Monthly archives: May, 2010

Study: Marijuana Smoking Associated With Minimal Changes In Driving Performance

Marijuana may not impact driving, according to a new study.


Subjects exhibit virtually identical psychomotor skills on a battery of driving simulator tests prior to and shortly after smoking marijuana, according to clinical trial data published in the March issue of the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

Investigators from Hartford Hospital in Connecticut and the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine assessed the simulated driving performance of 85 subjects in a double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Volunteers responded to various simulated events associated with automobile crash risk — such as avoiding a driver who was entering an intersection illegally, deciding to stop or go through a changing traffic light, responding to the presence of emergency vehicles, avoiding colliding with a dog who entered into traffic, and maintaining safe driving during a secondary (in-the-car) auditory distraction. Subjects performed the tests sober and then again 30 minutes after smoking a single marijuana cigarette containing either 2.9 percent THC or zero THC (placebo).

Investigators reported that volunteers performed virtually the same after smoking cannabis as they did sober and/or after consuming a placebo. "No differences were found during the baseline driving segment (and the) collision avoidance scenarios," authors reported.

Let the discussion begin.

More here.

Job Market Thaws Slightly for 2010 Grads


This year’s graduates may find a few more jobs than last year’s grads..

No, this is not the news we had been waiting for. The economy is still in recovery mode, but some indicators are looking better.

From the Sun-Times:

The National Association of Colleges and Employers spring job outlook survey revealed employers plan to increase college hiring by 5.3 percent this year from 2009. A separate NACE student survey found 24.4 percent of responding graduating college seniors who applied for jobs said they had jobs waiting this year. That is up from 19.7 percent who said so a year earlier, but still no major turnaround.

Staff at local universities said they have not yet completed their surveys of students’ job search results. But job postings are up at some. Still others have seen dropoffs in employer interest as the shaky economy continues to make it tough for graduates to launch their careers.

Still, the numbers are all over the place in Chicago:

The University of Chicago has seen a 36 percent increase in job postings this year compared to last, and the number of recruiters on campus rose 23 percent, said Marthe Druska, senior associate director, Career Advising & Planning Services.

At DePaul University, April job postings — the most recent data available — were up 37 percent. Still, that was 40 percent below April 2008, notes Carol Montgomery, associate vice president of career and money management at DePaul. The university meanwhile saw an 11 percent drop in the 2009-10 year in the number of employers attending job fairs this year compared to last, she said.

Job postings and internships at the University of Illinois at Chicago fell 10 percent, and employers attending job fairs declined 33 percent, said Katherine Battee-Freeman, assistant director for recruitment.

Graduating seniors here expected a tough time in their job search. Among them was DePaul business student Jacqueline Scharf, who majored in operations management.

To the grads, remember, any job "in the meantime" is better than sitting on mom and dad’s couch. So suck it up, get over yourself, and get out there. Work fast food or drive a cab, whatever it takes. Stay active and show employers you want to work and can do so dependably.

BP: The Only People Qualified to Stop the Oil Spilling into the Gulf, and They Haven’t Got a Clue

Gulf Oil spill video

From the live feed courteously provided by BP, May 31, 2010, ca. 10:45 CST.

We need to face it: “They” have no idea what they’re doing.

“They.” You know who “they” are. “They” are the ones who are supposed to know these things. “They” are the ones who say all those neat thing, you know, as in, “They say.”

In this case, “they” are BP, British Petroleum, those responsible for what is now the greatest ecological disaster the United States has ever known.

And, yes, we can blame the government of the good ol’ US of A.

First, allow me to add my voice to the chorus of voices thanking President George W. Bush for working so hard to create such an affable relationship between the oil industry execs and those in our government responsible for regulating them. Thanks so much to President George W. Bush putting the oil industry first, over and above the health and welfare of the citizens of the United States. Thanks so much to President George W. Bush for trusting the oil industry to essentially police itself.

That is well-deserved, my friends.

I don’t know yet if President Barack Obama should have reacted more quickly, if President Obama dropped the ball in working to regulate the oil industry.

I do know that if President Obama had reacted more quickly, perhaps sent the U.S. Navy to the Gulf of Mexico to plug the leak, I doubt we would be any better off. Please, no offense at all to our men and women who serve, but the United States Armed Forces don’t train for oil recovery or oil well disaster management.

That’s supposed to be what British Petroleum and all those other wonderful oil companies do.

