Reason Morning Links: Public Textbooks and Private Spacecraft


• The White House wants to revamp No Child Left Behind.

• Officials investigating the Iraqi reconstruction have opened more than 50 corruption cases in six months.

• Spacex, a private space company, had a successful rocket test over the weekend.

• Apparently, if you give a small group of officials an immense amount of power over what gets taught in schools, ideological interest groups will try to capture the process.

• In a development that no one possibly could have foreseen, the regulations passed after the Great Enron Fraud failed to prevent the Great Lehman Brothers Fraud.

NEXT: The Decline of a Once-Great City: Reason Saves Cleveland With Drew Carey, Ep. 1

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  1. require states to adopt “dramatically higher” academic standards by 2014

    Now *that’s* leadership.

  2. “I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.”

    “Let’s face it, capitalism does have a negative connotation,” said one conservative member, Terri Leo. “You know, ‘capitalist pig!’ “

    Two good lines from the fourth link.

    Of course, I’m easily amused.

  3. In economics, the revisions add Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, two champions of free-market economic theory, among the usual list of economists to be studied, like Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. They also replaced the word “capitalism” throughout their texts with the “free-enterprise system.”

    Those wacky anti-science fundies.

  4. Scrap NCLB’s 2014 deadline for all students to be proficient in math and reading and replace it with a 2020 “college- and career-ready” benchmark measured through annual tests

    Literacy and math proficiency are hard. Can’t let those unrealistic goals get in the way of “college and career readiness”.

    1. Wow. How is someone who can’t read, write, or do math ready for college or a career in anything other than custodial engineering?

      1. well, in fairness, have math and reading proficiency tests done anything for us lately? Honestly, we have had a solid literacy rate and a terrible math rate for at least 25 years, so what difference does dropping the proficiency tests make?

        That said, I think proficiency tests are the least of all public school evils – I mean, if the test is good enough, why not teach to it?

        1. “so what difference does dropping the proficiency tests make?”

          It basically says that we are going to give up. The proficiency tests at least provide some objective measure of how a school is doing. I am a cynic. But I think the plan is to get rid of the tests and replace them with something bogus that everyone passes. That way every school gets to say their students are “succeeding” regardless of the reality. That is a good way to get around those pesky parents who actually demand that schools do something besides provide employment for teachers.

          1. “But I think the plan is to get rid of the tests and replace them with something bogus that everyone passes.”

            Agreed John.

            I believe Hernstein to be correct with the Bell Curve, the educational 800 lb gorilla in the room.

            NCLB, Outcome Based education and the general PC climate have inflated the idea that pupils becoming astute at acing sub-standard tests is a measure of intellegence.

            When the little geniuses find that their secondary education has not translated into immediate post education real world success, the reality of the fallacy of “equal outcomes” becomes all too apparent.

            Which I submit manifests itself at the ballot box and will continue to do so.

            1. “intelligence” RC’s Law-ed myself. LOL

            2. We have this romantic view of education that everyone is capable of reading ancient Greek and getting high marks at Eaton if only they had the opportunity.

              I agree with the bell curve as far as it goes. And that is that when you measure certain areas of cognitive ability you are going to get a bell curve. But where I disagree with the implication of that that everyone at the low end is somehow not cut out for modern life. No, it just means you are not good at modern liberal arts. There are lots of people on the low end of the bell curve who are very productive and intelligent in other areas. There people out there that can barely read, but can fix your car or your lawnmower better than most PHDs and so forth.

              1. Hence why it disturbs me so that this country keeps throwing insane amounts of money at an education system that is hemorrhaging from within.

                The smart kids see through this notion of outcome based education and follow their aptitudes and flourish in whatever endeavor they choose.

                However, the educational establishment as a whole seems to be stuck in that very meme of “with enough money, time and labor, we can make geniuses out of any child, because a solid parroting of progressive ideology is genius.”

                Hence the educated progressive idiot.

              2. No kidding. My uncle has really bad dyslexia and is pretty much illiterate, but he’s a brilliant car mechanic and programs in assembly code for fun in his spare time.

          2. Making the proficiency tests the end-all-and-be-all of school evaluation perverts the entire educational process. Teachers wind up teaching how to take the test instead of teaching the subject the test is on.

            Of course, having no objective standards at all creates its own problem. I don’t see a solution for this conundrum as long as schools are run by special interests instead of parents who care about their kids education.

            1. “”I don’t see a solution for this conundrum as long as schools are run by special interests instead of parents who care about their kids education.”””

              I’m not sure if the parents are any better, they prefer to blame the system than their kid that doesn’t hand in assignments on time, nor studies enough for the tests.

              I’ve seen a fair amount of laziness among students.

              1. I agree. Not nearly enough of the blame for educational outcome is put on the students. I did well in school because I saw the advantages to doing well in school and was capable of doing so.

        2. Having taught at the college level recently, I’d have to dispute that solid literacy rate. You might be astonished at how badly kids write, even in a pretty good university.

            1. Oh noes! Anon-bot got to Art!

              1. I’m all homoerotic for the anon-bot.

                1. roboerotic!

          1. I went to a state school and was shocked at how poorly my fellow students could write. I assumed because everyone made it to college they would be able to write for themselves. I was surprised some of them graduated high school.

          2. I know its old and hoary and elitist to say this, but it’s true: texting as a primary means of communication has done to literacy what pocket calculators have done to math education.

          3. Have to agree. I taught at one of the world’s, and america’s, “great universities” and the written language of the undergraduates was frequently appalling.

