Wednesday, May 25, 2011

So You Have a College Diploma

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Welcome distinguished faculty, honored guests, and bankrupt parents. And above all, welcome to you - the eager and unemployable graduates of the Class of 2011.

Today represents the culmination of a long safari through the murky thickets of this impenetrable rain forest we call "higher education." Just a few years ago you arrived for your freshman orientation, full of wide-eyed anticipation and existential dread, wondering if this place would eat you alive. Soon though - through luck, pluck, and enormous amounts of mind altering substances - you adapted to your new surroundings. You learned to communicate in the natives' strange gibberish and follow their bizarre rituals. You learned which taboo words and thoughts to avoid, and how not provoke the cannibals. And finally, today, as you stumble out of that misty, bewildering glade and across this stage, you will receive the ultimate acknowledgement of your successful journey through the heart of darkness: a college diploma.

What a handsome document it is; genuine acid-free vellum, laser printed in the finest Olde English calligraphy, expertly kerned and cropped, suitable for framing. One can only imagine the pride of the sheep that sacrificed its life that you might walk away with this elegant keepsake of four years in your own beloved ovine herd. Or five, or seven, or whatever your family financial resources and alcohol habits demanded.

Behold its Latin inscriptions and embossed seals; why, if you just squint a little, it looks like it could have come from Harvard, maybe even Hogwarts. Drink in the bold signatures from the dean of your college and the president of the university, affirming to the world that you have fulfilled each academic requirement and never bounced a tuition check. And thus it also affirms that you have been sanctified as a graduate of this fine institution, and are now granted all rights and privileges thereunto appurtaining. What exactly are those rights and privileges, you ask? Believe me, you'll be finding out soon enough.

Now that your time and money are tapped out, this diploma will serve as lasting reminder of everything you accomplished during your magical four to seven years on campus. Please take it with our compliments, and treasure its distinctive elegance during the many, many free hours you will soon have after moving back home with your parents. As a special offer to those parents who have any money or pride left, we will cheerfully mail your student's diploma pre-framed for the low additional cost of $79.95 plus shipping and handling, ready to hang in a place of honor over your family hearth or hot water heater. Or, for $99.95, this deluxe leatherette-bound diploma TrapperKeeper makes an elegant organizer for all those student loan bills that will begin arriving within the next 60 days.

But why dwell on the costs? As college studies show, a college diploma is a bargain at any price! Oh sure, four or five years ago you could have taken out a $200,000 loan and bought a nice starter house, or a new Ferrari. But where would that leave you today? With a four or five year old Ferrari, that's where. Instead you have this priceless diploma signifying your wise financial choice to put your debt where your brain is and hot rod that sucker with the latest nitro-fueled, supercharged academic knowledge this side of Deconstruction Valley Dragway. And unlike a Ferrari, no repo man will ever load your knowledge on a flatbed and haul it away - even if he wanted to.

Oath Keepers will muster in Tucson, Arizona, on Memorial Day, May 30, 2011

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What - An Oath Keepers muster. Oath Keepers and friends will muster and march to the home of Mrs. Vanessa Guerena for a ceremony of memoriam for her late husband, (the murdered. BT ) Jose Guerena, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq war.


Members of Congress Found to Get ‘Abnormally High’ Stock Returns Read more: Members of Congress Found to Get ‘Abnormally High’ Stock Returns

A new study has found that investments held by members of Congress significantly outpace the broader market, raising questions about insider information available to elected officials — but not to ordinary Americans.

The study of stock investments by members of the House of Representatives replicates a previous study of U.S. Senators’ investments with similar results: House members were able to exceed the market’s gains by 55 basis points per month, more than 6 percent a year.

The earlier study on Senators had found that they were able to beat the market by 10 percent, owing in part to their ability to delay or block legislation by filibuster.

(Getty Images photo)

“Overall we find that the common stocks purchased by Members of the U.S. House of Representatives earn statistically significant positive abnormal returns,” the researchers write.

