Tag Archives: features

on obama: “Judge Him by His Law”

By showing officers that he shared many of their concerns, even going so far as to help pass other legislation they wanted, he was able to quiet the fears of many.

Obama proved persuasive enough that the bill passed both houses of the legislature, the Senate by an incredible 35 to 0. Then he talked Blagojevich into signing the bill, making Illinois the first state to require such videotaping.

Obama didn’t stop there. He played a major role in passing many other bills, including the state’s first earned-income tax credit to help the working poor and the first ethics and campaign finance law in 25 years (a law a Post story said made Illinois ‘one of the best in the nation on campaign finance disclosure’). Obama’s commitment to ethics continued in the U.S. Senate, where he co-authored the new lobbying reform law that, among its hard-to-sell provisions, requires lawmakers to disclose the names of lobbyists who ‘bundle’ contributions for them.

Taken together, these accomplishments demonstrate that Obama has what Dillard, the Republican state senator, calls a ‘unique’ ability ‘to deal with extremely complex issues, to reach across the aisle and to deal with diverse people.’ In other words, Obama’s campaign claim that he can persuade us to rise above what divides us is not just rhetoric.

Charles Peters – Judge Him by His Laws – washingtonpost.com

Why Obama Beat Clinton

— and Why He’ll Beat McCain, Too – Politics on The Huffington Post: “And here’s zany family game #2: try to imagine Obama getting in front of the TV cameras on a night that gutted his entire campaign, pasting a transparently phony smile on his face, and crowing ‘it’s on to the White House!’ as Michelle and the kids fought off tears on the podium behind him…

Never.

John Eskow: Flawed Messengers and Wooden Soldiers: Why Obama Beat Clinton

the BBC says its over for hillary

on the day after primary day here in indiana, where we were up till past midnight waiting on returns from lake county, and where obama did not do what i heard and read many predictions he would do: lose by eight or so points, and instead all but tied here and spanked her smiliness in north carolina, we have this from the BBC:

Where do we go from here? My understanding is that probably today, but certainly within 48 hours, about 30 super-delegates will endorse Mr Obama. That should give him further momentum.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Clinton ‘heading for the exit’

Expelled Exposed

Welcome to Expelled Exposed, a detailed look at the Ben Stein movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. We’ll show you why this movie is not a documentary at all, but anti-science propaganda aimed at creating the appearance of controversy where there is none.

To learn why the claims made in Expelled are false, find out The Truth behind the Fiction. For information on the producers and their actions, go Behind the Scenes. To learn more about evolution and intelligent design, or to see what other people thought of Expelled, view our links to other online Resources.

Expelled Exposed

“Atheist’s Nightmare: the Banana”

Behold the Atheist’s Nightmare: the Banana

the best part about this is, as kyle points out, that the banana is doomed:

The banana is about to disappear from store shelves around the globe. Experts say the world’s favourite fruit will pass into oblivion within a decade. No more fresh bananas. No more banana bread. No more banana muffins or banana cream pie.

Why? Because the banana is the victim of centuries of genetic tampering. Scientists say they will be unable to prevent the extirpation of the banana as an edible commercial crop. And its demise may be one more powerful argument in the hands of those who are concerned about genetic modification of foods.

The banana’s main problem is that it has become sterile and seedless as a result of 10,000 years of selective breeding. It has, over time, become a plant with unvarying genetic sameness. The genetic diversity needed to cope with environmental stresses, such as diseases and crop pests, has long ago been bred out of the banana. Consequently, the banana plantations of the world are completely vulnerable to devastating environmental pressures.

bananas are doomed

hope for change

as of last night, i have this sticker on my computer

i have done some phone calls for the obama campaign, and i dearly hope — yes, hope — that he becomes our next president.

i believe we can be a better country, and i believe he is the best candidate for the job.

please, if you are considering voting for someone else, or not voting at all, please look into senator obama’s ideas, and who he is.

please put your politics aside and look into what he actually stands for.

please dare to hope as i have come to hope.

Gorilla at an Illinois Zoo Rescues a 3-Year-Old Boy – New York Times

how do people who don’t believe in evolution deal with the following story?

A 3-year-old boy fell into an exhibit occupied by gorillas at the Brookfield Zoo this afternoon, and was rescued by a female gorilla that cradled the child and brought him to zookeepers.The boy injured his head when he fell 18 feet onto the exhibit’s concrete. He was alert when taken to a hospital, although his condition was later listed as critical.Seven gorillas were on display in the exhibit. One of them, Binti, a 7-year-old female with a baby gorilla on her back, picked up the child, cradled him in her arms and placed him near a door where zookeepers could retrieve him, said Sondra Katzen, a spokeswoman for the zoo, 10 miles west of downtown Chicago.

Gorilla at an Illinois Zoo Rescues a 3-Year-Old Boy – New York Times

one ugly monkey revisited

one. ugly. monkey.

Originally uploaded by berbercarpet

the phrase “one. ugly. monkey.” generates quite a bit of traffic to this blog, and this photo has over 19,000 views at my flickr account.

so i thought i would take the time to use this platform to point out that this ugly little guy is one of the most endangered creatures on earth.

he is an aye-aye, a sort of lemur who lives, like all lemurs, only on madacascar.

i first learned about the aye-ayes in douglas adams’ amazing book last chance to see.


“Last Chance to See” (Douglas Adams, Mark Carwardine)

this book gave me my interest in endangered animals, and ultimately led to my fascination with evolution and how this amazing universe works.

i highly recommend that everyone read it, or better yet, listen to the book on tape, like i do.

well, MP3. i could be persuaded to let friends borrow my last chance to see CDs if they wish to hear the book on tape.

or something could be worked out.

if you are the kind of person that likes watching discovery channel, you owe it to yourself to read or listen to this book.

