November 30, 2004
The federal government is considering the creation of a national database to collect information and track the progress of every college student in the country, triggering criticism from education and civil liberties advocates worried that it would amount to a loss of privacy for millions of Americans.
Just dandy! Now they want a NATIONAL database. I wonder which computer company is whispering in the ears of congress people. It's the only logical conclusion when they come up with reasoning like this:
The idea, proposed by a research wing of the Department of Education, is designed to improve federal oversight of students' enrollment rates, graduation rates, and tuition. Currently, that information is provided only in summary form by universities, leaving gaps in national college statistics. When students transfer from one college to another, for example, they show up in the federal rolls as dropouts.
That is the most incredibly inept reasoning I've ever seen in my life! If there is a problem in the way the data is presented... then change the presentation you morons! Don't say "oh we need a new database"! NO - YOU. DO. NOT.!
Under the new system proposed by the National Center for Education Statistics at the Department of Education, each student enrolled in college would have a computer record that included name, address, birth date, gender, race, and Social Security number. It would then track field of study, credits, tuition paid, and financial aid received and would follow the student if he or she transferred or dropped out and later reenrolled.
In other words... here is a snapshot of your life - just ready for anyone to pick it up and make it their own. Just ready for all sorts of mistakes that will never be fixable. Think of the hours, days, even up to years of fun you could have getting a problem with the record straightened out.
Considering also, the truly poor security performance by all levels of government - I just wonder why anyone would think this data could possibly remain safe. Nope - there are plenty of databases in the world as it is. We do not need yet another.
As it is I'm too tired to slap these people upside the head like it should be done... instead I'll just remind you to go here and donate to the Spirit of America. You'll do something good which will make you feel less inclined to strangle those idiots.
*** at the rate I'm going I won't get my posters up til the weekend***
November 29, 2004
I will be plastering up the posters later today - but until I have time to load up the pictures... go here to donate with the Fighting Fusileers!
Thanks for supporting this outstanding cause.
November 28, 2004
First of all, I must say that whenever I have to drive to Indiana, everyone and their brother comes out to play on the highway with me. I guess they don't want me to be lonely... but where most people manage to make this little trip in about 2 - 2.5 hours, that's how long it took me to make it to the Illinois-Indiana border (about half way there).
Next you have to realize that there are 2 different highways with nearly the same number - there is 80/94 and 80/90 (when 80 splits off of 94). So, I talk to _Jon who tells me I need to go on 80/90, whereupon I say okay no problem... Except I was talking to my daughter as I passed the exit and when I said something to the effect of "drat I wanted to go on 80/90" - she said "no you don't you want to go on 94". Then I talked to Tammi, who also said "yeah, stay on 94" ... so I'm tooling along and looking for the number of the road _Jon was telling me about - only to realize - he WAS talking about 80/90 and I had passed the only exit to South Bend and had to turn around and go back!!! The road exit he was talking about doesn't exist on 94... *sigh*
So, once I get off the highway and I'm heading in whatever direction it might be toward South Bend... I get on the phone with Tammi and _Jon - where they lead me through various devious ways about the city of South Bend and we FINALLY end up in the same place!!! Happy, Happy Joy, Joy!!! (how it is that _Jon didn't go completely mad trying to talk me through South Bend... is a miracle in itself).
Thus we did finally end up having dinner and talking about 1001 different subjects and having a great time. Well, worth all the effort of getting there. *grin*
I will let Tammi tell you about how she had half the blog family trying to figure out where she disappeared to until mid-Sunday afternoon - as that is a saga in itself. Now all we have to do is figure out how to have a Blog-Family reunion (or whatever you might call it).
November 27, 2004
November 24, 2004
This reminded me of our Thanksgiving dinner "disaster" of about 10 years ago.
You must realize before I start, that I am NOT a morning person. Every year I do Thanksgiving dinner and it is DINNER - served at around 6pm - not mid afternoon lunch/dinner combination. This is because I can not see going to the trouble of getting up at some ridiculous hour in order to cook a big meal. I just can't do it. So, dinner it is.
Since I've never cooked for a huge group - it's always been just the 4 of us (my husband and I and our 2 kids). I don't have to make the tremendous quantities necessary for huge groups of people - so this cuts down on time. The general order of things is - I make the pies first - starting at about 10am. They are made totally from scratch - pie crust and all. Usually 2 pumpkin pies and 1 apple. Then there are the sweet potatoes, the turkey and dressing, the salad and biscuits. That's pretty much more than enough for 4.
So, the morning of Thanksgiving, I get up and putter about. Then get to work on the pies. At about 2pm (the pies have been out of the oven for a while) and I'm working on getting the turkey and dressing ready to go in the oven. I turn the oven on to preheat, start tossing together the dressing, stuffing the bird and all that fun stuff. I go to open the oven, to put the bird in... and no blast of hot air hits me in the face... The oven has died an untimely death. Between the time of making the pies and attempting to make the turkey - it developed a fatal case of heat impairment.