And get this, British Petroleum is using dispersants that are banned in the United Kingdom, and using them in quantities greater than dispersants have ever been used in the history of U.S. oil spills.

This time, the great “They” are British Petroleum, the great BP, and they haven’t got a clue what to do about this oil leak.

The latest is that BP is trying once again to use a dome to funnel some of the leaking crude to a tanker on the surface. The New York Times gives us the good news:

If successful — and after the string of failures so far, there is no guarantee it will be — the containment dome may be able to capture most of the oil, but it would not plug the leak. Its failure would mean continued environmental and economic damage to the gulf region, as well as greater public pressure on BP and the Obama administration, with few options remaining for trying to contain the spill any time soon.

If unsuccessful, that will leave the Gulf with gushing oil at least through August, which is the earliest engineers will be able to engineers “complete the drilling of a relief well, which would allow them to plug the leaking well with cement,” the NYTimes reports.

They haven’t got a clue.


Best Unintentionally Sexual Right-Wing Headline Evah: ‘Congress bows to gay agenda…’

Kudos to Eric Smith for catching this headline from the American Family Association:

Congress bows to gay agenda, repeals ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Congress has given in to pressure from gay activists and the White House and voted to repeal the "don’t ask, don’t tell" ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military…

And I’m just amazed the variety of categories I was able apply to put this tiny blog post.


Politics, Petroleum and Pollution: Olbermann Analyzes the President’s Mea Culpa (Video)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Olbermann analyzes the Gulf oil-spill catastrophe, including the President’s mea culpa.

Enjoy the vid.

Obama Takes Ownership of BP Spill: “I Was Wrong”

From the New York Times:

President Obama uttered three words on Thursday that many of his 43 predecessors twisted themselves into knots trying with varying degrees of success to avoid: “I was wrong.”

He strode into the East Room to mount a robust defense of his handling of the largest oil spill in American history, reassuring the nation that he was in charge and would do “whatever is necessary” to stop and clean up the BP leak in the Gulf of Mexico. But by the time he walked out an hour later, he had balanced that with a fairly unusual presidential self-critique.

He was wrong, he said, to assume that oil companies were prepared for the worst as he tried to expand offshore drilling. His team did not move with “sufficient urgency” to reform regulation of the industry. In dealing with BP, his administration “should have pushed them sooner” to provide images of the leak, and “it took too long for us” to measure the size of the spill.

“In case you’re wondering who’s responsible, I take responsibility,” Mr. Obama said as he concluded the news conference. “It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen right away or the way I’d like it to happen. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to make mistakes. But there shouldn’t be any confusion here. The federal government is fully engaged, and I’m fully engaged.”


Asked about inevitable comparisons between his administration’s handling of the disaster with his predecessor’s response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which flooded New Orleans and other areas, Obama said: “I’ll leave it to you guys to make those comparisons. … What I’m thinking about is how do you solve the problem?”

Comparisons to former President George W. Bush’s paltry response to the devastating storm have come mainly from opposition Republicans who are trying to made political gains in November congressional elections.

“I’m confident people are going to look back and say this administration was on top of what was an unprecedented crisis,” he said. “We’ve got to get it right.”

I’m not defending the President, really. But what more can you say? “You bet you were wrong!  Yeah!!!”

We’re still living with the industry-favoring bureaucracy created by the Bush Administration.

“Balance, Daniel-san! Balance!”

The President needs to balance the needs of corporate America with the remaining 300+ million Americans who pay taxes.

Tell Fox News John Stossel Has To Go!

The following is from Media Matters for America, and I am happy to reproduce it here. Please take action:

On Wednesday, Rand Paul, the GOP’s US Senate candidate for Kentucky repeated his claim that a central piece of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was wrong, and that businesses should be free to discriminate against whomever they please.1 Paul and his supporters don’t seem to care that without federal intervention, Black people might still be second-class citizens in most aspects of American life: where we eat, where we work, even where we live.

Then, on Thursday, FOX contributor and business anchor John Stossel went even further than Paul and called for the section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that applies to business to be repealed.2 And he’s refused to back down.

It’s time to hold FOX accountable:

While Rand Paul may have started this outrage, he can be taken care of at the ballot box — FOX News can’t.

Stossel’s position is an affront to Black America and everyone in this country who believes in racial progress. It’s one thing to be a candidate with backwards views. It’s another to be employed by a supposed news network and to use that platform to push hateful ideas that our nation repudiated decades ago.