      2. Well, if congresscreatures were required to take these tests we might find out.

  5. Beware the Ides of March

  6. “Other changes seem aimed at tamping down criticism of the right. Conservatives passed one amendment, for instance, requiring that the history of McCarthyism include “how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.” The Venona papers were transcripts of some 3,000 communications between the Soviet Union and its agents in the United States.”

    OMG!! Next thing you know they might start teaching children that communism actually killed some people. A whole generation of children will now know that the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss were guilty. The humanity.

    1. Well, unfortunately for McCarthy:

      1. The people he thought were Communist spies weren’t. The actual Communists were a whole different set of people.

      2. There is no doubt in the record that he invented numbers out of whole cloth and pretended to have names and lists he didn’t have. In other words, he was a liar either way.

      3. It could not constitutionally be made illegal to be a member of the Communist Party in the United States. Since we were never at war with the Soviet Union, it could never be made illegal to be a sympathizer of the Soviet Union, either. McCarthy’s entire enterprise was an unconstitutional vendetta against citizens engaged in the exercise of their enumerated rights. So he was a douchebag, even if the ENTIRE State Department was composed of Communists and former Communists.

      1. MCarthy was a jackass who showed up after all of the real spies had been caught. What the left does is the equate McCarthy being a jackass to mean that there really weren’t any communists or people working for the Soviet Union in the government.

        There really was a communist infiltration of the government in the late 1940s. People like Hiss did a lot of damage. But that had nothing to do with McCArthy. McCarthy was just an ignorant opportunist who showed up after the whole thing was over.

      2. If that’s the case, then the proposal will not vindicate McCarthy in any way; if anything it will paint his behavior as a needless distraction.

        1. It does the opposite of vindicating him.

  7. Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone.

    Good work, Cynthia. But please try to close your mouth when you breathe, you’re catching flies.

    1. The American revolution was the only revolution that turned out positive. The French Revolution was a different animal and a horrible one. The French Revolution gave us communism and fascism and all the varieties of Utopian thought that killed so many in the 20th Century. And I don’t think Aquinas, Calvin and Blackstone had anything to do with the French Revolution.

      1. Yes, but Thomas Jefferson might have had something to do with the American one.

        Do not worry, John, the infliction of dumbness from Team Red just represents a victory for your side, so you can stop arguing now.

        1. I don’t think that Jefferson had that much to do with the French Revolution. The French Revolution was a much more radical revolution than anything Jefferson ever dreamed of.

          It is an interesting topic and worth discussing. Maybe I just like Jefferson and am thus biased against pinning the crimes of the French Revolution on him.

          Too bad you seem unwilling to have that discussion and instead just want to run around like a jackass screaming Team Red!! But that is all you ever seem to be interested in doing these days. So I can’t say I am surprised. Saddened, but not surprised.

          1. Huh? Someone pointed out the out-and-out idiocy of excluding Thomas Jefferson, and you started going on about the French Revolution, as if that had anything to do with the subject at hand.

            As for the “TEAM RED” stuff, I am just directly facing the arguments that you are obliquely raising – namely, your attempt to soft-pedal some of the dumber moves on the part of the school board by diverting the conversation and saying “BLUE DID IT TOO!”

            1. Shorter AO. TEAM RED TEAM RED!!! Do you bang a rattle as you type that?

              And the French Revolution has everything to do with the subject at hand. When you talk about the “revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century” you are talking mostly about the French Revolution and its progeny.

              Further, I never defended this. In fact I pointed out in the original post that Blackstone and Aquinas had nothing really to do with the revolutions in question. Yeah, it is a stupid view of history.

              If you would just calm the fuck down and stop looking at every issue as an opportunity to score political points, the discussion would go better.

              1. You would never out-and-out defend this, but you sure will softpedal and argue with anyone who dareth mock. Hence your original “OMG” comment when no one had made a big deal out of this yet. You managed to read offense, because…well, who knows why partisans do what they do?

                1. This man fight is making me hot.;-)

                2. They are right about a couple of things. They should teach the Verona papers when talking about the 1950s. They are wrong about other things. The OMG comment goes directly to the “outrage” over teaching the Verona papers.

                  As far as my “soft pedaling”, what the fuck do you want? Go down and shoot these people? You are really out of your tree on this. It is funny you claim not to be Team Blue, yet you only seem to hate people and moreover worry that someone else might not sufficiently hate team Red.

          2. As United States minister to France when revolutionary fervor was rising toward the storming of the Bastille in 1789, Jefferson became an ardent supporter of the French Revolution, even allowing his residence to be used as a meeting place for the rebels led by Lafayette


            , who had recently returned from France to become Secretary of State (Lafayette was at this farewell dinner in Paris), was actually more enthusiastic about the revolution than was France’s minister to America, Jean Baptiste de Ternant. Jefferson thought the French experiment would confirm the American one and possibly spread to other parts of the world.

            1. Basically everything here

              says that Jefferson did support the French Revolution until he didn’t. (that is when the Jacobins started running the show). But there was quite a bit of ‘blood of patriots and tyrants’ before it became too much for TJ’s liking.

            2. I know he supported it in the beginning. But I am not sure that he supported it or that his ideas were very important once it got going.

              Look man. Your stepping on my childhood here. I don’t want to contemplate the idea that Jefferson had a lot to do with the French Revolution. Slave holding hypocritical spendthrift I can deal with. Father of the French Revolution and all that followed is too horrible to contemplate.

              1. Wait a minute. I was taught that the French Revolution was caused by Marie Antoinette and not enough cake.

              2. It can go along with your absolutely retarded revisionist history of the traitorous warmonger Dishonest Abe.

    2. Yeah, that Thomas Jefferson was a punk. I mean, come on, it’s not like declaring independence from England had anything to do with any late 18th century revolutions that I know of.

