Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Is it possible that you’re biased? Find out here

Good Day World!

Are you biased?

Not sure?

Would you like to know if you are?

Psychologists at Harvard, the University of Virginia and the University of Washington created "Project Implicit" to develop Hidden Bias Tests — called Implicit Association Tests - to measure unconscious bias.

To take Project Implicit's Hidden Bias Tests, click here. You may be asked to register.

ABOUT STEREOTYPES AND PREJUDICES

Hidden Bias Tests measure unconscious, or automatic, biases. Your willingness to examine your own possible biases is an important step in understanding the roots of stereotypes and prejudice in our society.

The ability to distinguish friend from foe helped early humans survive, and the ability to quickly and automatically categorize people is a fundamental quality of the human mind.

Categories give order to life, and every day, we group other people into categories based on social and other characteristics.

This is the foundation of stereotypes, prejudice and, ultimately, discrimination.

You’ll learn about:

Definition of terms - How do we learn prejudice? - How are our biases reinforced? - How do we perpetuate bias? - About Hidden Bias – and more.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Funny News Reviews: Condom truck tips, spills load & more

A-RodGood Day World!

With all the bad news that seems to dominate the mainstream media – and social media – I thought it would be a nice change of pace to read some funny news stories/headlines.

THIS STORY SMELLS

When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for.

Police arrived at the scene to find an ill man curled up next to a motor home trying to steal gasoline and plugged his hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

CASH MACHINE DOESN’T PAY OFF

Two men tried to pull the front off a cash machine by running a chain from the machine to the bumper of their pickup truck.

Instead of pulling the front panel off the machine, though, they pulled the bumper off their truck. Scared, they left the scene and drove home.

With the chain still attached to the machine.
With their bumper still attached to the chain.
With their vehicle's license plate still attached to the bumper!

ACTUAL NEWSPAPER HEADLINES

  1. Sex Education Delayed, Teachers Request Training
  2. Plane Too Close to Ground, Crash Probe Told
  3. Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
  4. Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge
  5. Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
  6. Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted
  7. Drunk Gets Nine Months in Violin Case
  8. Survivor of Siamese Twins Joins Parents
  9. Farmer Bill Dies in House
  10. New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
  11. Is There a Ring of Debris around Uranus?
  12. Stud Tires Out

Bra News

CHECK IT OUT

Drug-possession defendant Christopher Johns, on trial in March in Pontiac, Michigan, said he had been searched without a warrant.

The prosecutor said the officer didn't need a warrant because a "bulge" in Christopher's jacket could have been a gun. Nonsense, said Christopher, who happened to be wearing the same jacket that day in court.

He handed it over so the judge could see it. The judge discovered a packet of cocaine in the pocket and laughed so hard he required a five-minute recess to compose himself. (Source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

Monday, October 27, 2014

What a Weird and Wonderful Beard Competition

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR JUST FOR MEN - The Just For Men World Beard and Moustache Championships crowned 18 title winners, highlighting the best and bold...

Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer / AP

                                                        Good Day World!

Snidley Whiplash” would have been envious.

Over 300 dudes gathered for the Just For Men World Beard and Moustache Championships in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, Oct.25th.

Talk about knarly beards. The competition, held at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront and Keller Auditorium, awarded 18 titles in categories ranging from "Dali" to "Fu Manchue" and "Freestyle Full Beard."

Nine foreign countries fielded competitors for the unusual competitions.  Judges looked for moustaches and beards that enhanced, "appearance, style and personality."

There was some controversy about the event.

Another World Beard and Moustache Championship protested the Portland event on Friday, calling the event "a fraud."

But that didn't stop the contest from being entertaining. People had a lot of fun. Go Here for a slideshow of cool beards and staches.

I hope the contest comes back next year, as I might enter it. I once won a beard contest 30 years ago. Maybe it’s time to come out of retirement and see if my whiter version stands a chance!

Time for me to walk on down the road…  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

‘Religious Right’ Resorts to Lies About Being Forced to Perform Gay Marriages

Good Day World!

The Religious Right is reeling.

The federal government has recognized gay marriage in six more states, extending federal benefits to those couples.

The federal government has opened the door to gay marriage and the Religious Right is striking back with false stories about how churches are being forced to violate their beliefs to comply.

For example:

A couple from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho claim they are being forced to perform same-sex weddings in their wedding chapel, despite it being against their religious beliefs.

