have detailed, fictionalized backgrounds, to make them believable to outside observers, and a sophisticated identity protection service was to back them up, preventing suspicious readers from uncovering the real person behind the account. They even worked out ways to game geolocating services, so these "personas" could be virtually inserted anywhere in the world, providing ostensibly live commentary on real events, even while the operator was not really present.'
Raw Story

"But Flour Bluff ISD Superintendent Julie Carbajal, in comments to The Daily Caller on Friday, said that there is no chance that district will approve the purposed Gay-Straight Alliance. She also has requested that the student group Fellowship of Christian Athletes meet off campus until they can determine if they are adhering to the 2005 school policy that only student groups tied to curricula are allowed."

"The Rev. Grant Storms, the Christian fundamentalist known for his bullhorn protests of the Southern Decadence festival in the French Quarter, was arrested on a charge of masturbating at a Metairie park Friday afternoon."

It's been a while since the last reality-challenged celebrity train-wreck:
"Come Wednesday morning, they're going to rename it Charlie Bros., not Warner Bros."

"We Raelians just deny the existence of one more God than they do. Yet there's a very important difference between most atheists and the Raelians: We're still Creationists!"
PR Newswire

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Our Wacky World—2/27/2011

It's been a long wait but the sequel to E.T. has been green-lighted

Sarah "dog whistle" Palin has been caught sock-puppeting her own Facebook page

A Chinese man has died after a three day gaming marathon

The Chinese government has made it illegal to be reincarnated without official permission

"He felt compelled to showboat about his big achievement: He opened my son's computer, took a photo of himself sneering as he pointed to the cash lifted from my son's desk, and then went on my son's Facebook account and posted the picture for 400 teenagers to see. In the picture, the man is wearing my new winter coat, the one that was stolen right out of the Macy's box it had just arrived in."

The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in "psychological operations" to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war...and when an officer tried to stop the operation, he was railroaded by military investigators.

The national Xmas tree was blown over in a recent storm. And you know what that means: it's the End Times!

"Rep. Bobby Franklin of Georgia has submitted a bill requiring the state to investigate every miscarriage that happens in that state to make sure it's not a clandestine abortion."

A former president of the defunct local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving was arrested recently by the Gainesville Police Department on a DUI charge (mug shot)