New study released today finds that the “number of Atlantic hurricanes in an average season has doubled in the last century due in part to warmer seas and changing wind patterns caused by global warming.” Similarly, a recent assessment by the IPCC said it was “‘more likely than not’ that people also contribute to a trend of increasingly intense hurricanes.”
There are statistics to back up every point in that sad litany, but I also found people eager to flay nearly every statistic. For instance: Is it bad that more boys are in special education, or should we be pleased that they are getting extra help from specially trained teachers? And haven’t boys always tended to be more restless than girls under the discipline of high school and more likely to wind up in jail? A growing congregation of writers have begun to argue that the trouble with boys is mostly a myth. Sara Mead is one; she was until recently a senior policy analyst at Education Sector, a Washington think tank largely funded by the Gates Foundation. Intrigued by the wave of books and articles about failing boys, Mead crunched some numbers, focusing narrowly on the question of school performance. The former Clinton Administration official concluded that “with a few exceptions, American boys are scoring higher and achieving more than they ever have before.”
In particular, Mead decided that boys from middle- and upper-income families–especially white families–are doing just fine. “The biggest issue is not a gender gap. It is these gaps for minority and disadvantaged boys,” she told me recently in the think tank’s conference room. Boys overall are holding their own or even improving on standardized tests, she said; they’re just not improving as quickly as girls. And their total numbers in college are rising, albeit not as sharply as the numbers of girls. To Mead, a good-news story about the achievements of girls and young women has been turned into a bad-news story about laggard boys and young men.
Conveniently enough, I agree.
Now that I’m in the car on the way back from Harper’s Ferry I can now add West Virginia to the list of states I’ve visited I’d never realized that DC was so close to parts of WV, probably because until today I’d been under the impression that Harpers Ferry was in plain-vanilla Virginia.
The trick, it turns out, is that back when historical events were happening, Harpers Ferry was in regular Virginia. Then, during the Civil War, they made West Virginia and Harpers Ferry was part of it.
“In spite of what he said was pervasive corruption in the White House, Charlie Rangel, the dean of New York’s congressional delegation, said today he wouldn’t want President Bush impeached. ‘God forbid!‘ he said.” The reason?
“I would vote against impeachment of Bush too because the corruption of the Vice President Cheney would even be worse,” Rangel said.
Former Reagan administration lawyer Bruce Fein recently sat down with the editors of the San Francisco Chronicle to discuss how “George W. Bush’s foreign policies are making Americans less safe, and why the president and Vice President Dick Cheney should be impeached.” You can listen to the audio here.
With 754 career home runs, San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds is one shy of tying the revered home run record set by Hall of Famer Hank Aaron. Bonds’ record will be “tainted by allegations he used steroids.”
In an interview with ESPN’s Karl Ravech earlier this month, President Bush was asked for his take on the Bonds situation. “You know, it’s hard for me to tell,” Bush said. Echoing a line he uttered in the early stages of the CIA leak scandal, Bush said he was waiting for the facts. “I know there’s a lot of implications, my advice is for people just to wait and see what the facts are,” he said.
An avid baseball fan who watches games in the Oval Office to relax, Bush refused to say whether he would watch Bonds’ record-setting homerun if he were the baseball commissioner. “You know, I don’t know, I have my mind elsewhere these days,” he said.
Sports columnist Skip Bayless — who was previously a sports journalist in Dallas — said on ESPN that the Bonds situation is difficult for Bush to discuss because he looked the other way on steroids use as manager of the Rangers:
I was there in Texas during those years, and I knew the President when he was owner of the Rangers. And I heard all the whispers around the locker room and the clubhouse. … I think he looked the other way. I’m sure George heard them also and looked the other way. … I think they [baseball commissioner Bud Selig and Bush] believe that Barry Bonds used steroids.
Watch a compilation:
President Bush was managing general partner of the Texas Rangers from 1989 until he was elected Texas governor in 1994. Several former Rangers — Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmiero, and Jose Canseco — are all alleged to have used, or have admitted to using, steroids while playing for Bush.
Canseco authored a book about the prevalence of steroids in baseball during the early 90s and argued the Bush must have known about the drug use in the clubhouse. Bush has denied that he was aware of the steroid problem.
Should Bonds break the home run record sometime this week, Bush will face the question of whether or not he should call to congratulate the new all-time home run king and give legitimacy to a tainted record. It should be noted, however, that his hands are hardly clean on the issue.
Okay, this is somewhat off topic, although I do all of my blogging using Dragon NaturallySpeaking (DNS) voice dictation software.
Anyway, a lot of people I know tried voice dictation a few years ago and gave up on it, since it wasn’t that good, especially IBM’s Via Voice. But the DNS software is really kickass now.
Okay, this is somewhat off topic, although I do all of my writing and blogging using Dragon NaturallySpeaking (DNS) voice dictation software, which is why you will occasionally see an odd-looking mistake from the PC “mis-hearing” me.
Anyway, a lot of people I know tried voice dictation a few years ago and gave up on it, since it wasn’t that good. A lot of people had a bad experience with IBM’s Via Voice system. But the DNS software is really kickass now.
PBS’s NOW examined documents and evidence that point to a “Republican Party plan [in 2004] designed to keep Democrats from voting, allegedly by targeting people based on their race and ethnicity with key battleground states like Ohio and Florida of particular interest.” NOW revealed “e-mails between National Republican Party headquarters and Ohio State Republican Party officials” that talked about plans to compile voter caging lists. Watch the video of the program here.
My mother received a transparent plastic cylinder containing a small Colorado Blue Spruce with the label “plant this tree and offset the carbon output from 14,000 miles of train travel.”
Yes, like the Pope, Amtrak never got the “trees are lousy offsets” memo from here or Gristmill. Fortunately, Amtrak is the energy efficient way to travel inland, and trees are great things to have — though it is a bit odd handing out the state tree of Colorado, which is native to the West, in DC.
Anyway, the plastic cylinder directs us to “Learn more @ whistlestop.Amtrak.com” where we meet “Arte the environmental engineer,” probably the lamest corporate environmental mascot ever. Arte is named for Amtrak Recognizes the Environment — yes, we all recognize the environment as it whizzes by us at 60 mph. More strangely, Arte is a typical leaf, but the Blue Spruce is an evergreen conifer.
Well, at least Amtrak isn’t handing out iron for ocean fertilization.