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having a dragon on a leash

tonight i sent an email where i talked about ADHD as the dragon, and i thought i would share some of my thoughts on that here.

i wasn’t the person who came up with the phrase “magickal dragon on a leash” about ADHD, and for all i know they didn’t either. i will try to track down the article where i read the phrase, but i have adopted the idea, and i think it helps others understand more of what dealing with ADHD is like.

fifty televisions blaring

people don’t grow in to or out of having ADHD. it is something that your body either does or does not do.

how it happens is not perfectly understood yet, but the last few years they have made great advancements in this area, and the new medications that have been developed (strattera, specifically, which i am on) are much better at treating it than the older ones (such as ritalin).

attention deficit disorder is the label for the array of symptoms a person displays when their body doesn’t make enough of this or that hormone, and they simply can not pay attention to what is important. everyone expresses some of these symptoms some of the time, but the difference is longevity of symptoms (life-long for the ADDer) and amount of life disruption.

actually — and more accurately, as far as i understand it — the body may well make enough of the hormone, but not enough of this it ends up in the proper receptors, because it is absorbed into the bloodstream before it has a chance to land in the proper areas in the brain and do what it is supposed to do, which is allow the brain to filter out needless information and focus on what is important.

people who have ADHD have (to varying degrees) no such filtering ability.

everything in the environment demands our full attention, 100% of the time. ritalin, and the other stimulant meds force the brain into working harder than it ought to have to in order to make up for the lack of hormone that would allow it to focus.

(people often comment that it makes no sense to treat “hyperactivity” with a stimulant, and at first blush it does seem counter-intuitive, but everyone is very familiar with the principle at work: this is why americans are so addictive to caffeine. it makes our brains work harder and faster, and we can focus better. )

like caffeine, the older ADHD meds are just stimulants: they cause the brain to work in such a way that needed filtering can happen, and we can get more done, more efficiently.

i remember when i first started taking ritalin, in my early twenties at just being amazed at it. it was like a miracle drug for me, and i described the effect this way: imagine you walk into an electronics store, such as best buy, and every TV they have for sale is on, at full volume, but they are all tuned to different channels. fifty televisions playing different things all the time. the very first time i took ritalin, it was as if someone had switched 49 of the TVs off.

clarity.

suddenly, out of nowhere, i could focus on one thing at a time.

suddenly, i was able to get stuff done in a way i never could before.

i was pissed that i had missed out on twenty-some years of this, and jealous of “normal” people who don’t need meds to have this in their life: they can turn off the other televisions on their own.

but ritalin worked for me, and i was grateful for it, and my quality of life went up immensely, overnight.

the newer, non-stimulant drugs, like strattera, the one i’m now now (actually, as of october 2008, i am taking vyvanse), do not work the same way.

rather than cause the brain to work harder, producing more of the magick hormone, strattera prevents the body from re-absorbing it before it can land in the proper receptors. so the body works much more like a non-ADDer.

it also has 24 hour control, which is key for me. ritalin works four hours at a time, and, being a stimulant, has all the side-effects that coffee does: not being able to sleep, appetite suppressant, anxiety, sped up heart-rate.it’s effect is immediate, it kicks in within five minutes of taking it, and when it wears off, there is a noticeable difference in my behavior. so it was kind of like a four-hour lightswitch. take the pill, and be able to focus for four hours, then poof it was done.

i would generally take two ritalin pills a day, and during work hours, of course. this means that the rest of my life was basically getting ADHD-chris only. bills, marriage, housework, family time, overtime — anything that wasn’t between 9am and 5pm would not get the “best” of me.

this was very frustrating, but if i took ritalin too late, i couldn’t sleep at all, so we dealt with it. so strattera’s twenty-four hour coverage is a real life-saver.

it has it’s own set of side-effects, some of them were very pronounced at first but wore as i had been on it a few months. but it’s worth it — i am much more able to get things done and behave in “proper” ways than before.

a dragon on a leash

so, about the dragon.

even with meds to treat it, ADHD is still a huge part of who i am. it effects everything do, everything i touch.

and having ADHD is like having a magickal fire-breathing dragon on a leash.

this beast dragged me around for years, burning everything and everyone i got near. everything i touched had such magick potential, but ended up going up in flames in the end. i was a powerful wizard of creativity who could not control the thing that gave me my powers.

fun to be with, but ultimately frustrating, because nothing i would do would ever reach the potential it should have.

the dragon would burn it down before it could be beautiful.

but what if you can tame the dragon?

once you have tamed this beast, once you have mastered the powers, you are then super-human in a way: you have a magickal dragon on a leash!

ADHD brings some very precious gifts to my life.

i see the world in ways that confound most people.

i have ideas that are so out of left field that they can’t begin to comprehend them. i am ridiculously creative, and the leaps in logic my brain can make are a powerful tool in my arsenal of “getting life done”.

i can’t say i have fully tamed this beast — shiva knows i have not!

but through meds, and counseling, and developing tricks and systems i am getting closer.

some of the time i get very pissed at the universe for making me this way, and have begged and begged for god to take it away from me. (much like paul’s thorn in his side) but i am, more and more, able to see that i have been given a precious gift, and that if i can learn to control this dragon, i will be able to use it to fly to magickal places.

it is non-ADDers who are really missing out when it comes right down to it.

Listening to: Black Hole Sun from the album “The Moog Cookbook” by The Moog Cookbook

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