      1. It really didn’t. The American Revolution was at heart a conservative revolution aimed at restoring what Americans considered their rights as Englishman. The French Revolution was aimed at overturning all of society. They didn’t declare “Year 1” after the American Revolution.

        1. The key to a good revolution is not to go too far.

        2. It was such a “conservative” revolution that they decided to utterly break ties with the motherland and found a nation that explicitly rejected most notions of “Englishness”, including subjugation to a king.

          How is that the least bit “conservative”?

          1. It is very conservative revolution. They didn’t upend society and kept all of their local political structures. They just broke from the mother country. They kept the English common law. It still was a “Revolution” but compared to what came later in France and Russia, it was very tame.

            1. It was a revolution that liberalized society. And I’m not talking about the “bad” word “liberal”, which you seem allergic to because of its modern connotations (so much so that you feel the need to term the American revolution “conservative”).

              France and Russia had more radical revolutions, sure. But they didn’t liberalize society as much as they originally claimed to, either. Getting hung up on the modern understanding of the terms “conservative” and “liberal” and applying them in a revisionist way to a time when they had completely different meanings (and were not necessarily opposing poles) is plain old retarded.

              And yes, I know you didn’t use the word “liberal”, but it’s pretty clear you’re using “conservative” in reference to the modern, dichotomous model that most people here reject.

              1. NO. I am using the word “conservative” to mean timid and not radical. It was a conservative revolution in the sense that it really didn’t change that much. I am not using conservative to mean anything related to the modern political term.

                1. Of all the synonyms that wouldn’t cause as much confusion, you used the one that happens to align most closely with your political beliefs completely by chance? Color me skeptical.

                  1. I don’t know what to tell you other than that is what the term means. Further, I didn’t just use the term. I explained it. All up and down this thread I make the point that the American revolution didn’t change society in the way the revolutions that followed did. Thus it was “conservative” in the sense it wasn’t radical.

                  2. For what it’s worth, John, I didn’t have any trouble figuring out what you meant by “conservative” here. But I think you’re only half right here. The revolutionaries were conservative in that they were asserting that they had full rights as Englishmen, but thoroughly unconservative in that they rejected the authority of the king.

                    They were only conservative if you consider Cromwell a conservative Englishman, I think. Though Cromwell probably did think of himself as conservative.

                    1. Which probably goes to ProL’s point directly below.

                    2. It was conservative as revolutions go. It wasn’t a conservative act, but was a conservative revolution as far as any revolution can be. If they hadn’t rejected rule of the King, it wouldn’t have been much of a revolution.

                2. “Conservative” is the appropriate word here. The American Revolution didn’t change more than it had to.

          2. I’m not sure “conservative” is the right word. It was pretty radical for its time, not just in the separation from Great Britain, but also in the concept of a strictly limited government, without a political aristocracy.

            What’s interesting about the American Revolution is how firmly based it was in middle class values.

            1. It was a revolution. But, I fail to see how any rebellion that keeps the local political structures in tact, keeps the common law from the mother country, and propagandizes about how they are only re-establishes their rights as citizens of the mother country, is really all that radical.

            2. What’s interesting about the American Revolution is how firmly based it was in middle class values.

              And if you’ve ever seen Marxist critiques of the American Revolution, you know how true this is. It’s kind of amusing to watch them get all up in a lather.

              Similarly, Marzist readings of the Civil War are funny. I remember reading that the industrial North needed more “wage slaves”, so they freed the actual slaves to increase the potential labor supply and keep labor prices lower. The writer managed to implicitly suggest that actual slavery was better than “wage slavery”.

              1. What is even more funny is that a lot of Neo-confederates pick up on that same argument. Of course the neo confederates are anything but communists. And they would be shocked if they ever realized they were making a Marxist argument.

          3. Wrong. It was deeply conservative. Have you never heard of the Glorious Revolution or the Bill of Rights of 1688? Or the English Civil War and the Petition of Right? Or Magna Carta? The revolutionaries were vindicating their rights as free Englishmen against an overweening executive, just as the Roundheads did.

            1. +1. The American colonies were English. The English had their radical revolution in the Glorious Revolution. The American one was just a re-establishment of what they felt they had won in the prior ones.

            2. You said that much better than me.

      2. Another good thing about Jefferson – he didn’t hang out the “Mission Accomplished” banner too early.

    3. Jefferson had the unmitigated gall to question the existence of a god. Can’t have that. Banish him!

      1. I wonder if they are going to omit Thomas Paine on the same basis.

      2. No, he didn’t. Though not a Christian, he was always a very firm Deist, and, like Voltaire, recognized the moral dangers of atheism.

        1. In a famous and oft-quoted letter to his nephew, Jefferson advised him to “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”

        2. Jefferson was tricky, he was a firm believer, and big fan of Jesus and his teachings, and of the creator. But he didn’t believe in any of the supernatural parts such as immuaculate conception, the resurrection, water to wine. He thought organized Chrisatianity moved away from the teachings of Jesus and focused too much on the magic, he was known to give church leaders crap about it.

          Jefferson supported Jesus’s teachings, not what Christianity had become. Few, if any Christians today would accept someone as christian if they didn’t believe in the resurrection, and immaculate conception.

          1. Jefferson was similar to Paine in that regard (“My own mind is my own church.”)

  8. Apparently, if you give a small group of officials an immense amount of power over what gets taught in schools, ideological interest groups will try to capture the process.

