The End of a Long Sabbatical

Posted July 17, 2007 by reportcard
Categories: General

paperwork2.jpg The end of the long sabbatical that I have been forced to take from this blog site may be nearing.  Work, of all things, has kept me from keeping it updated with the frequent posts and content that had been fairly consistent up until a few months ago. 

After many months, however, it appears that the current project which has required most of my attention is finally wrapping up.  After a little more catching up in the work world, I will be able to continue in the consistent manner you had come to expect. 

Stay Tuned…I’ve got a lot to say and a lot of catching up to do.

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Banana’s deserve our protection too…

Posted March 16, 2007 by reportcard
Categories: Agriculture, Current Events, In The News

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By:  Fred Jackson 

After installing democracy in various developing countries throughout the world, don’t you think we should begin protecting our food supply from those that wish to harm Americans?  Chiquita Banana brand attempted to do just that by hiring a local security firm to provide protection for their banana plantations, and was punished for their good intentions.

I always assumed that the major cost of banana production was incurred in the supply chain.  Boy was I wrong… Fox News reported that the Chiquita banana corporation was fined $25 Million USD for it’s payments to a highly trained security organization that happens to be on the US Terrorist watch list.  The company admitted to paying upwards of $1 Million USD to the United Self-Defense forces of Columbia who is on the Terrorist watch list for their part in ongoing civil conflicts within Columbia.  Hopefully, we can trust that our leading potassium supplier is still inspired to protect their precious cargo from all elements which cause harm.  

After a search for alternate means of protection, I came up with the following:

  1. Banana Guard – whose curved shape gets criticized for not “fitting” all bananas
  2. Banana Bunker – Preferred choice of housewives who enjoy the ribbed edges
  3. Traditional Method – Demonstration video of how to prevent a banana attack

Hopefully Chiquita is still going to maintain their protection of our food supply, and I encourage them to investigate the above protection methods as soon as possible to help insure our families are safe.  Chiquita Bananas, I applaude your effort to keep our food supply safe, and I love the hot latino with the fruity headdress… Keep up the good work!

“Super” Cows Threaten The World

Posted January 10, 2007 by reportcard
Categories: Agriculture, Current Events, Farming, In The News, Politics

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Okay, so it’s not that bad…No 200 foot cow is going to walk off of the plains of West Texas, take a stink on Dallas, and suffocate an entire metro population.  However, news of “super cows” in Britain showed up in the Daily Mail today and are being seen by some as a threat to the nation’s food supply.  These cows promise to deliver 70 pints of milk per day and could lead to a source of cheaper food.

 The Problem?  The cows are second generation clones…embryos from a cow that is a clone of a champion dairy Holstein.  Only one has been born so far, but it has four “brothers” rumored to be on the way.  As one can imagine, this development has raised quite a stir in Britain; a country that has been fearful of even accepting genetically engineered U.S. grain products in the past.

Concerns raised vary from quality of life of the animal to “purity” (if that’s the correct word) of the food product itself.  Clones have shown to have shorter life spans than traditionally bread animals and seem to suffer from imperfections that lead to early arthritis and other ailments.  Although adverse effects on human populations eating food that is cloned (or genetically engineered) have not been proven, there are those who are concerned about the possibility.  The positive effect of allowing cloned or genetically engineered food to be used for human consumption is simple:  cheaper food.

Higher food supply will lower the cost of food on the world market.  This could allow countries to feed their own populations and have some left over to help feed other populations that are starving.  More supply on the world market would lead to a reduced cost in the effort of doing so.  If the food continues to prove benign, why wouldn’t we allow it to be used to help feed those who don’t have enough?  It seems to make perfect sense to continue along this path and see if it leads us to a larger food supply for a growing world population.

Songs of the States

Posted January 6, 2007 by reportcard
Categories: General, Geography, Music

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A few of my friends and I were sitting around one night after one or two drinks and discovered something.  Please keep in mind as I tell you this that we were not exactly in our right minds, many of us had been traveling to various states as of late, and most of us are originally from different parts of the United States.  What we discovered was, most of the titles listed as official state songs were lame.  Thus began the debate:  If you were to pick new songs for states, what would they be?

We came up with several titles for various states (Examples are listed below) some retained the official state song, other states had so many suggestions that debate has continued as to which would be most appropriate.  And so, after much consideration, we open the floor to the readers of The Report Card.

To nominate a song, or to vote for one previously nominated, please visit the Songs of the 50 States page.  

Examples:

Alabama

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd – Obviously the appropriate song for the state.

Alaska

Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice – Hey, I felt that Ice Ice Baby should be in here somewhere; what other state would be better? 

Idaho

My Own Private Idaho – B52’s – An obvious choice due to the title and the lyrics

Iowa

American Pie – Don McClean – Written about the day that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper died in a plane crash in Iowa.

Kansas

Southbound 35 – Pat Green – A great song about why living in Texas will always be better than living in Kansas City.