Donald and Evelyn Knapp are ordained ministers who run the Hitching Post, a wedding chapel that operates under the International Church of the Four Square, an evangelical Pentecostal sect.

The Knapps claim they were told they must start performing same-sex weddings, or face fines and possible jail time for violating a city ordinance.

The Knapps quickly claimed religious discrimination said their worst fears have come true. Churches are now being forced to perform same-sex weddings.

Hold on there for a moment. Here’s the rest of that story:

A slight hitch (pardon the pun): the chapel is not a non-profit ministry, but a for-profit company, which means it’s required by law to follow state and federal laws.

Real churches are non-profits, and are not being forced to comply with any government regulations.

More on the subject:

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Kratom is Kinda like Marijuana: Read This and Compare

Mitragyna Speciosa - Kratom

Good Day World!

Have you ever heard of a plant called Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa)?

It’s leaves have been used for medicinal properties for many centuries. It is psychoactive. You can chew the leaves to perk up your mood, or to treat health problems.

Kratom is indigenous to Thailand. It’s been outlawed for 70 years because it was reducing the Thai government's tax revenue from opium distribution.

Kratom is becoming popular in the United States. It’s easy to see why.

On this website you will find information on the botany and safe usage of kratom, as well as recipes and experiences in several languages.

Here’s a first-hand account of someone’s experience with Kratom.

I am in no way advocating the use of Kratom.

As always, I’m sharing knowledge about this world we live in. Sometimes that knowledge is controversial, but still worth sharing in my opinion.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, October 24, 2014

New Sport: Fence Jumping at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

                                   Good Day World!

It looks like jumping the fence surrounding the White House is fast becoming the thing to do if you’re a lunatic or fanatic…or, if you’re just plain stupid.

The latest jumper, Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Maryland, ended up getting in a fight with two K-9 officers. Mr. Adesanya would be classified a lunatic. This was his third (!) go-around at jumping the White House fence.

Last months jumper was, Omar J. Gonzalez. Of all the jumpers over the years, he was the first to make it inside the White House. He was armed with a knife. I classify him somewhere between a lunatic and fanatic.

Six people have jumped the White House fence this year."The Secret Service has apprehended sixteen individuals who have jumped the fence in the last five years.

In this age of extremism, any kind of odd thrill quickly ends up either becoming a reality show on TV, or a new sport.

With that thought burning a hole in your head let’s take a quick stroll through fantasyland to see how White House Fence Jumping could become a national sport someday!

2016 WHITE HOUSE FENCE JUMPING COMPETION UNDERWAY

After two years of national competitions open to the public, White House Fence Jumping is more popular than ever before. Several pro clubs have sprung up from various regions in the country.

But to keep a cutting edge to the sport it needed ramped up a bit. That’s why national organizers came up with something specialpoliticians running for their lives in a bid to become the leader of the free world.  

The upcoming presidential election cycle will feature a group of presidential candidates – Republican and Democrats – in the Jump and Run 100-Yard Category. They’ll have to overcome obstacles like K-9 officers and Secret Service Agents with batons.

The idea is to see how badly they want to become president. Survivors will be eligible for the next phase of competition – a freestyle jump over the fence with an emphasis on originality and air time.

Fox News and CNN will be sponsoring the competition.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Reflections on a Hermit: Christopher Knight Was for 27 years

Good Day World!

I was talking with a friend the other day about hermits.

The subject somehow evolved to that loon tune, Eric Frein (not a hermit), who shot two Pennsylvania state troopers, killing one, and seriously wounding the other during a midnight ambush on a rural police barracks in Blooming Grove, Pa., on Sept. 12.

(Photo Eric Frein via Google Images)

We wondered how long Frein was going to be able to elude authorities. Would he end up becoming a fugitive hermit and live in the woods the rest of his life?

I suspect Frein will be found. It’s just a matter of when. Until then, he’ll be living like a hermit.

Christopher Knight, the

Which brings me to the interesting story of Christopher Knight, aka The North Pond Hermit.”

(Photo of Christopher Knight via Portland Press Herald)

He was never a threat to anyone, and actually became somewhat of a local myth in Maine.

Before he was arrested for stealing food at a camp lodge in April of 2013, Knight lived in a crude makeshift camp deep in the woods. He went 27 years without speaking to another human – with the exception of saying “hi” once to some campers who saw him.

Some residents say they've been aware of the “hermit” for years, often in connection with break-ins that have occurred. He was so well known to some summer cottage owners that they left food out for him so he wouldn't break in during the colder months.

