Onward the Arsenal

If you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to hit the couch to read some Flaubert and watch Arsenal finish off Juventus. Have a good afternoon….

Not a bad result at all. Arsenal ran the hateful bianconeri right out of the Stadio delle Alpe with but three moments of danger, all of which Herr Lehman dealt with forthrightly. Freddie missed a good chance, young gun Fabregas missed a great one by drilling the ball right at Buffon and Alexander Hleb ran out of steam or he probably would have put one away.

It’s been a good week for soccer. Last night we beat the bottom-dwellers, (who for some reason always give us trouble), by a score of 3-1 to take a 11-point lead in the league, but I’m hobbling around today thanks to the injury to our left winger. He couldn’t run and we had no substitutions left, so I switched positions with him, (the manager had me in at forward even though I’m usually on the wings now), and ended up trying to cover both positions.

The good news was that the manager moved me up from number 15 to number 13 before the game, which means I’m guaranteed a full half of play instead of just cleanup and injury duty. I’m simply not good enough to crack the starting 11 nor do I have the stamina to last the full 90 minutes on the wing, but I earned us a penalty last night and stole the ball that created another goal, so I’ll hold my spot and maybe move up to 12 if I can manage another decent game on Friday. We’re playing the #2 team on the table, so a win will put us 14 points up and pretty much lock in the title.

UPDATE: No, I’m not a diver. I loathe the likes of Juve’s Nedved, who tried to fake his own injury immediately after taking down Toure from behind and justly earning his second yellow on the night. I earned the penalty by moving into position for a pass from our other striker; when he slipped the ball across the box to me, the defender threw himself to the ground in an impossible attempt to block the pass and only managed to deflect it with his outstretched arms.

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What have we here? A link you say?

Because we all know that’s not possible:

A new study shows that autism may be linked after all to the use of mercury in childhood vaccines, despite government’s previous claims to the contrary.

An article in the March 10, 2006 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (JPandS.org) shows that since mercury was removed from childhood vaccines, the alarming increase in reported rates of autism and other neurological disorders (NDs) in children not only stopped, but actually dropped sharply — by as much as 35 percent.

Using the government’s own databases, independent researchers analyzed reports of childhood NDs, including autism, before and after removal of mercury-based preservatives. Authors David A. Geier, B.A. and Mark R. Geier, M.D., Ph.D. analyze data from the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and the California Department of Developmental Services (CDDS) in “Early Downward Trends in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Following Removal of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines.”

The numbers from California show that reported autism rates hit a high of 800 in May 2003. If that trend had continued, the reports would have skyrocketed to more than 1000 by the beginning of 2006. But in fact, the Geiers report that the number actually went down to only 620, a real decrease of 22 percent, and a decrease from the projections of 35 percent.

Considering that it is the government which is more than a little culpable for the ill effects of vaccines it regulates, and in some cases, requires, I hardly think it is surprising that various agencies swear up and down that vaccines are not harmful, could not possibly be harmful, and besides, even if they were harmful, they stopped putting the stuff that isn’t harmful in the first place in them.

What moron could possibly believe that line of illogic? And yes, I am looking at you. And you.

I particularly enjoyed this quote from a previous study that Saw No Evil: “The IOM stated that the evidence favored rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal and autism, that such a relationship was not biologically plausible, and that no further studies should be conducted to evaluate it.”

It is very easy for me to believe that they very firmly hoped, wished and prayed that no further studies WOULD be conducted. It is that “should” that damns them as knowledgeably attempting to bury the smoking gun.

Teachers are punks

A teachers union flees from John Stossel:

Last month, 500 angry schoolteachers assembled outside my office. The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) was furious that “Stupid in America,” a “20/20” show I did on education, suggested that some union teachers were lazy. They shouted that I didn’t understand how difficult teaching was, and chanted, “Shame on you!”

Randi Weingarten, head of New York City’s union, took the microphone and hollered, “Just teach for a week!” She said I could select from many schools. “We got high schools, we got elementary schools, we got junior high schools!”

I accepted. I even said I’d let the union pick the school….

Finally, four days before what was supposed to be my first day of class, they canceled. Officially, “they” were the public school administrators who said it might be “disruptive” and that it might “set a precedent” that would open their doors to other reporters.

Too bad. Letting cameras into schools would be a good thing. Taxpayers might finally get to see how more than $200,000 per classroom of their money was being spent.

I wonder why the union even made the challenge. I suspect the UFT didn’t expect me to say yes. When I turned out not to be easily intimidated, the teachers’ union and the government school monopoly folded.

It’s not only that they are lobotomizing the children of America, they’re also chickenshit to boot. If you’re afraid to let a television journalist – a practitioner of what is not generally found to be among the most intellectually gifted occupations in the world – have a crack at doing your job because he might reveal just how easy it is, you’re truly a pathetic specimen.

