Week of 13 April 2009
Update: Sunday, 19 April 2009 12:31 -0500
I'm still working on our taxes, but at least I've gotten far enough to
know we're not going to have to pay more than we've already paid. If I
get the taxes finished in time, I may head down to the Tea Party
on Wednesday. Probably not, though. I'm sure it'll be too tame for my
taste. I doubt they'll even hang Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and Frank in
effigy, let alone really hang any politicians. That, I'd show up to
watch. I can certainly think of quite a few local politicians
who'd look much better dangling from lampposts.
commented that this new Tea Party movement wasn't at all the
same as the original because we're no longer a colony of a foreign
country. But we're all colonies of Washington, DC, which might as well
be a foreign country. King George II has been deposed, but King Barack
I has taken his place. Meet the new boss...
- The taxes are done, copies scanned, and in the mail. Now friends and family can approach me again without fear of being fanged.
as I was starting on the taxes, Barbara found something I hadn't
thought about in years. When I started the MBA program at Wake Forest's
Babcock School of Management back in 1983, I already had an HP-12C
business calculator. But the package they provided to new students
included a TI Business Analyst II calculator. Barbara found my old,
almost-unused TI BA-II calculator. As long as I was scanning the tax
returns, I decided to scan an image of the old calculator.
When I pressed the On button, I was surprised to see the calculator fire up. So I used it while I was doing the taxes.
And here's an interesting link forwarded to me by my old friend Paul Robichaux. A pretty complete home molecular biology lab for $1,000
via eBay. I'm planning to write some stuff eventually about doing
molecular biology and recombinant DNA in a home lab, so this is useful.
Ah, it's springtime and love is in the air. Young couples around the
world are making plans for their future lives together. Except, of
course, those young couples unfortunate enough to live in countries
ruled by Islamic nutters. In Afghanistan, just yesterday, the mullahs stood such a young couple against a wall and shot them to death. The real face of Islam. It isn't pretty.
Tax Day, which I always argue should also be the day before Election
Day. It's no mistake that the two are instead about as far apart as
possible on the calendar.
I'd also like to see an end to
withholding, which was instituted as a temporary measure in
WWII, for the duration of the emergency. Almost 70 years later,
that "temporary measure" is still with us. If everyone had to write a
check for the full amount of the taxes due and send it in with their
tax returns, things would change fast.
Today is one of my favorite days of the year, because I won't have to
worry about doing tax returns for another full year. Of course, there
are only two weeks left in April, and I have a full month's worth of
work to get done before May. So I'd better get to it.
North Carolina has changed its sex education policies for middle
schools. Until now, it was local option, with a few school systems
choosing comprehensive sex education, but most choosing the
abstinence-only method. As of now, each school system will offer
parents of middle-school students three options: comprehensive,
abstinence-only, or none. If a parent does not indicate a preference
for one of the first two, the student will by default receive no sex
education at all.
Editorial writers are hailing this as an
everyone-wins decision. Religious fundamentalists can choose
abstinence-only or (more likely) none, and sane parents can choose the
comprehensive course. In reality, it's an everyone-loses decision.
Those kids whose parents choose the comprehensive option would have
been taught by their parents about birth control and STDs anyway. (My
friend Kim, for example, long ago had The Talk with Jasmine, who turns
16 in June.) The vast majority of teen pregnancies and STD cases arise
among the kids exposed to the abstinence-only and none options, which
this decision does nothing to improve.
Right now, about one
third of North Carolina 9th graders are sexually active. The religious
fundamentalists delude themselves with the bizarre hope that if no one
mentions sex to their kids, their kids won't realize they can have sex.
Duh. They are having sex, and no good can come of refusing to recognize
Sex education, or the lack thereof, is a public health
issue. Our schools require that children be immunized against common
diseases, despite the fact that a few religious nutter parents object
to such immunizations. Even homeschooled students must be immunized.
Given the fact that STDs, including the never-get-overs, are rampant
among teenagers--for example, I recently read a study that found that
40% of black teenage girls have STDs--how could any sane person
consider comprehensive sex education to be optional? Refusing
comprehensive sex education is playing Russian Roulette with our kids'
- A friend let us borrow DVDs of several of the Michael Palin travelogue programs, Around the World in 80 Days, Himalaya,
and so on. Barbara likes them. I can't stand them. Palin spends most of
his time talking to ordinary people in the places he visits. Ordinary
people are generally boring, and these are no exception. The time he
wastes asking these people what they think about something or other
could much better have been spent actually exploring the interesting
stuff in the places he visits. I want to know about the geography, the
buildings, the historical significance of the places, and so on,
all of which Palin pretty much ignores in favor of endless
conversations with boring people.
These programs are travelogues
only in the sense that Palin visits different places. Otherwise, he
could simply have titled these things Lots & Lots of Boring Conversations with Lots & Lots of Boring People. Of course, Palin himself is boring, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.
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