After my husband checked it over, we decided that there was nothing which would make the oven work. So, I took all of the turkey and dressing etc, shoved them in the refrigerator, and called a friend. I said - how would you like a turkey dinner tomorrow? If you let me use your oven, I'll bring everything and feed all of us. Thus we ended up having Thanksgiving dinner on a Friday. (we also ended up buying a new stove).
Very very luckily, this was well into the times when grocery stores were now open on Thanksgiving Day. So, I ran to the store and bought something else that could be fixed on the stove top. I don't remember what it was anymore... but we did get to eat. And everyone said they enjoyed the Friday turkey, so I guess it all worked out.
This year it is only my husband and myself. My son is in Germany, my daughter and her husband are going to see friends in LA for the long weekend. I've pared down the dinner - but we'll still have loads of leftovers. As long as the oven works... we won't starve.
Everyone have a great time feasting.
November 23, 2004
Okay one tiny little sample...
Perhaps Balls on Picks is not the best way to get the fellas over for a pregame nosh. The name alone makes men cross their legs....
From salad to desert... nothing is left out. It is all hysterical. Now excuse me, I have to find out about "Famous Chefs Forced to Use Marshmallows"...
BTW - the link is to The Bleat page so you can check it out through his site, just scroll down. Enjoy - Laugh Loud!
November 22, 2004
"The debates that will take place ... are very important because they will look at the question of the elections and decide on whether they can take place on the date envisaged or whether it needs more reflection."
I wonder why they feel they should have a say in Iraq's election process. Maybe to try and ensure that it doesn't take place at all... After all, this election is a major major threat to all of those other Arab countries. How are their own people going to feel if the Iraqis elect a government and get a say in the direction their country is going? First Afghanistan and now Iraq are going to let WOMEN voice an opinion! I can think of few things that scare the Arab men more!
"If the elections took place but were boycotted, there would be a lack of equilibrium in the Sunni representation," he warned.
It seems that the other Arab countries have to have the democratic process explained to them in more detail. The fact is, people in a democratic society are FREE TO CHOOSE whether or not they will vote - not just how they vote. If the Sunni's want to sit this one out... well, that's their own problem. It is not a problem with democracy - they are just refusing to take a stand and have a say in the elections. It seems that the Sunni's (being a minority in Iraq) are a bit peeved because they know their own election views won't carry the day. Welcome to democracy Iraq! Hello Arab world... that is how it works. (or do we need to regress to teaching you the alphabet before we go on to more complicated concepts like popular vote?)
But the violence is also a major concern, raising questions about how democratic elections can be organized in a country were large bands of insurgents are still at large and capable of striking hard at civilians and security forces alike.
Hmmm - I seem to remember the same scare stories being circulated about Afghanistan a few weeks ago. I seem to remember that people came out in droves - under pretty extreme circumstances in order to cast their vote. I have a feeling, the same thing will happen in Iraq.
Yes, there are some very dangerous areas. There is a great, concern that violence will disrupt the election. But giving in to violence is NOT what democracy is about. Democracy is about overcoming violence to create a better world. That is what the Iraqis will be voting for on January 30th. That is what they will eventually achieve - so long as they don't allow other Arab dictatorships to stop their election process.
Good Luck Iraq!
Oh - you may be wondering what qualifications he has for the role...
Klein was the former executive director of CBS News, with oversight of its flagship "60 Minutes" program.
Yes he should fit in perfectly...
November 21, 2004
After the first couple posed for photos with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and his wife, the four entered the doorway with a line of Chilean security guards and uniformed police closing quickly behind him.
The president's lead agent approached the line of men as quickly as it closed and demanded to be allowed through. Within a few seconds, the confrontation began to escalate with voices being raised and shoving in all directions.
Yes, the stuff of nightmares for the Secret Service. During the few minutes when the detail were being detained, just think of the interesting things that could have happened. In this instance, because of earlier disagreements, the agents held back and didn't use full force to get through to the President.
The Secret Service source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the president's security detail and that the Chileans had argued about security procedures all day and that he wasn't surprised to see last night's skirmish unfold.
It's almost as if the Chilean Security people were just begging for a full scale international incident. In the meantime, the Secret Service should be kicking itself big time over this mess. Currently our President is the man with the worlds biggest bulls-eye on his back, there should not be instances where skirmishes leave him unguarded.
I would say that if the Secret Service personel are NOT having nightmares about possible assassination attempts or kidnapping attempts, there is something very wrong with them.
November 19, 2004
Not to mention, there are some great recipes for the upcoming Thanksgiving Day Weekend! If you're entertaining a large group... you'll need to check out the possibilities. Happy Eating!
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