Archive for the ‘poverty’ Category


Hunger is Not a Positive Motivator for Children

18 July, 2009

Yesterday, I posted an older story about a religious cult in Baltimore in which a 21-month-old boy was starved to death because he would not say ‘amen.’  Starving a child is a notably ineffective way to change a child’s behaviour (and starving him to death even is even less effective).  Sadly, one state representative from Missouri would disagree. Read the rest of this entry ?


The Poverty of a Young Earth Viewpoint

10 July, 2009

When I was 12 years old, my father took me out of school for two days and we hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  As we passed the Temple Butte Limestone and the  Tonto formation (Muav Limestone, Bright Angel Shale and Tapeats Sandstone) we began taking samples of each layer, placing them in my almost empty backpack, and carrying them down to Phantom Ranch.  We sampled the Temple Butte (a nice exposure along the Kaibab Trail), the Tonto, the accessible Grand Canyon Group, the Vishnu Schist and the Zoroaster Granite.  We also sampled the dikes and sills within the metamorphosed pre-Cambrian formations.  By the time we got to the bottom, my pack weighed around 60 pounds.  Those rocks came out of the canyon by mule.  We repeated the process on the way up, sampling the Redwall Limestone, the Supai Group, the Hermit Shale, Coconino Sandstone, Toroweap Limestone and Kaibab Limestone.

Ordinarily, this would be illegal as all get-out, but my dad was a Park Ranger and we were collecting the rocks for the museum at Yavapai Point.  Years later, when I visited the canyon again, I was rather put-out.  The large rocks we had hauled up and down the canyon trails had been cut down to samples twice the size of my fist.  I carried rocks three times the size, and they cut them down to little bitty pieces.  We could have chopped them down to size before lugging them around.

 According to more than half of Americans, the Grand Canyon is a monument to Noah’s Flood.   The shales, limestones, sandstones, lava flows, block faulting of the Grand Canyon Supergroup, the metamorphic Vishnu Schist and Zoroaster Granite (metamorphosed from sandstone, limestone, shale and lava flows) were deposited during and directly after the Noatic flood.  Read the rest of this entry ?


Pope Wrong Again

17 March, 2009

The Catholic Church does not like birth control.  If a man gets his vas cut, cauterized, folded and stapled, he is sinning.  If a woman takes the pill, she is sinning.  If a teenage boy shows that he is not a pig by using a condom, he is sinning.  This is the churches position:  abstention, unless you are trying to create a baby (which brings up the question of whether abstention is birth control).  Because we should always take sexual advice from septuagenarian virgins wearing silly clothes.  Of course, when people with no experience in reproductive health jump in, bad things happen. Read the rest of this entry ?


Republican Voting and Death

17 December, 2008

The Republican Party has,  for the past several election cycles, become a regional party based primarily in the intermountain west (Montana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, parts of Colorado and Arizona) and the evangelical south (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri).  This map shows it pretty clearly:11-09_election-countypurplemap


  Read the rest of this entry ?


Vote Science

3 November, 2008

One of the more disturbing trends in American politics is Know-Nothing-ism.  The actual Know Nothingists were an 1850s party (even before Ric’s time) who were trying to save America for the Americans and keep out all those whiskey-besotted Catholic Irishmen.  Though the Know-Nothing Party had a short life, the continuation of the attitude has a long and healthy history, mostly among reactionary and conservative voters.

Modern conservatism is a know-nothing party on multiple levels.  One level is the intense secrecy.  The Republican Party is secretive to the point of psychosis.  Even routine memos and public statements are labeled secret.  No part of our government is too insignificant or harmless to be hidden from the eyes of the citizens.  Part of this does, to be honest, make sense.  I think that many citizens would be horrified if they found out who was helping the political appointees make the rules. Read the rest of this entry ?


Naif or Cynic

29 October, 2008

I am (compared to some) fairly young.  I turn 43 early next year.  My experience with Presidential politics includes Ford versus Carter;  Reagan versus Carter;  Mondale versus Reagan;  Dukakis versus Bush;  Bush versus Clinton;  Clinton versus Dole;  Gore versus Bush;  Bush versus Kerry.  These are the elections of which I was concurrently aware.  Well, Ford versus Carter I don’t remember all that well, being all of ten at the time. 