    Let’s see if the outraged school board members can learn this lesson now that they’re on the losing side of this.

    1. Why would they? The other side clearly did not.

  9. Those wacky anti-science fundies

    Who said that?


    Who acted so hysterically that warranted that level of sarcasm?

    you guys sure are sensitive.

  10. Meanwhile, the Runaway Prius story has sprung a few leaks. Hoax?…..7319.story

    1. You call it a hoax, others call it a lucrative cause of action.

      1. Evidently the Prius owner is having a few financial difficulties. When it all comes out, I’ll enjoy the MSM retractions. In Bizarro World.

        1. I walked by a newspaper stand today, and USA Today had a cover story about Toyota owners who had died in crashes, with a headline like “will their families ever know for sure why they died”.

        2. The mechanics is settled!

    2. It was obvious to me from the start. The more info comes out, the more obvious it becomes to all.

    3. John Gomez, an attorney for Sikes said the failure to repeat the incident is insignificant and not surprising.

      “They have never been able to replicate an incident of sudden acceleration. Mr. Sikes never had a problem in the three years he owned this vehicle,” he said Sunday.

      *sniff sniff* Do I smell an opportunistic fraudulent lawsuit?

      1. Burden o’ proof.

        1. If I were a betting man I’d bet that Sikes planned the whole thing, complete with 991 call and a handy and corroborative highway patrolman. Not to mention a willing, sensationalist, piling-on, witch-hunting press. The climate was ripe for a lawsuit. And he appears to have had financial motives.

          1. 991 didn’t work so he tried 911 instead. Hey, he was under a lot of pressure.

            1. Sorry, wrong number. This is nine one…two…

  11. Nothing says, “college ready” like illiteracy.

  12. Mavis B. Knight, a Democrat from Dallas, introduced an amendment requiring that students study the reasons “the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others.”

    It was defeated on a party-line vote.

    Wow, what a victory. GO TEAM RED!!!

    1. Every action has a re-action. History curriculum have been politically driven for about fifty years now. And probably longer than that. Team Blue as you call it has managed to FUBAR high school history. It is not surprising then that Team Red will do the same thing once it gets its opportunity.

      1. What a resounding condemnation, John. Don’t strain yourself.

        1. If one side can make it a political circus, why can’t the other side? If anything maybe a balanced circus might be better than an unbalanced one.

          1. So two wrongs make a right, eh? Apparently you missed common kindergarten education.

            1. Since you have been so outraged and worked so hard against the leftist political bias of existing history texts, you have a lot of moral credibility in objecting to this. Oh that is right, you have never given a shit or even heard about the subject until today and are just scoring mindless political points for beloved Team Blue.


              1. Oh please, John, it was obvious from the start that you were going to softpedal the stupid parts of this little partisan exercise.

                In short:

                – Yeah for economics and history balancing
                – Boo for whitewashing away anything that might suggest we aren’t all God’s Christian children

                In case you missed the memo, I am not on TEAM BLUE. I just like torquing you about your predictable slavishness towards TEAM RED – and once again, you came through. I could have written down what you would say ahead of time.

                1. AO,

                  You are totally team blue. You have a nice act whereby you claim to be neither team, but somehow only Team Red’s actions ever seem to bother you.

                  1. Yeah, I got the mirror-image spiel from joe and still get it from MNG. Perhaps you could send them the memorandum that I apparently missed.

                    1. I don’t see MNG ever calling you Team Red. And I don’t see you ever getting particularly upset on threads were you disagree with him.

                    2. Did you know that MNG is a Shit Facktory?

                    3. Gobby hates me being his mom’s “friend” almost as much as she likes it…

                    4. “Did you know that MNG is a Shit Facktory?”

                      Aren’t we all.

                2. “I just like torquing you”……..

                  1. AO has gotten so easy to torque it is almost not fun anymore. Almost 😉

                    1. John
                      If you climb the mountain of retarded things you say at the apex, on a little flag, will be the charge that TAO is a liberal.

                      He’s too the left of you maybe, but then again so is Ghengis Kahn…

              2. I would send my kid to a private religious school before I would send him to a public school teaching that the founding fathers were early Pat Robertsons.

                1. Pick your poison. Founding fathers Pat Robertson or founding fathers evil greedy, racist white men who had no more effect on history than Harriot Tudman. Honestly, you need teach your kids history yourself, because the schools are incapable.

                  1. This is great… it’s like you’re getting a history of how history is taught from the same goofballs who want the original history rewritten.

                    The founders are placed on a plenty high pedestal in classrooms. If it’s mentioned that they owned slaves, well, they did.

                    These people want the Civil Rights movement to be explained as giving minorities unrealistic expectations of success in society. These people are ignorant rubes writing propaganda they heard on talk radio into textbooks. There is nothing to defend here.

                    1. That is right Tony. The last thing we need is our children actually knowing that Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs were guilty or that the United States was not responsible for starting the cold war.

                    2. Why is it impossible to teach kids that communism was a threat and that McCarthy was overboard?

                    3. Good question. We ought to be able to do that. But we never seem to be able to. And on the scale of crimes, McCarthyism is not even in the same league as Communism.

                    4. Yes let’s declare the controversies settled on those two issues… in the way that vindicates the Red Scare of course.

                      Have you read all of the changes they’re making? These are not historians (except in their own minds), they are ideologues rewriting textbooks to reflect their ultraconservative biases. You cannot think this is a good thing. Teach children facts. Where there aren’t facts, teach them the controversies.

                    5. “Where there aren’t facts, teach them the controversies.”

                      Like teaching “Never let a good crisis go to waste?”

