We had a few minutes of winter yesterday. I thought it was nice to actually get some use out of my vast assortment of cold weather gear without having to drive to West Virginia. Last night was crystal clear and every beast in the gorge seemed to be irritating the dogs, and they, in turn irritated us by yipping all night.
Odd to note the trill of an Eastern toad calling for a girlfriend in the middle of a snow flurry. Toad, old buddy, I know the spring you're sitting in stays at a nice toasty 58 degrees but don't be looking for any honeys to be hoppin' through this mess just now. Give it a few days.
A couple of things struck me as curious, yesterday. Check these statistics first:
The United States is 49th in the world in literacy (The New York Times, Dec. 12, 2004).
• The United States ranked 28th out of 40 countries in mathematical literacy
So the US is kinda behind in our schooling. 49th to be exact, and Tennessee is 46th out of 50 so that kinda makes us pretty much the stupidest of the stupid. It's really the underachievingest of the underachievers...we are not dumb, we're just plain SORRY!
So what did our state legislature do yesterday, given this dire state of the educational system with our children's future at stake?
My state senator, Tommy Kilby, and his buddies passed a bill to amend the constitution to ban Gay Marriage.
Great, guys! Glad you morons are keeping your eye on what's important!
A couple of us were sitting around laughing at this and counted up five failed marriages among us, and you know what? Near as we could figure, Gays didn't have anything to do with any of our marriages going bad, so how the heck is this protecting our families?
Wouldn't the money be better spent working on getting a textbook for my tenth grade son's Geometry class?
(Hey Tyler! Why doesn't he have a book to bring home, anyway?)
From the mail:
Long time old friend. hey. Just read your Blog about the Hoe Down. Yeah. Old Crow kills it. Love them . man it makes me miss the Southland. Hope all is treating you well. I'll be thinking about you and your coffee high up on the TN plateau. Tell the family I said hi.
And from South Carolina on the ethics of our legislature:
Tennessee hasn't taken up the Republican strategy of naming bills as the OPPOSITE of what they'll really do?
Shouldn't Republicans be promoting this bill as the: "Clean Waters Executive Honesty & Disclosure Act".
I note that with the Supreme Court ruling against capital punishment for children, and we get this:
Under the headline, "United States leaves Somalia in isolation" the world has learned that the US has finallly outlawed the execution of children.
"And crown thy good..." Makes you feel good to be an American, eh?
Among developed nations, there are only two that still have the death penalty, The USA and Japan. Charlie has a good take on this:
Ann Coulter's America:
It's an America where the Guardians of Democracy have stamped out the last traitorous vestiges of political opposition, an America where all patriots are required to hold a singular, party-approved opinion, an America where television reflects the officially sanctioned values of the Glorious Conservative Christian Revolution and celebrations of sodomy embodied in shows like Will and Grace are replaced by news magazines featuring ideologically-friendly, God-fearing harlots.
An excerpt from Fanatical Apathy juxtaposes events of our world:
Cate Blanchett, radiating a cool Hollywood glamour, won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal in "The Aviator" of Katharine Hepburn. Others, their limbs ripped to shreds, were piled into the back of pick-up trucks. Nearby buildings were pockmarked by shrapnel. People wept, clutched their heads in despair and shouted "God is greatest" as rescuers led the injured away.
Wanna feel good about America?
"The U.S. and South Africa are the only two developed countries in the world that do not provide health care for all their citizens"
The United States is 41st in the world in infant mortality. Cuba scores higher (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).
• Women are 70% more likely to die in childbirth in America than in Europe (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).
• The leading cause of death of pregnant women in this country is murder (CNN, Dec. 14, 2004).
There's a lot more that should piss you off:
"Last week North Korea publicly admitted for the first time it has nuclear weapons. The Bush administration has so far shown very little concern, as the North Korean missiles are believed only capable of reaching the Blue States." --Jon Stewart on North Korea's nuclear weapons program