But others were hardly aware of him living within their midst without detection since 1986.

Knight's living quarters in the woods included a tent covered by tarps suspended between trees, a bed, propane cooking stoves and a battery-run radio, which he used to keep up with the news and listen to talk radio and a rock station, according to authorities.

Despite Maine's harsh winters, during which temperatures sometimes struggle to get above 10 degrees for a week at a time, Knight stayed at his encampment and avoided making campfires so he wouldn't be detected, and he used propane only for cooking.

When arrested, Knight was clean-shaven and his hair was cut short, in contrast to the iconic hermit with a shaggy beard and long hair. He was still using his aviator-style eyeglasses from the 1980s.

Why did Knight chose to become a hermit? No one knows why. He won’t say. We’re left to wonder why a person would lead such a lonely hardscrabble life. Perhaps he knew something that you, and I, don’t.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Politicians ‘breaking bad’ during current elections

View image on Twitter

Good Day World!

Today is all about politicians “breaking bad.”

I’ve got some examples for you today among current politicians who are seeking office.

Let’s start off with Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (photo) who has been arrested on felony ethics charges, and accused of using public office for personal gain.

Hubbard was indicted by a grand jury on 23 charges accusing him of misusing his office as speaker and his previous post as chairman of the Alabama Republican Party. (source)

Queens Sen. Malcolm Smith Smith, a former Democratic majority leader, has pleaded not guilty to charges he tried to bribe his way on to last year’s GOP mayoral ballot. He is being challenged by former Councilman Leroy Comrie Jr.

In some legislatures, indicted politicians might hesitate to run for office — but not in Albany.

Queens Sen. Malcolm Smith Smith (photo right), a former Democratic majority leader, has pleaded not guilty to charges he tried to bribe his way on to last year’s GOP mayoral ballot.

Smith, a former Democratic majority leader, has pleaded not guilty to charges he tried to bribe his way on to last year’s GOP mayoral ballot.

(photo by RICHARD HARBUS/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

He is being challenged by former Councilman Leroy Comrie Jr.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiSen. John Sampson (center left), another former Senate Democratic leader, is awaiting trial on charges he embezzled money from foreclosure sales he handled as a court-appointed referee.

Sampson, another former Senate Democratic leader, is awaiting trial on charges he embezzled money from foreclosure sales he handled as a court-appointed referee.

(Photo by ANTHONY DELMUNDO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

A third senator facing federal charges, Deputy GOP leader Thomas Libous of upstate Binghamton, also faces a primary challenge from little-known businessman Denver Jones.A third senator facing federal charges, Deputy GOP leader Thomas Libous (photo right) of upstate Binghamton, also faces a primary challenge from little-known businessman Denver Jones. (Photo by SUSAN STAVA/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEW

Political observers view the city’s Senate primaries — which involve only Democrats — as the entertaining opening act to the larger battle for control of the chamber that will be fought statewide in November.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

 

 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why Oregon Sheriffs Are Against Legalizing Marijuana

Good Day World!

Oregon is on my mind again today.

Yesterday, I took a look at an Oregonian politician, Dallas Heard. His campaign to get elected in November has been controversial. Read my post below on this bad boy.

Today, let’s have a look at what is one of the most controversial items on the November ballot – Measure 91. It’s about legalizing marijuana.

 When public money disappeared to bring Kevin Sabet to "educate" Oregonians about the perils of legalizing marijuana under Measure 91, the Oregon Sheriffs Association stepped up quickly to replace the $15,000 needed to pay Sabet and continue the Oregon Marijuana "Education" Tour & Summit that only happens in October when legalization is on the ballot the following November.

A look at the funding for the No on 91 Campaign shows that of the $167,425 they've reported as of today, a whopping 98.6% of that came from the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association and the Oregon Narcotics Enforcement Association... in fact, they are the only donors over $500.

Why do you suppose that the cops in Oregon are so hell-bent on ensuring that marijuana remains illegal in Oregon?  After all, marijuana was decriminalized in 1973. It's no big deal, says No on 91 spokesperson Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis, “You didn’t get a free ride in a police car.

You didn’t have a criminal record. That’s what less than an ounce of marijuana is in Oregon.” And, of course, we have 69,000 medical marijuana patients and another 34,000 or more caregivers and maybe 15,000 growers -- potentially well over 100,000 Oregonians whose marijuana cultivation and possession are protected under the law.