                      Your internal self-exposure is illuminating, if not sickening.

                    6. Tony, they are better than historians. They are acquiring knowledge straight from the horse’s mouth. God is dictating to them;-)

                    7. Progressives, commies, greenies, fascists and all other forms of collectivists are quite guilty of the same thing.

                      However tangible their God, “The State”, may be, it has a remarkably poor record of revisionist history, thus fallible in all ways, as their God is Man.

                      What level of self-loathing is necessary for this?

                    8. I’ll take the state over God calling person-to-person. I would rather negotiate with a man, than crazies with delusions of grandeur.

                    9. And when the State is populated with crazies of delusional grandeur, negotiation is as mythical as changelings, especially if you believe they are furthering your ideology. Which might make one question your own sanity.

                      The Barnum Law is still in effect.

                    10. That’s what you get, Tony, when you put the government in charge of something: ignorant wankers who don’t know jack wielding power over everybody else.

                    11. But it is okay with Tony as long as it is his ignorant wankers running things. The real problem is those other ignorant wankers.

                      The answer to this is get the government out of the school business. The only reason anyone cares about this is that they have so much power over our children.

    2. The amendment in question does not mention “promoting” or “disfavoring.” It says “establishment.” That’s different.


    1. That’s good glassware. It’s what the Bilderbergers throw into the fire after they toast their global domination. Then they gaffaw.

  14. Imagine the outrage if Bush had done this:

    Venezuela’s Chavez calls for internet controls

    1. “The Internet cannot be something open where anything is said and done. Every country has to apply its own rules and norms,” Chavez said.

      Right on, Hugo!!

    2. There…there should be a bar for people like you!

      1. Based on your mancrush on Hugo-kins Mr. Penn, the Blue Oyster bar should be perfect.

        I’m sure Chony would be happy to lend you his chaps.

    3. Venezuela’s Chavez calls for internet controls

      Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, who is criticized by media freedom groups, called on Saturday for regulation of the Internet and singled out a website that he said falsely reported the murder of one of his ministers.

      Those of us who’ve been paying attention aren’t a bit surprised.

      Ramiro Valdes, 77, is one of only four remaining original rebels led by Fidel Castro in the 1950s in Cuba. By Cuban standards, he has had a remarkable career, serving the Castro brothers loyally for years in a variety of posts, some which made him notorious.

      Now, Valdes has accepted a new task outside Cuba that is raising skepticism. He arrived this week in Venezuela as a consultant for that country’s energy crisis.

      As interior minister, Valdes oversaw secret police operations and gained a reputation for being ruthless when it came to suppressing dissidents.

      “He’s known for his willingness to do crackdowns,” Bardach told CNN.

      Most recently, he has been in charge of the Internet on the communist island.

      1. Hopefully Sean Penn slapped himself, but I doubt it.

    4. I bet there is outrage in Venezuela. Fortunately Chavez is not President of the US.

  15. With the NASA shuttle fleet retiring due to safety and cost concerns, the U.S. agency has turned over space station crew transport to the Russian government at a cost of about $15 million per seat.

    Wait what?

    1. What’s the problem? If you look at cost per passenger transported and the safety record, this is a bargain.

  16. Someday you will see that my fears of the looming Animal Uprising were not so unfounded.

    First recorded fatal wolf attack in modern American history.

    1. “Candice Berner, a special education teacher who traveled among several rural schools on the Alaska Peninsula, 475 miles southwest of Anchorage, was attacked while jogging and listening to her iPod Monday evening on the deserted, 3-mile-long road that leads out from the village to its small airstrip.”

      She just as easily could have been trampled by a moose or eaten by a bear. In Alaska, unless you have a firearm, you are not the top of the food chain. Frankly, I kind of sympathize with the wolves on this one. Who runs through the bush in Alaska unarmed listening to an Ipod?

      1. It’s her own fault. Plkaying on her iPod was Stray Cat Strut. What else would you expect a pack of self respecting canines to do?

      2. Or, for that matter, why do they do it on the streets of Washington, D.C. If you’re not armed there you’re not at the top of the food chain, either.

        Recently a woman jogging in D.C. with an iPod on was run over by a truck. I begin to think that the human race has simply forgotten how to survive. “But that’s the government’s job!”

    2. If there was only a politician who understood the necessity of gaining air superiority over these monsters…

    3. Hopefully someone in the coroner’s office has the common sense to decapitate the corpse and drive a silver spike through its heart. You can never be too careful.

      1. Silver Nitrate infused paraffin solution instead of embalming fluid will suffice.

        Decapitation is too conspicuous and a silver spike is not cost effective.

        1. As usual, you guys have it completely wrong: werewolves are a myth. However, changelings are another matter.

    4. I hope that wolf is up for a Congressional Medal of Freedom or something. What a fucking hero.

    5. This actually may be my fault.

      On another board, I was arguing with someone about the movie FROZEN and asserted that the premise was stupid because North American wolves don’t kill people. European wolves loves them some people flesh, I said, but North American wolves don’t. And I offered the stunning lack of confirmed kills of humans by non-rabies-infested wolves.

      So of course to make me look bad, the wolves got together and decided to eat this lady.

      It’s like they heard that I was calling them pussies. “Huh? You talkin’ to us? You callin’ us pussies? We’ll SHOW YOU, mofo!”

      1. Wolf > Fluffy. Pwnage.

        1. Wolves > Republicans.

          I’ve been calling Republicans pussies for years and they still haven’t shown me nothin’. But I pick on wolves ONE TIME and there’s a dead chick by the side of the road, with wolf playing cards thrown all over her and a sign that says, “Now we have an iPod. Ho ho ho.”