Kentucky

My Old Kentucky Home – Stephen Foster – The current state song, it would be a shameful to change it.

Oklahoma

Theme song from the musical OKLAHOMA – An obvious choice, but still appropriate

South Dakota

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee – Indigo Girls – The state is known for it’s history as part of the Western Frontier.  Wounded Knee is in Southwest South Dakota.

Tennessee

Rocky Top – Felice & Boudleaux Bryant – The current state song, and still good to listen to.

Texas

Songs About Texas – Pat Green – A song about all the songs written about Texas

Vermont

I kissed a girl – Jill Sobule – 1st State to allow gay civil unions

The Sky is Falling!

Posted January 5, 2007 by reportcard
Categories: Satire

On the night before Democrats took control of both the House and the Senate, the gods seemed to be a little angrier than usual.  In Denver, people stared in awe as objects reported as either metors or space junk hurtled through the atmosphere.  In New Jersey, a family discovered that a mysterious object (reportedly from space) hurtled through the roof, skipped off the floor and embedded itself into a wall.  Finally, a record snowfall engulfs Ancorage Alaska.

My conclusion is that Nancy Pelosi is the Devil, and God is now punishing us for putting her into power.  Of course, there are other conclusions one could draw from these strange events; all happening less than 24 hours prior to Democrats regaining control of Congress…?

The First 100

Posted January 4, 2007 by reportcard
Categories: Current Events, General, House of Representatives, In The News, Iraq War, National Politics, Politics, U.S. Senate, US House of Representatives

As the clock ticks down to January 4th, when Democrats take control of the House and Senate, they are reminded of their “First 100 Hours” promises.  Those that may stand in the way of accomplishing Pelosi’s promises are not only Republicans, but anti-war Democrats as well.  Protesters lead by Cindy Sheehan, demanding that the Democrats cut funding for the war and bring the troops home beforedoing anything else, showed up during the Democrats press conference on lobby reform today.  They were so disruptive, that the intended speaker actually gave up and left the room. 

Pelosi has made many promises for the Democrats first 100 hours in control, but cutting funding and bringing the troops home was not one of them.  Will the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party keep the party from acting on the things they actually promised in the First 100 Hours?  Probably not.  Will they be very, very unhappy when they see that bringing the troops home is not the Democrats first priority?  Absolutely.  Will the American people see that the Democrats may be rendered ineffective by extremist elements they happily embrace during campaign fund raisers?  Time will tell.

 Let’s examine what Pelosi has promised for the First 100 Hours of the Democratically controlled Congress.  The first two are what would be considered the minimum.  The rest have been labeled as “if we have time”.

  1. Put new rules into place to break the link between lobbyists and legislation
  2. Enact ALL the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001
  3. Raise the Minimum Wage
  4. Cut Interest Rates on Student Loans in Half
  5. Allow government to directly negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to get a better price for medicare recipients
  6. Broaden stem cell research
  7. Pay as you go spending policy – no deficit increase

It will be interesting to watch the effectiveness of the Democrats over the next 100 hours, stay tuned for results.

Gay Sheep Are People Too?

Posted January 1, 2007 by reportcard
Categories: Agriculture, Current Events, Evolution, In The News, National Politics, Politics

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According to the Times Online, Scientists at Oregon State University are conducting experiments to genetically remove traits in sheep that may cause them to be born with homosexual tendencies.  It has raised fears of one day being able to reverse homosexual tendencies in humans prior to birth.  This research, of course, raises many ethical and Constitutional questions. 

The ethical questions are numerous, but the primary issues can be summarized into two categories.  The first, animal rights involving genetic research.  Testing on animals has always contained a controversial element, and animal rights activists have fought hard to protect them against harm.  Genetically altering animals to eliminate certain traits would fall under the same category of genetically enhancing animals to possess certain desirable traits.  This practice has been going on for years involving livestock used in the agricultural industry.  It has been labeled by animal rights activists as cruelty, particularly when the desirable trait that may improve marketability leads to a decrease in the quality of life for the animal.  The second ethical category involves the assumption that the supposed homosexuality trait is bad.

When researchers begin studying how to remove homosexual tendencies genetically, it must be assumed that the researchers’ premise contains the idea that homosexual behavior is undesirable.  Some would agree with this statement.  Others would argue that homosexual behavior is benign in its effects on society as a whole.  Should researchers be able to make this “undesirable” determination unchecked?  If the research yields results, should mothers be able to have the option of removing the gene from unborn babies?  One possible result of this practice could potentially breed homosexuals out of existence. 

Constitutional issues must also be considered.  For example, if homosexuality is genetic, it would be assumed that the condition must be treated much like race as far as civil rights are concerned.  Therefore marriage, and all the benefits associated with it, are certainly in play. Homosexuals would have a much stronger Constitutional case under the Bill of Rights.Whether you view the issue as an ethical or Constitutional one, the consequences of genetic research on animals with homosexual tendencies could be dramatic.