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Thursday, Dec 18th

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Editorial

A Great Spirit Surveys Our Ghost of a Chance

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If you've ever wished for a reasonable summary to help explain the inane and insane seas we're all left navigating, your wish has come true:  First, you should know, one man, the explanation's author, has died.

The man was writer and editor Ernest Callenbach.  He died April 16 at 83.  You may know him from the "Ectopia" books, or from the journal he edited, "Film Quarterly."  He wrote, lectured, walked, gardened, and occasionally taught film classes.  He was an advocate of Earth and of simple, and simplified, living.

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Schoolhouse Shock

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You'd think electrically punishing children, as ways of getting their attention, would be outlawed by now in America -- but you would be wrong.  You would have thought this would have come up before now -- and it has, over and over.  And you know: The shocks still go on and on.

* * * * *

My first nudge in the direction of the Judge Rotenberg Center, the JRC, came in an email today, asking for my support, on a petition at Change.org.  It began:

"Hi, my name is Gregory Miller.  I used to work at a school in Massachusetts named [the JRC] where we used powerfully painful electric shock devices (45-91 milliamps at 66 volts) on students to control their behaviors.  These devices are much stronger than police stun guns (1-4 milliamps).  Unlike stun guns, the electrodes most commonly used at school are spaced 3-4 inches apart so that the electrical volts passing through the flesh create the maximum amount of pain with those amps and volts.

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Wheels Within Wheels: The Trauma of Getting from Here to There

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After having the, uh, stuffing beat out of us all week, there is finally a story to make us want to sit up straight, stand up, even cheer, launching rolls of paper streamers into the air:  The land speed record has been set in Australia by a motorized toilet.

Talk about a go-kart-type vehicle with get-up-and-go: This one managed 46 miles an hour on a timed course.

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The Colonel can sell cheaper if the chickens also pay the bills

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One of Mitt Romney’s favorite lies these days is to label Barrack Obama as the enemy of small business. Obama’s response is to point to a long list of small business friendly executive orders. In fact he’s the first President since FDR to show them any real sympathy, but none of the things he’s been able to do really makes much of a difference at this point.

Traditionally, small businessmen have always voted Republican since they tended to either believe the nonsense Republicans told them, or they foolishly believed that someday they’d be the kind of big business that Republicans actually favor. It’s not like they’re a big voting block anymore,- the last 30 years of Republican policies have gotten rid of almost all of them.

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Anniversary & Sarcophagus

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Speaking of the continuing meltdown horrors at Fukushima...

Speaking of the fresh fuel rods jammed into damaged buildings so fragile they couldn't ride out a wiggle...

Speaking of hydrogen gas and steam explosions carrying radioactivity aloft...

Speaking of all the radioactive water dumped into the sea, over and over again, sometimes by accident, sometimes by helplessness and design...

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Today's Special, Recycled Again

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Let's see now -- which template to use today in the ol' homestead and standby, the Mainstream Cafe?  Not good to use them without some creative rotation, you know -- best to keep mixing it up, so's it keeps the product looking fresh.  When it comes to food for thought, the main dish can't be splotchy and a sickly green -- it can't be sprouting multicolored, science-project fur, not and get sold to the public and swallowed whole, like everybody all up and down the food chain wants.

Of course, between you and me, the stuff is almost identical -- we might as well be pushing soy served up a zillion different ways:  pummeled, tenderized, injected with flavor and some color, then -- Bam! Texturized, too.  You'd never believe your taste buds or your eyes.  Same thing here, no difference at all.  Facts is facts, like the man says.

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Stand your ground, Jean Valjean

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It’s 4-20 and if you can’t remember reading Les Miserables in high school because you were smoking in the boy’s room, there is just one aspect of the story relevant to this rant. It’s that Jean Valjean got five years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread. He then got another 16 years for several attempted escapes. In the past this was considered shocking, but in the corporate owned prison system of America this would a light sentence.

The Corporate prison system routinely engineers ever longer sentences for prisoners in their custody for simple infractions of the rules. A serious crime like stealing bread on three occasions can get you life without parole in a private prison.

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