“Our results indicate that Representatives, like Senators, also trade with a substantial information advantage.”

Harry Reid Employs Sleazy Tactics to Block Pro-gun Rand Paul amendment

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He’s at it again. Senator Harry Reid is abusing his role as Majority Leader of the Senate to block a pro-gun amendment that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is attempting to add to the so-called Patriot Act.
We alerted you yesterday to Rand Paul’s amendment that would exempt 4473’s (the form all purchasers fill out when they buy a firearm from a licensed dealer) and other gun records from the blanket information demands which the ATF can make under the 9/11 legislation.
In order to circumvent Sen. Paul’s efforts to protect gun rights, Reid scuttled the Senate version of the 9/11 extension and instead tacked it onto an unrelated House-passed small business bill. He then employed a procedural scheme to lock out ALL Republican amendments, including Paul’s pro-gun amendment.

Grassley vows to block nominees until he gets answers on gun sales

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Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is vowing to block President Obama’s nominations until he gets detailed answers on a controversial program that resulted in drug cartels acquiring more than 1,300 firearms from the U.S.

Grassley is pressing the Department of Justice (DOJ) on who initiated the “Gun Runner” program that authorized the sale of guns to people acting as straw purchasers for drug cartels in Mexico. Gun Runner might have contributed to the death of at least one federal agent.

As the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Grassley has been working closely with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) for the past several months, gathering documents and conducting interviews with DOJ officials and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents in an attempt to find out who gave the order for the operation.

Sources note that unlike Grassley, Issa has subpoena power.

Homeschool or die vol. 7

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If any other activity was this directly connected to increasing the teen mortality rate, it would be illegal:
Every two hours, a teenager in America takes his or her own life. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth, and the rate of teen suicide has roughly tripled since 1960.... Scientists have identified many contributing factors: Discrimination, the number of sexual partners, substance abuse, being dumped by a romantic partner, parental divorce, child physical and sexual abuse, bullying and even excessive video-gaming play a role. Scholars at the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center have offered a novel contributing factor to teen suicide: high school.

In a careful and persuasive paper released last fall called "Back to School Blues: Seasonality of Youth Suicide and the Academic Calendar," Benjamin Hansen and Matthew Lang point out that suicides for 14- to 18-year-olds drop abruptly during June, July and August.

"The decrease in suicides for 14- to 18-year-olds during the summer months is stark, while the 19- to 25-year-olds see a slight rise in suicide rates during the summer," the authors point out. "The fact that 15- to 18-year-old suicide rates decrease in the summer, but the 19-year-old suicide does not, suggests that the high-school calendar is playing a prominent role in youth suicide," they conclude.
Given that the summer vacation reduces the teen suicide rate from 6.22 per 100,000 to 4.71, this means that banning public school would save 1,092 lives per year.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 05-24-11

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Here are the 23 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this Tuesday, May 24, 2011:

Fuse Solar Charger

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The Fuse Solar Charger is a lightweight way to add solar and battery power to any bag, tent or bicycle. Charges handheld electronics. 4 Watts Solar Power and 3,000 mAh battery included.

Solar Charger Specifications

Two 2.0 Watt Solar Panels generate power in sunlight. They are waterproof, lightweight and built to withstand abuse.
Power: 4 Watts total peak output at 6 or 12 Volts (selectable depending on charging application)
Charge times: 4-5 hours in the sun will fully charge a typical phone, 1 hour will provide about 3 hours of talk time.
Universal USB Battery stores power for use anytime and is
specially designed to charge efficiently from solar. When not in the
sun, the battery can be charged using the USB Power Cable or
optional AC travel charger or DC car charger making it just as useful
on the grid as off
Charge times: Battery will be fully charged from 7 hours of direct sun, 5.5 hours from USB port on laptop or optional DC or AC
Capacity: 3,000mAh, 11 Watt hour capacity
Output: 5.5V, 600mA via USB port
Input: 4.8-12V, 650 mA
Connect to Devices via the USB Port or 9 standard adapters.