March 4, 2008 archive

U.S. — Prison-House of Nations

My blog entry on this is a few days late, but what does it matter for the 2.3 million Americans who languish in the prisons and jails of this country? They have plenty of time on their hands.

The Washington Post article last Thursday, New High In U.S. Prison Numbers, grabbed some headlines and commentary in the following days. But soon, all too soon, the revelations will grow stale, the stuff of old news, and the millions of prisoners placed safely not only behind bars, but out of sight and mind, can return to their quotidian lives of ongoing despair and impotent frustration. The Pew Report that generated the recent headlines is available here.

N.C. Aizenman writes at the WP:

Dems join in gang rape of Constitution

Republicans have been gang-raping the Constitution since December 12, 2000, when five Supreme Court justices appointed George W. Bush President of the United States. The BushCheney crime family’s brutal assault on the nation’s founding document began immediately, and was cheered on and supported by a Republican-led Congress that whooped in drunken bloodlust every time the administration flagrantly violated the highest law of the land.

The Republican Congress cheered encouragement every time Americans’ civil liberties were violated. The Republican Congress roared approval at every demeaning abuse of the rule of law. They pushed to the front of the mob any time there was an opportunity to have their own crack at the battered, dazed body politic, who couldn’t believe what was happening to it, who couldn’t believe that it could be violated so relentlessly, so repeatedly, so thoroughly, over and over and over again, and no one put a stop to it.

Math mania

My diary yesterday was a hit…. so….

here’s another from long ago on dailyKos.  It started a little series.  Maybe it will, here, too.

In other diaries and comments I’ve written, I’ve alluded to the fact that math is beautiful.  That it’s not the boring, stultifying stuff many of us were forced to endure, but rather a kind of artwork, akin more to music and poetry than to accounting or physics.  In this (possible) occasional series, I’ll explore some elementary theorems that are nonetheless, beautiful, interesting, or just cool.

This is an introduction to the series

So, what is this nut talking about now?

Well, what mathematicians do all day is prove theorems.  The most prolific mathametican of the 20th century (Paul Erdos – for a delightful bio of him, see The Man Who Loved Only Numbers) said ‘a mathematician is a tool for turning coffee into theorems’.  

A lot of these theorems are so abstract that only a dozen or two people in the world can understand them.  But many are accessible to people with only HS math.  Those are the ones I want to talk about in this series

Bertrand Russell, a mathematician, philosopher, radical and general smart guy (and one of the few people to actively protest both WW 1 and Vietnam), said  “Math is the only subject in which we never know what we are talking about, or whether what we are saying is true”.  Hmmmm……that doesn’t sound like the math I learned in high school

I welcome thoughts, ideas, or what-have-you.  If anyone would like to write a diary in this series, that’s cool too.  Just ask me.  Or if you want to co-write with me, that’s fine.

The rules:  Any math that is required beyond arithmetic and very elementary algebra will be explained.  Anything much beyond that will be VERY CAREFULLY EXPLAINED.

Anyone can feel free to help me explain, but NO TALKING DOWN TO PEOPLE.  I’ll troll rate anything insulting, but I promise to be generous with the mojo otherwise.

How Obama Will Screw Up as President

This diary will attempt to detail how Obama will screw up as President.

Think before you vote, people!

Read before you comment, too! 😉

(X-posted at that Other Place)

And I am an undecided voter…

A marine, a puppy and a cliff in Iraq: You can guess what happens

Do not watch this if you are squeamish.

It’s graphic.

Pony Party: I’m FIRED!

It seems that I really have a case of the Mondays: I forgot to post my Monday morning Pony Party. Sorry! But I worked all weekend, so I have an excuse, right? Right?

… Or will I be fired from the Monday 9 am time slot? Bring on the boiling brine!

And I have a conflict during my 3 pm time slot, at least for the next 6 weeks.

::Sigh:: What’s a poor, pathetic pickle to do?

Anyway, I hope y’all are doing well. It’s raining pooches and pooties here in Vancouver. That’s not helping my mood much. But, at least the days are getting longer!

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