So why the big push by cops to keep the greater-than-one-ounce possession and non-medical-cultivation-and-sales crimes on the books?

Simple. As Rick Steves says, "follow the money."

The State of Oregon produces an annual report on Asset Forfeiture in the state. You may have read the Washington Post's story or seen John Oliver's segment on this practice. Basically, asset forfeiture is when cops steal your cash, car, home, and other valuables, under the pretense that it was all ill-gotten proceeds of criminal activity.

According to the Oregon 2013 Asset Forfeiture Report, criminal and civil asset forfeitures grossed $3.6 million for the state, $2.5 million of that in cash. After costs and distributions, the net proceeds were $1.7 million.  19 police agencies made 136 criminal seizures and 24 agencies made 258 civil seizures. Of these 394 seizures, 330 (84%) were uncontested  by the owners -- it is somewhat difficult to hire a lawyer to get your seized cash when you have no cash for the lawyer, and often the cost of the lawyer exceeds the value of the cash seized.

This is where marijuana comes in. Of the 273 "prohibited conduct" crimes that led to a criminal forfeiture, 90% were drug crimes (there were multiple crimes involved in some of the 136 criminal seizures). Of those drug crimes, almost half were related to marijuana (and again, multiple drugs could be discovered in one seizure). On the civil side, of the 543 "prohibited conduct" crimes, 97% were drug crimes  and 22% of those involved marijuana.

Any way you slice it, making marijuana no longer a contraband item will take a big chunk out of that net proceeds of $1.7 million annually, $1.4 million of which went to city, county, and state police and district attorneys.

So when you look at it that way, spending about $180,000 to protect $1.4 million is a reasonable return on investment. Why, look at all the neat stuff cops and DAs got to buy last year...(Condensed version – read full article here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, October 20, 2014

Carpetbagging Oregon Style: Meet Dallas Heard

Good Day World!

As a relatively new Oregonian (one year now), I like to read as much as I can about my newly adopted state.

I’m enjoying reading books on Oregon history, and following Oregon politics. We have some interesting races coming up here in November.

Today, I’m centering in on just one race however. The State Representative House District 2 race is (in my humble opinion),  a controversial campaign that needs the light of day. I also plan on talking about other controversial races and ballot measures in the days ahead.

VIOLATING THE LAW IS NOT A GOOD WAY TO RUN A CAMPAIGN

To set the stage here’s some excerpts from the Daily KOS:

“One of the principles of our representative government is that the people we elect ought to have actually lived for a reasonable time in the geographic area that they are elected to represent.

It's not just a good idea. It's the law. It's the law at a national level, and it's the law at a local level, in every state in the Union. Now, some politicians wink at that requirement (Mitt Romney famously did so, with regard to both running and voting.

A fundamental principle of civilized society in the modern age is to eschew racism. Even politicians with racist associations in their pasts are well-advised to hide them (see Ron Paul and Rand Paul; also Rick "N*ggerhead Ranch" Perry.

Enter, stage far, far right, Dallas Heard. He is running for Oregon's House District 2, backed up by buckets of family money and the full-throated support of the Republican establishment.

But Dallas has some problems: he was not from the district where he is running, and he has compared dealing with the local tribe of Native Americans to dealing with a virus. To his credit, he did not say Ebola. He invoked the virus analogy several years ago--long before Ebola-hysteria became all the rage.” (read full article here)

According to Dallas the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians are "playing a race card" and that they are just as white* as he is--along with his insightful analysis regarding how to "cure" a "virus"--with no insight how this might reverberate in the minds of people who know history. (Smallpox-laced blankets, anyone?)

Statements like those ought to be disqualifying for any candidate.

When Dallas Heard filed to run for Oregon House District 2, he filed with the Secretary of State, indicating that his address was "2330 Dairy Loop Rd. Roseburg OR 97471"--trouble is, that address is not actually in House District 2, and in Oregon, one must have lived in the district for a year before election day.

The Secretary of State informed Dallas Heard of that little problem, and Dallas filed an amended filing to indicate that he lived in Myrtle Creek--a city that is actually in HD2. But it is odd--it seems to me, at least--that the address is shared with a Chris Boice and his family; so it appeared that Dallas and his wife and child were living with the Boice family, just as Mitt Romney allegedly lived in the unfinished basement of his son's family. (Source)

Meanwhile, Dallas Heard continued to use his out-of-district address as his home address on fundraising and correspondence with the Oregon Secretary of State.