During each of these elections, I felt detached.  Reagan seemed like a nice guy, but I disagreed with what he planned to do to me!  Each candidate, of both parties, left me with the same feeling.  This is what I, Clinton, plan to do to you!  This is what I, Bush, plan to do to you!  Whether I agreed or disagreed with the political positions of each politician, the planks in their platform, their philosophy of government, I felt like an observer rather than a participant. Read the rest of this entry ?


One Subject Voters

20 October, 2008

Sometimes I’m slow.  And not just while trying to run.  For instance, it took me about three days to process a conversation I had with a ‘friend.’  She is a committed Roman Catholic and, when it comes to most social issues, rather liberal — for instance, she wants higher taxes on the rich so the nation can afford programs for the poor (in other words, socialism (or at least that’s what McCain and his psychophants (intentional misspelling) call it)).

Back in late September, the Bishop Martino ordered all the priests in the Scranton Diocese to read a letter in church (see the article in the Times Leader).  In short, the Bishop told his flock that the only thing a Catholic voter should consider in the voting booth is abortion.  No other policy matters.

Read the rest of this entry ?


An Overheard Conversation

9 September, 2008

(((Wife))) and I had some business to take care of this morning.  To the bank (transfer some dough to (((Boy)))’s account to pay for his back ground checks), the bakery (gluten free cinnamon rolls, cookies, and almond biscotti) and the grocery store.  One of the many nice things about living in a city is choices.  We have three different grocery stores which we frequent;  each one has a different specialty.  Today, we stopped at Sunshine.

Sunshine is an independent and is absolutely huge.  It gives them plenty of shelf space to carry odd items (such as Campbell’s Pepper Pot and Scotch Broth soups).  The store also carries the best ham shanks I’ve ever had.  These aren’t the itty-bitty little hamhocks with a thick skin and a morsel of meat.  The hame shanks at this store are about a pound-and-a-half of meat with two relatively small bones.  Anyway, decided to get the ham shanks because it has gotten cold (a front came through and tonight’s low will be in the mid-40s) so a good bean soup will be delicious.

One minor problem at Sunshine is that, no matter how many people work the deli counter, it’s never enough.  I had ticket 946.  The wall display showed 36.  I knew I had a good wait, so (((Wife))) went off to find cheese (for the manioc rolls to go with the soup), celery, and iced tea jugs.

While waiting, I couldn’t help but notice a family waiting for their turn.  Mom, Dad, and four kids.  I’ve been trying to find a way to describe them without insulting West Virginia (I did live in West Virginia for a while) or Oklahoma, but I can’t.  Their clothing had that overwashed look — not dirty, but faded into a gray sameness which bespoke poverty.  All (except the dad) had gold crosses hanging from their neck by a piece of rough twine.  I have to assume the kids are home schooled as today is Tuesday and it was 10:30am. 

I heard a shout (well, not really a shout, but it rose above the normal background rumble).  Dad turned and swatted a magazine out of the hand of the oldest girl (she looked about 10 to 12).  He then told her, “Pick it up.”  She did.  “Give it to me.”  She did.  “Why are you reading this?”

“Sir.  I was bored, sir,” the girl answered.  (Throughout the conversation, I kept flashing back to basic training.)

“Are you supposed to be reading this?” he asked.

“No, sir.” 

“Are you allowed to read this?”

“No, sir.”

“Is this the good book?”

“No, sir.”

“This will be discussed at home.”

“Yes, sir.”

Their number came up.  Mom bought a pound of American Cheese, two pounds of bologna, and a pound of scrapple.

I sidled over to the bench and glanced at the magazine:  Time.  From three months ago.

I have to wonder.  What books are appropriate in that home?  My guess would be the Bible.  Apparently, this is not all that uncommon.  I also have to wonder (and I am assuming that these kids are being home schooled) whether the education they are recieving will equip them to become productive members of society?  My guess would be no.

I realize I am reading quite a bit into one short conversation.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe the kids are getting a good, well-rounded education based on critical thinking and analysis.  Maybe the Bible is NOT the only book in the house.  Maybe the kids will step out of poverty and into middle-class America.  And maybe giant winged porcupines will fly backwards out of my ass. 

Hey. It could happen, right?