          1. Fantastic reference.

            1. It was actually two.

              1. I know. But the “wolf playing cards” Apocalypse Now joke didn’t compare to the iPod bit. Maybe if she was jogging and out looking for mangoes. Or listening to The Doors on her iPod.

    6. Good. I would like to see Alaska run by wolves for a while.


  17. In the field of sociology, another conservative member, Barbara Cargill, won passage of an amendment requiring the teaching of “the importance of personal responsibility for life choices” in a section on teenage suicide, dating violence, sexuality, drug use and eating disorders.

    “The topic of sociology tends to blame society for everything,” Ms. Cargill said.

    Personal responsibility and free markets, a Team Red victory here is preferable to the Team Blue alternative.

    1. I do not have a problem with personal responsibility, but that is not the domain of sociology. That’s the doman of psychology. If you did not believe in sociology, you would not believe in the obvious benefits of a free-market system and how it benefits society as a whole.

      But shine on you ignorant diamond.

      1. Have you ever read any sociology texts? If you think the field in any way endorses personal responsibility, you might want to reconsider calling anyone ignorant.

        1. Seconded. I took sociology in college. Didn’t attend class much once I figured out I didn’t need to (passed with a B even though I went to class maybe ten times), but I read most of the textbook. Seemed like it was mostly devoted to figuring out how everyone’s personal problems were the fault of society rather than, you know, individual choices or behaviors.

          1. The sociology classes I took in undergrad seemed most interested in preaching the evils of suburbia and how it neglected propping and subsidizing dying inner business districts.

            And a lack of personal responsibility and the funding thereof with other people’s money.

      2. You really are a fucking ignorant dumb ass aren’t you?

        Texas school books address the issue in sociology.

        1. I thought personal responsibility was taught in the home.

          1. Parents and after-school specials are great at teaching about personal responsibility. Do they still have Health class (in Texas)?

            1. …after-school specials are great at teaching about personal responsibility.

              Yes. I got my sense of personal responsibility from watching these.

              1. “Strangers With Candy” is probably the most realistic depiction of high school I’ve ever seen (other than “Freaks and Geeks”). Amy Sedaris is one of the funniest living humans (and the whole cast is brilliant).

  18. Go SpaceX! I hope the Falcon 9 launch, when it happens, goes well. Won’t be surprised at all to see NASA leasing a Dragon to get astronauts to the ISS in a few years.

    1. We were just over @ John Glenn Research Center for a little bidness – the NASA folks were all about reminding us that cancellation of the Constellation program “didn’t mean we’re not going to Mars and the moon.” Of course it doesn’t.

      I very much like the dragon idea, although I didn’t see any testing of that type of propulsion system going on while we were there. I’ll suggest it next time we’re there – with full attribution to you, PL 🙂

      1. Dragon is, of course, being sold to NASA right now (well, soon) as a cargo ship. However, SpaceX is operating under the assumption that it will be used for manned spaceflight, so getting it tested and ready to take astronauts into orbit probably won’t take more than 2-3 years.

        NASA isn’t going to the Moon or to Mars. Not on anything it builds, anyway.

  19. By the way, Jim Phelps/Captain Oveur has died.

    1. He’s a Nazi, Price is. For all I know his name is Preissinger or Preishoffer. Oh, sure, he lived in Cleveland. But when the war broke out, he came back to the Fatherland like a good little Bundist. He spoke our lingo, so they sent him to spy school and fixed him up with phony dog tags.

      1. Another great role.

        1. Same guy. I am so stupid. Graves was the Nazi spy in Stalag 17? Wow. I never made that connection. I only remember him for Mission Impossible and Airplane.

    2. So is Peter Graves. Very sad day.

      So tell me Jimmy have you ever been in a cockpit

      No sir

      Have you ever seen a grown man naked?

      1. His brother, James Arness, also had a successful acting career.

        1. An intellectual carrot. The mind boggles.

          1. The Thing, I assume?

            Loved Gunsmoke as a kid.

    3. After Corey Haim and Merlin Olsen kicked the bucket, I wonder how many celebrities wondered if they’d be number three.

      1. Celebrities tend to be very self-absorbed “I’m special” type people.

        I doubt any of them gave it any thought at all, except for maybe “Anyone but me!”

      2. Or number four for that matter?

  20. attacked while jogging and listening to her iPod

    My level of sympathy is approximately zero, after reading this.

    Although it’s not as funny as the story about the guy hunting up around Kalispell who was attacked by a mountain lion after he dropped his rifle and ran (lionspeak for “EAT ME!”).

    1. “dropped his rifle and ran”

      That is called natural selection.

      1. I thought that was called “The French.”

  21. Pres Obama’s next great idea DNA samples upon arrest. As long as it is for the children.…..on-arrest/

    1. much can be learned from a DNA sample, which codes a person’s family ties, some health risks, and, according to some, can predict a propensity for violence.

      If it can predict a propensity for running for elective office, DNA sampling might be a good thing.

      1. Uh, don’t forget that these people think that running for office is a good and noble thing.

  22. In economics, the revisions add Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, two champions of free-market economic theory, among the usual list of economists to be studied, like Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. They also replaced the word “capitalism” throughout their texts with the “free-enterprise system.”

    First thought: there are serious economists who study Marx?

    1. You can be serious and still have something wrong with your brain.

      1. I love the guy.

    2. Who’s talking about serious economists? Do you think Marx should be expunged from history for schoolchildren?

      Marx is a much more important figure than Friedman or Hayek, though I don’t object to the latter being taught in schools.