He also continued to claim to serve as Chair of the Lookingglass Rural Fire District Board of Directors--an area for which he could not serve if he really lived in Myrtle Creek (in a basement, garage, or spare room--with his wife and baby.)

Since then, he and his wife have apparently moved into a new house, in Winston, Oregon, also in House District 2. This seems to really be their residence. Finally. But not, it seems, within the one-year period required by law.

The point is, Dallas Heard seems not to have lived for the requisite time in Oregon House District 2- that he retroactively "moved" in with Chris Boice, a local politician associated with right-wing politics and whose thuggish behavior appears to be seen (the big guy with the close-cropped "Klingon" style beard appears to be him, but it's uncertain) as the Tea Party crashes a Democratic picnic.

(Thanks to Crooks and Liars for preserving the video, which was taken down after the publicity over the River Forks incident went national. See Citizen Joe diaries, here and here.)

Dallas has some other problems: he is a creationist, climate-change-denying person who objects to the minimum wage in principle, a woman's right to control her own body, government regulation in general (he's been cited on multiple occasions for licensing violations), and so on. But honestly, being a racist carpetbagger ought to be enough to turn off even moderate Republicans.

Probably not, though. Oregon's Republican Party Chair is Art Robinson. Enough said.

You can support the Democrat in the race: Kerry Atherton--and help turn a little corner of Oregon blue. Kerry Atherton is a smart, hardworking, experienced person, who will work with our Democratic majority in Salem, and with local organizations to improve the lives of all of those in HD2.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Studies show conservative religious states have highest web porn searches in country

“Whatever You Have Said in the Dark Will Be Heard in the Light” (Luke 12:3)

Good Day World!

Conservatives love to banter around terms like “family values.”

They often claim to be God-fearing folks with high moral standards. Some are. But even more are down-right hypocrites.

An online search traffic study from behind closed doors in in the Bible belt suggests that the bad, nasty, sexual impulses righteous believers are trying so hard to shut down may be their own.

If Google search patterns mean anything, they’re not succeeding too well: studies consistently demonstrate that people in conservative religious states search for adult materials online far more often than people in blue states.

For almost two centuries, what happened in the Bible Belt, sexually at least, stayed in the Bible Belt. Oh sure, there was the odd scandal involving a small-town preacher and the pretty young wife of a deacon or youth minister, or a big-name televangelist who, for example, asked male followers to get vasectomies and then  examined their swollen willies.

And there were the shocking-shocking-I-tell-you revelations of evangelical leaders feeling up young female interns or paying male call boys or even  behaving like Catholic priests.

But most people, for some reason, have had a hard time considering the possibility that conservative religion might actually augment sexual obsessions rather than icing them, that there might be a  pattern of correlation between authoritarian religion, sexual repression, and sneaky sex. 

Enter the Internet, where everything is secret—or not.

In October, two Toronto researchers, Cara MacInnis and Gordon Hodson,  published a study in which they used Google Trends to analyze porn searches.

Individual search records are protected by privacy laws, but it is possible to compare the popularity of search terms across various regions or states, which is what they did.

Specifically, MacInnis and Hodson linked state level information from Gallup polls asking about religious and political attitudes together with a variety of sex and porn-related search terms.

Their study design involves a number of different comparisons and it considered the effects of other variables like poverty and population. Based on related research, they hypothesized that states with higher levels of religiosity and conservatism would have higher rates of search for sexual content.

They made this prediction, and the data bore it out. More religiosity and conservatism meant more searches on words like  sex, gay sex, gay porn, or  sex images.

Business professor Benjamin Edelman at Harvard  found that states with more traditional views of sex and gender have higher rates of paid porn subscriptions—meaning people who are willing to put porn on a credit card.

What’s shameful is not the fact that people find sex arousing and seek it out, even when they feel compelled to do so on the sneak. The problem is hypocrisy and the way that it distorts public policies and parenting, causing real harm to real people.

For over a decade, conservatives forced abstinence-only education on young people, insisting that hormone-ravaged teens could “just say no” when they themselves can’t.

This epic public health failure contributed to the United States having the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world, with  devastating economic consequences for young mothers and their offspring.

Some thrive despite the odds; many do not.  We can do better. (Condensed version. Full article here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

How A One-Time Hero Turned into a Traitor

He was perhaps the most famous law enforcement official in America once.  He was the bane of New York's organized crime families and Wa...