January 2005


From: senator_allen@allen.senate.gov

Dear James:

Thank you for contacting me regarding President Bush’s nomination of Alberto Gonzales to become the next Attorney General of the United States.  I appreciate your concerns and value to opportunity to respond.

I applaud President Bush’s nomination of Alberto Gonzalez. He is the embodiment of the American dream, a man whose hard work, legal sense and intellect have already lifted him to some of the highest positions of trust in our nation. I look forward to his confirmation hearings and a fair vote before the U.S. Senate. I am confident that he will make an outstanding U.S. Attorney General.

Once again, I appreciate you contacting me regarding this matter and hope you will not hesitate to contact me again about issues important to you.

If you would like to receive an e-mail newsletter about my initiatives to improve America, please sign up on my website (http://allen.senate.gov).  It is an honor to serve you in the United States Senate, and I look forward to working with you to make Virginia and America a better place to live, learn, work and raise a family.

With warm regards, I remain

Sincerely,

Senator George Allen

Just watched Michael Moore’s 1997 movie “The Big One”. (more…)

Does anyone else read this and view this as anything BUT an abuse of authority?

When I was a child I made all kinds of messed up drawings. I’m sure some of you have read my dirty haikus. Were they felonies? I talked about other students being dead. Maybe the police should have draggedme away in handcuffs?

Article below. I am fucking outraged:

Boys arrested for stick figure drawings [cnn.com]
Wednesday, January 26, 2005 Posted: 7:29 AM EST (1229 GMT)

OCALA, Florida (AP) — Two boys were arrested for making pencil-and-crayon stick figure drawings depicting a 10-year-old classmate being stabbed and hung, police said. The children, charged with a felony, were taken from school in handcuffs.

The 9- and 10-year-old boys were arrested Monday and charged with making a written threat to kill or harm another person. They were also suspended from school.

One drawing showed the two boys standing on either side of the other boy and “holding knives pointed through” his body, according to a police report. The figures were identified by written names or initials.

Another drawing showed a stick figure hanging, tears falling from his eyes, with two other stick figures standing below him. Other pieces of scrap paper listed misspelled profanities and the initials of the boy who was allegedly threatened.

The boys’ parents said they thought the children should be punished by the school and families, not the legal system.

Helpful camping hint: I hear “Avon Skin-So-Soft” brand soap helps prevent mosquito bites while camping. Some groups of park rangers are using it. While not specifically designed to repel mosquitos, new science is currently coming out that mosquitos are attracted to an order ALL of us emit; only some of us mask it. Apparantly, this soap masks it as well.

See article below and sign the petition at:
http://action.virginia21.org/petition/

I myself have personally been effected by high-priced textbooks.  Spending $100 on a book that is a “new edition” (via the change of 10 or so pages of content) while never realizing the “old edition” would be good enough to learn the concepts at hand. As a student, I spent many Ramen-noodle meals on overpriced textbooks!

Article:

Va. public-school students would have more options under legislator’s plan
BY GARY ROBERTSON TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER

Del. G. Glenn Oder, R-Newport News, says one of his daughters, a junior political-science major at the College of William and Mary, recently spent $600 on books.

And a woman who was taking an evening education course told him she had spent $94 for a textbook. At the end of the class, she had to tear pages out of the book to take a test — which meant the book couldn’t be resold, Oder said.

Those are some of the reasons that Oder is sponsoring what is being called the Textbook Market Fairness Act.

“This is a step toward halting the rapid rise of textbook prices,”
Oder said, noting that students will be able to “level the playing
field” by being able to buy books without going through the college bookstore. He said a free and fair market for textbooks does not exist. [So true! -Clint]

His proposal, now in the House Education Committee, seeks to prohibit publishers from giving inducements to public-college professors or other employees for requiring students to purchase specific textbooks.  It also would require colleges to post assigned textbooks on their Web sites as soon as professors decide on them, so students could search elsewhere for books. “I would expect that students could save as much as 20 to 40 percent,” Oder said.

He said a companion study would seek to investigate the entire system of college textbooks sales. Oder credited Virginia21, a group that seeks to mobilize those in the 18-24 age group on nonpartisan issues, for pressing for reform in textbook sales. Sumeet Bagai, Virginia Tech’s student-body president, said, “As any student or parent with a child in college knows, the price of textbooks has gotten out of control.”

He said more than 3,000 students at public colleges throughout the state have already signed the Petition for Textbook Fairness. Oder said he expects the number of online signatures for the petition in support of his bill to multiply as students become aware of the petition.

A ranking spokesman for the Association of American Publishers was at yesterday’s news conference announcing the textbook initiative, to offer his industry’s perspective.

“Publishers do not overcharge for textbooks,” said J. Bruce
Hildebrand, executive director for higher education for the publishers association. “The significant, upfront investment for a textbook must be spread over a small, niche market,” he said. [Typical excrement from a corporate fatcat. -CL.]

Contact Gary Robertson at (804) 649-6346 or grobertson@timesdispatch.com.

After 3 (or 4?) very hard winters, we finally have heat in our house again!

(3-ton capacity heat pump in our attic, underutilized until the rest of our addition is built so it can only get the house up to about 67 degrees.)

I’m very happy! Went barefoot and everything.

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/01/14/2254236&tid=191&tid=123

Friar_MJK writes “Now even traditionally non-tech-savvy farmers are getting the rap for piracy. This isn’t your grandma’s p2p filesharing, but rather replanting bio-engineered seeds.  Somehow the powers-that-be got the idea that replanting seeds grown from your own soil is a crime. A company called Monsanto sells those specially engineered seeds, and according to their license agreements, they make it illegal to replant the seeds harvested from a previous crop. To enforce this, they have brought many hard-working farmers to court and even thrown some in jail. According to the story, the company has not lost a case yet.”

This totally reeks. JoeBuck writes: “…There’s a problem with this. He was doing what plant breeders have been doing for ten thousand years: noticing which plants have a desirable property and saving the seeds from those. Monsanto is basically arguing for the end of agriculture as it was traditionally carried out, and certainly the end of subsistence agriculture (as their seeds, if they have a property that lets them out-compete other seeds, will spread everywhere).  You’ll either pay Monsanto or you won’t eat.”

Do people out there really not see how the corporations are attempting to close in on and control most aspects of our lives? Capitalism is our own worst enemy when allowed to grow unchecked. Although I am somewhat of a Libertarian, this is exactly why government must indeed stay somewhat involved in things — to protect its citizenry.

Of course, you could argue that government involvement is what created this: We never should have allowed lifeforms to be patented. I was against this from Biological Patent Day 1. Hate to say I told you so…

Welcome to the New World Order, where all food and water is privatized.  Only the rich eat. 

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