      1. That is very true. Marx should be taught as an historical figure. He may have been wrong and evil. But he sure as hell was anything but unimportant.

        1. How else can you explain the 100s of millions of people killed by communism without Marx? It’d be like explaining House while never mentioning the character Hugh Laurie plays.

          1. You just don’t understand your post modern history. Those millions of people you speak of were killed by “Soviets” and “Fascists”. And it was mostly done in response to the threats of an aggressive imperialistic West. Marx had nothing to do with it.

            1. I reject that one John.

              Marx’s ideology was ammunition that future despotic regimes such like the Soviets needed.

              True, their political climates were the guns lacking said ammunition, but to say that Marx had nothing to with providing the Socialist/Communists the ideological ammo they needed (and withholding knowledge of the gun safety that is the logical outcome of said ideas) is pure bunk.

              1. Sorry Groovus. I was just being a smart ass. I didn’t mean a word of it. I totally agree with you. sorry to screw with you.

                1. No apologies necessary. My sarcasmometer is off today.

                  I’ll have to check the warranty on the thing.

            2. Why the hell do they study Maynard James Keenan in economics classes?

              1. To explicate his seminal work, The Microeconmic Effects of Prison Rape on Semi-Closed Economies.

              2. It would be a hell of a lot less damaging if they actually DID study the pride of Ravenna, OH in economics.

              3. Because he is awesome.

          2. Prince George?

        2. I’d actually like to see “The Communist Manifesto” widely read by schoolchildren. The stupidity of it should be readily visible to even a fifth grader with a minimal education, and Marx’s despotic tendencies would put to rest the mythology that anything good could ever come of communism, even in theory.

          We’ve been whitewashing it for far too long. Give them a look at the actual literature.

      2. Not from history, but from economics? Expunge away!

      3. Not saying that Marx shouldn’t be taught as a historical figure. Just saying that no mainstream economic school of thought takes Marx seriously. In 2010, Marx has about as much relevance to econ as Freud has to psychology. Which is to say, the only people who take either of them seriously are historians or LitCrit/Critical Theory grad students.

    3. Marx is very important and very good if you focus on his analysis of what *had* happened up till his era.

      As far as a pronosticator, he was way off. As far as a moral philospher and polical activist, downright evil.

      Here’s a good summary among other things Delong has written on ‘why Karl Marx matters to 21st century economists’.…..-2009.html

      1. Sure he matters to academic economists. But a high school economics class should focus on the principles of economics, those that all modern economists can agree on.

        I mean, we don’t teach math by presenting different mathematicians’ outlook on mathematics. It’s hard enough to get the substance through.

        1. those that all modern economists can agree on

          Good luck filling out a whole trimester with that.

          1. Big parts of micro are fairly uncontroversial, yet interesting and relevant.

  23. The legislation after Enron was nothing more than a boon for the accounting profession, a profession that exists almost solely due to government regulation. Is anyone surprised that legislation designed by congress and a group of accountants special interest group turned out to be shit.

  24. It’s surprising now to think that Congress was that gullible

    No, it isn’t.

  25. Dragon is, of course, being sold to NASA right now

    To be put on a shelf in Warehouse 13, right next to the Ark of the Covenant.

    1. Yeah, probably.

    2. They’ll be stored right next to the Social Security IOUs

  26. The utter failure of SARBOX is one of my pet peeves. It was passed in order to promote transparency and prevent financial collapse. Naturally, a few years later we had the biggest financial collapse in recorded history, due in large part to the lack of transparency in the derivatives markets.

    In a rational world, of course, there would have been a bill this last session of Congress passed with a veto-proof majority to repeal SARBOX, which has failed more spectacularly and conclusively than almost any regulation in history.

    In our only real world, not one Congressman has called for its repeal as far as I know.

    1. Don’t forget the massive costs SarbOx imposed, and continues to impose, on companies. For absolutely no f*cking benefit whatsoever.

      Oh, but a few months ago they quietly got rid of mark-to-market, which was enacted during the massive de-regulation of the Bush II years.

    2. Why would they RC?

      Failed do gooder regulatory legislation never gets repealed, regardless of efficacy (or lack thereof).

      Instead of cooking books outright, the derivatives market simply banked on regulators simply not being able to keep up with the debt instruments.

      SARBOX was passed not for what it would actually do, but for what further intrusive legislation would be enacted during the next “crisis”.

  27. The Texas textbook thing is an outrage. One can only hope real teachers are as liberal as they are accused of being so they can correct the lies for their students. I recommend a black permanent marker to rid these books of the ignorant lies these yokels want inserted. History according to GOP talking points, in one of the largest textbook markets in the country? I think I’m gonna be ill.

    1. Yes Tony. I am sure your side will get its propaganda out to. Don’t worry.

      1. John there’s not much point in debating this with you, is there, because you actually believe all this crap. American history is about brave, white Christian conservatives upholding the free market and Jesus against radical blacks and commies, the end.

        1. Pulling the race card already? That didn’t take long.

          As a Christian myself (not white and only marginally conservative, so make of that what you will), the thought of my future children believing half the crap they teach in schools these days is horrifying. It’s placed me squarely against the compulsory/public education system we have in this country. For good.

          This is a positive development. Perhaps the liberals who have for so long praised the monolithic values taught to American children en masse will join me. Parents concerned about the content their children are learning, regardless of their personal leanings or preferences, make good allies.

          As things stand, I find many things proposed for these textbooks objectionable. Fortunately, my own children will not be subjected to the will of conservative or liberal staffers.

          At worst, this is simply upholding the status quo when it comes to the market in education in general.