It’s time that FOX drop Stossel. It’s why I’ve joined in demanding Fox do so immediately. If after hearing from thousands of people like you and I, FOX refuses to act, it will make clear that FOX stands with Stossel and his values, and ColorOfChange has pledged to go directly after the network with a major public campaign.

Can you take a moment to add your voice to the call to fire Stossel? After you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same:

FOX has a history of providing a platform for bigoted views and race-baiting. Most recently more than 300,000 people helped us hold FOX accountable by stripping Glenn Beck of more than 100 of his advertisers, after Beck called President Obama a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred for white people."3

But Stossel has arguably gone beyond Beck, echoing segregationist arguments from the Jim Crow era:

"It’s time now to repeal that part of the law because private businesses ought to get to discriminate. And I won’t ever go to a place that’s racist and I will tell everybody else not to and I’ll speak against them. But it should be their right to be racist."

Stossel went on to argue something that history has disproved time and again — that private business will do the right thing, without being compelled by laws, because no one would patronize a business that discriminates. It’s a blind belief in market fundamentalism that just isn’t in sync with reality. In the ’60s, white-owned businesses that allowed Blacks as customers lost business. Market forces actually perpetuated discrimination; they didn’t combat it. Simply put: segregation would still be active in parts of this country if government hadn’t stepped in.

And recent history has shown that the public accommodations section of the Civil Rights Act is still needed. In 1994, it was used to hold Denny’s Restaurants accountable, after the chain repeatedly refused to seat Black customers.4 Just last year, it was used to go after a Philadelphia pool that prevented Black children from swimming there.5

It’s time for Fox News to make a choice. Are they willing to continue to give a platform to racially-divisive rhetoric and revive dangerously outdated perspectives? Or will they move with the rest of the nation into into the 21st century? Please join me in calling on Fox News to fire John Stossel. And once you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same:

Thank you.



Dios Mio! Arizona Superintendent Out to Get Teachers with Accents

No kidding. Arizona superintendent Tom Horne is on the lookout for teachers who pronounce "comma" as "COH-ma."

Oy. Vey.

From Think Progress:

Late last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Arizona Department of Education “recently began telling school districts that teachers whose spoken English it deems to be heavily accented or ungrammatical must be removed from classes for students still learning English”:

State education officials say the move is intended to ensure that students with limited English have teachers who speak the language flawlessly. But some school principals and administrators say the department is imposing arbitrary fluency standards that could undermine students by thinning the ranks of experienced educators. […]

This is just one more indication of the incredible anti-immigrant sentiment in the state,” said Bruce Merrill, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University who conducts public-opinion research.

At one school, for example, state auditors complained that teachers pronounced “words such as violet as ‘biolet,’ think as ‘tink’ and swallow the ending sounds of words, as they sometimes do in Spanish.” The principal at that school acknowledged that teachers “should speak grammatically correct English” but said they shouldn’t be punished for having an accent.

The man in charge of this project, far-right Arizona superintendent Tom Horne — who is running for attorney general — has been going on national media in recent days to defend his policies.

What would he do if he wandered into a Latin Mass? Arrest the priest?

More here.

Park Forest Theater To Show Stanley Cup Finals on Huge Screen


Want to see the Blackhawks bigger than life? The Holiday Star Theater will be showing will be showing Stanley Cup finals offs on the real big screen. There is FREE ADMISSION, with an optional pizza/wing/snack buffet available for $10.00.

Seating is limited to the FIRST 100 people. A refundable reservation fee of $5.00 per person is required, which will be refunded upon arrival day of the event.

All reservations will be held until 10 minutes before game. Call the theater offfice line for further details at 708-283-9098.

That just sounds too cool.

The theater is under new owndership and has literally been transformed. Theater 5 has been completely gutted, cleaned, and put back together with fresh new seats, a great sound system, and all theaters have new projectors.

This should be quite the treat.

And, yes, GO HAWKS!

LOST Forever and FOUND at Last

LOST Last Supper

I’m not going to spoil LOST for you if you haven’t seen the last episodes.

Let me just congratulate the writers and the actors all. This is perhaps the best story I’ve ever experienced.

And the ending has every world religion I’ve ever taught or studied going overtime inside me.

LOST forever. LOVE forever.

We all need each other, after all.

We are LOST in LOVE.