I rather doubt that Stossel would be overwhelmed. We have between 20 and 30 kids between the ages of 5 through 8 who show up for soccer every week. I have no trouble maintaining discipline even though I’m usually on my own, and I also teach them tactical concepts which demonstrably involves more complex thinking than they are currently required to do in school in addition to the technical drills.

“If the attack comes from the one side, defender on that side attacks the ball. Where does the other defender go?”

“TO COVER THE HOLE!” (That’s what we call the open space in front of the goal.)

“Where does he watch?”

“THE OTHER SIDE!”

“And does he just stand there?”

“NO, INTERCEPT THE PASS, UNLESS THE ATTACKER BEATS THE FIRST DEFENDER. THEN ATTACK THE BALL!”

“If the first defender gets beaten, does he chase the ball?”

“NO, RUN ACROSS TO COVER THE ATTACKER COMING DOWN THE OTHER SIDE!”

I think it confuses parents of new kids when the first thing we do after warmups is to sit down and talk, but two championships in two seasons has proved that a team of players who think and are able to react to fluid situations will beat teams comprised of bigger, faster and better players almost every time. Two years ago, my starting defenders were six and seven and they made a grand total of three mistakes in back the entire season. I still miss those two….

Teaching can be exhausting and it is often frustrating, but it is not hard. And lest some cretin of limited brain capacity and mysteriously high self-regard point out that he was once educated by a teacher in southern Nebraska who was not a punk, thereby disproving everything I have ever written or will write in the future, I shall add, ala Scott Adams, BOCTAE.

Protecting the homeland

From the New York Times:

The deputy press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security was arrested on Tuesday and accused of using the Internet to seduce someone he thought was a teenage girl, the authorities said.

According to the sheriff’s office in Polk County, Fla., where the charges were issued, the official, Brian J. Doyle, 55, of Silver Spring, Md., had a sexually explicit conversation with a person he believed was a 14-year-old girl whose profile he had seen on the Internet. In reality, the sheriff’s office said, Mr. Doyle was talking with an undercover sheriff’s detective.

I wonder if this might be one reason why the Justice Department hasn’t been in a hurry to look into the list of 1,500 homosexual chickenhawks whose financial information was collected by an underage male prostitute. It sure would be a surprise if there happened to be the names of a few members of Congress and high ranking federal bureaucrats there….

Mailvox: don’t destroy the village

Hari misses the larger context:

Far more irritating, however, is the passage by RAW. The context in which you used it makes it look to the unobservant like a quote from New Scientist or somesuch, when RAW is really an occultist novelist with strong opinions. From one so intelligent, I expect more from you.

Given that yesterday’s post was made in the context of an entire column largely dealing with some of the ideas put forth by that particular occultist novelist, I find your criticism to be spurious. I could not care less how things might look to the unobservant; I expect commenters here to be capable of ad

Renee, ever the rationalist, is suspicious:

I notice #4 isn’t cited.

Sorry, it’s from the same New Scientist article. One thing that is likely not clear to those who have not read it is the obvious chagrin that permeates the entire piece, it is clearly written by a rationalist who is somewhat appalled to discover where the applied reason of the scientific method is leading him.

She adds:

“Even if more evolved people have spiritual beliefs for evolutionary survival it doesn’t mean what they believe in is true.”

Absolutely! However, the post was in response to TP’s false claim, (apparently based on his second-circuit engaging in defense of his theoretical loyalty to the third-circuit), of atheism’s manifold benefits. At no point did I argue that such things were proof of the verity of my religious faith, or, for that matter, of anyone else’s.

Still, it seems to me that the rational action, in light of such evidence, is to seek to embrace spiritual truth in addition to reason based on material proof. And there is justification for doing so beyond the material benefits, as surely the coincidence of the consistent superiority of an ancient text over 2,000 years of accumulated human wisdom, decades of education and doctoral degrees must inspire a spirit of inquiry in even the most robotically rational mind.

I would encourage everyone to jettison their dogma, be it of Science, Church or State, when approaching ideas both old and new, and attempt to consider them with a genuinely curious and open mind. It is written that Creation is stranger than we can know, so there is no reason to intentionally limit our understanding of the universe(s) to a scientific model that we already know beyond any shadow of a doubt to be both errant and incomplete.

It is obvious that the scientific mind is fundamentally crippled when Carl Sagan blithely insists, with absolutely no evidence, that 122,500 people were mass hallucinating on five separate occasions in 1917 during the Fatima incidents. Again and again, we see how quickly the self-proclaimed rationalist resorts to an ontological argument – I can imagine it, therefore it is – in defense of what is otherwise logically unsustainable. Reason is attacked in her own defense… Sagan must destroy the village in order to save it.

None of this should be taken to imply that the scientific method is not useful, (in fact, quite the opposite is true), only that it has strict limits that those who revere it are far too inclined to ignore.