    2. Short of vouchers, the best reform for education is having the school curriculum decided by the local PTAs to avoid these large-scale propaganda fights.

      1. Think of what that would do to our national Democracy!!!!!

        When our neo-pagan founders established this country, they ALL favored control over the states by the federal government, to ensure that citizens adhered to their civic duty of voting, and voting in line with everyone else!

        My textbook tells me that, in spite of their Na’vi-assassinating ways, at the very least the beacons of EQUALITY and DEMOCRACY shone through at our founding. Please don’t challenge this. There’s a consensus.

    3. But, but the majority has spoken. What are you, some kind of crazy individualist who thinks government shouldn’t be deciding what children should be taught?

  28. Wow, I think you hit that nail square on the head dude. Well done.


    1. This is one of those rare moments where both anonymity bot and I are both willing to high-five Tony.

      1. Don’t encourage Tony. If he happens to be right, don’t forget that it’s for the wrong reasons.

        1. Yeah, that’s true, tragically.

  29. I wonder (no, I don’t) if there is clear language in SarBox which will lead to massive fines and imprisonment for Dick Fuld.

  30. When will our society be free of Dick’s patriarchal oppression of Jane? And why must Jack and Jill ceaselessly despoil the environment by depleting the aquifer and trampling the pristine forest vegetation?

    1. Jack and Jill went up the hill on an elephant.
      Jack and Jill went down the hill on an elephant.
      Jill got off the elephant.
      Jill helped Jack off the elephant.

      (Michelle loves this one)

      1. Jack and Jill went up the hill
        To fetch a pail of water.
        Stupid Jill forgot her pill
        And now they have a daughter.

    2. And the dish ran away with the spoon….

      Why must we condone government sanctifying what constitutes a relationship?

  31. Hey, you know how MNG claims to have always hated the filibuster even when they Republicans are in charge? I had forgotten that he used to be Mr. Nice Guy. I am kind of dense like that. Well, today I remembered and ran the right search. And sure enough found this little gem from 2005

    “Mr. Nice Guy|4.26.05 @ 12:44PM|#

    The Republicans wipe their asses with the Constitution just as much as the Democrats.

    It’s all about power-grabs that our founding fathers tried to protect us from. It’s all eroding before our eyes like Homer’s big pile of sugar.
    reply to this ”…..story-of-f

    The topic at hand was the Republicans using the nuclear option and how that went against history. So, I am not really buying the coming MNG excuse that he was talking about other things.

    1. So now John has started a Memory Project too!


      Kick his ass, John.

      1. The claim is so ridiculous. I know myself. It was awfully tempting for me to say “fuck the filibuster” back in 04 and 05. That is just human nature. It is insult to everyone’s intelligence for a partisan like MNG to claim that he was against the filibuster when it was working for his side.

        1. Remember that particular filibuster fight was over threats to end the filibuster for a SCOTUS nomination that I opposed (Roberts and Alito). You don’t think I was referring to the latter about the GOP “wiping their ass on the Constitution?” The filibuster is not in the Constitution, I know that.

          So fail John, but try again!

          1. MNG that makes no sense. Read the post it related to. The point Reason was making was that the Republicans were talking about destroying over a hundred years of practice. And here you come talking about how they are wiping their ass with the Constitution in a power grab. Either you were just writing some random snark about Republicans that had nothing whatsoever to do with the topic at hand or you were equating their threat to end the filibuster with “wiping their ass with the constitution”.

            The second option seems a lot more likely. The only way your comment makes any sense in context is for you to be talking about the filibuster. That is what the whole damn thread was about.

            1. But the filibuster is not in the Constitution. Everyone knows that.

              Of course the filibuster threat was related to a GOP SCOTUS nomination which does have something to do with the Constitution.

    2. Still, you have to admit, as Sht Facktories go, he’s one of the best.

    3. I don’t how you have the patience to continue to engage that dishonest fuckweasel. Good for you.

    4. I’m not sure how that post is supposed to prove I supported the filibuster John, can you elaborate?

    5. Additionally, it appears there was certainly someone writing as me on that thread. Do you really think I would say I would like to take a piss on the FDR memorial? I love FDR. He saved capitalism and this country…

      1. Oh just stop it.

        1. The Shit Factory is Exhibit A as to why Reason needs to finally implement a modern registration system.

      2. Crank that shit out! Make those quotas! Crank, crank crank, Shit Facktory!!

      3. I seem to recall there being two Mr Nice Guys here.

        1. at the least

      4. So someone parodied your handle, to write a unhumorous post?

  32. Moody’s: United States and United Kingdom governments both substantially closer to losing their AAA credit ratings.

    Nobody will be able to say that we weren’t given sufficient warning.

  33. I don’t how you have the patience to continue to engage that dishonest fuckweasel.

    Agreed. Better you than me.

    4.26.05 Never Forget

    1. Can you remind me which incident you’re referring to among the long list of things I’m never supposed to forget? I’m presuming it was something MNG said.

  34. From the first linked article on “No Child…”

    “I don’t accept that future for them. And I don’t accept that future for the United States of America,” Obama said.

    I don’t mind a President having a vision for the future of the country. But a guy who thinks he has *the* vision for the future for every single child in the country is a megalomaniac.

  35. When all else fails, blame the spoofers.

    “False Flag Attack!!”

  36. Reason needs to finally implement a modern registration system.


  37. Can you remind me which incident you’re referring to among the long list of things I’m never supposed to forget?

    See John’s 11:11AM comment.

    1. “See John 11:11” would’ve been funnier.

  38. company, had a successful

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