Friday, February 25, 2005

Concerning Georgia's Smoking Ban Proposal

Sent to: Rep. Judy Manning and Sen. Steve Thompson

Feel free to forward to your state representatives.

Dear Congress Member,

I find the idea of a state-wide smoking ban enticing. A non-smoker for my entire life, I can't honestly say that I would not personally benefit from or even appreciate such a measure. But at the same time, I am more committed to the foundation that our country was established upon when our forefathers decided that a free-market system was the optimal solution for creating a sustainable and fruitious national economy.

While it is understandable that some people feel inconvenienced by another's decision to harm themselves for the perceived benefits of voluntary nicotine use, I also appreciate the fact that I, as an individual, have the option of using my power as a consumer to decide whether or not I would like to devote my patronage to an establishment that allows people to smoke. Our market system was designed to handle these pressures without the outside influence of legislators that feel the need or pressure from outside organizations to protect people from themselves. I sincerely hope that you do not view your position as such a job.

Yes, I have been "inconvenienced" by a smoker's decision to light up by the fact that I do not enjoy the odor or lingering effects, such as "smelly clothing" etc., of such behavior. But at the same time, I also recognize my ability to remove myself from such a situation if I deemed a good and/or service to not be of substantial quality or necessity to subject myself to such an environment. The side argument that employees of smoker-friendly establishments suffer unnecessary health consequences is valid up to the point where one considers the relative number of people that are affected compared to the number of people that are having freedoms limited through either being told that they cannot smoke or by being told through force of government that they cannot allow smoking within their very own place of business. Individual freedom should be the primary argument when discussing unnecessary regulation of private business. Those individual freedoms should include, but not be limited to, the right of business owners to allow legal consumption of a federally regulated good, the freedom of individuals to decide whether or not to consume such goods and the freedom of an employee to seek alternate employment if they feel that they are subjected to an unhealthy environment.

The idea of a statewide public ban of smoking is an unnecessary expenditure of time on the behalf of our state legislature and should be reprehensible to a public servant dedicated to preserving the individual freedoms that so many have sacrificed to provide for our generations and the next. I ask you to help to eliminate any measures to impose any such bans on public smoking and any other encroachment unto the rights of individuals to make decisions for themselves.

Christopher L. Neill

Lesson Not Learned

I remember when Kelly Campbell, a former star wide receiver at Georgia Tech, was arrested the first time. I remember it because of several "drug-related" comments he had made during the sessions where I tutored him and several other players for some lame-ass textile engineering class we called "Socks for Jocks." The assertion at the time of the incident was that the pot belonged to his friend, the driver. Of course it did. Notice that nowhere in all of that did it state that he had not taken advantage of the use of his friend's supply, so maybe that was the honest truth. And of course the star receiver's drug test comes up "negative." Negative means bad afterall, doesn't it?

Apparently, this time he didn't have enough friends.

I feel like a cheesy-ass writer for Law and Order with that last line.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Is It Just Me?

Is it just me or is this headline completely inappropriate and hilarious?

Friday, February 18, 2005

Leave It to The Onion

The Onion puts an interesting spin on the teaching gig.

To be honest, I felt that way a little in some of the "on-level" classes I taught last year. What's interesting is how many of them raised their hands one day when I asked who was planning on going to college. Even the guy with a 47 average raised his hand. It's really not funny when he probably will manage to get a degree from some 13th grade "university".


I wish I'd have had a can of Lysol handy today when I got near some of my students. Maybe they decided to pass on the bath because it's Friday, who knows? I'd have done the same thing this guy did.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Bet They Were Paying Attention

It's the typical classroom dilemma for the modern day science teacher. The little bastards just don't have the attention span to learn the 20 or so common polyatomic ions. They aren't willing to study the rules for naming ionic compounds. It's an uphill battle. You're looking for something... ANYTHING that will get their attention for at least 10 minutes of your 60 minute class. Then, you find it. Let's teach them to make bombs.

Real smart there, chief.

Hell, one of my students is having a hard time convincing me to demo a thermite reaction. Why, just today he was using the molecule kit to model TNT. I don't think he needs any encouraging from me.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Too Stupid to Realize They've Won

The Georgia state flag has been a big controversy for the past few years. The state legislature, under pressure from race warlords and, of all organizations, the NCAA decided to change the flag to the Bland Ol' Flag, aka "the blue one." Then, the rednecks got bent out of shape. It seemed they really liked that old rag they adopted in 1956 (integration, etc.) that was likely intended to be more inflammatory than they would like to admit in the Georgia history class they make all of the 8th graders take. So, they elected the first republican governor since Reconstruction, likely because he promised to let the people vote on the flag issue. The funny part is that the flag the 'necks were so fond of was not a choice, at least funny to me. The "choices" were the aforementioned blue one and the current flag that won.

Now the really funny part.

The people who obviously have nothing better to do than have meetings on the Capitol steps about how pissed off they are about not having the old flag back are still at it. There was a demonstration yet again, this time led by some elected official who desires the same thing these other bigots want (and it has nothing to do with "heritage" as they often proclaim). The funny part is likely missed by most. Why? Because they don't really know their history. What do I mean? Well, all I have to say is compare this and this.

Sit down, shut up, get a life.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Get Ready for a Real Barn-Burner

A big issue in metro Atlanta education news is Cobb County's plan to equip all teachers, high school and middle school students with laptops. Bids were put in by several companies, including Dell, HP, IBM and Apple. Apparently, they decided to go with Apple.

Let's not mention that pretty much 95% of the current thousands of computers county-wide are not Mac OS. And neither are software licenses, but I digress.

What I find even more interesting is how I received this little release today that cites a meeting that hasn't even been held yet. Today is Tuesday, the article references a meeting that will be held tomorrow! An excerpt:
The Cobb County Board of Education on Wednesday heard details of an enterprising plan to prepare students to succeed in the 21st Century’s global information-based society, creating the largest one-to-one computer learning initiative in the United States. Superintendent Joseph Redden will begin contract negotiations with Apple to work out details of the Power To Learn program, which calls for the company to provide approximately 63,000 iBook G4 laptops for students and teachers in grades 6-12, plus a comprehensive package of training, technical support and server upgrades. The school board will consider the first phase of the plan in March.
Wednesday, February 23
7:00-8:00 PM
Mabry Middle School
2700 Jims Road
Marietta, GA 30066
Emphasis added by me.

I'll see if I can get the PDF of tomorrow's press release posted later this evening.

All I want to know is who got their pocket padded the most?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Kim Jong Illin'

The woes of the North Korean man now extend beyond obtaining essential resources for survival and dodging those Evil Capitalists. Now he has to get a haircut.
The reclusive communist country is waging a hair war, telling its male population to lose the long locks, cut the coiffures and mow the mane to conform to "socialist style" — no longer than two inches.
Apparently, with the exception of that year or so around my wedding, I've been kickin' it "socialist style" for my entire life.

The reason for the move to short "socialist hair"? "Long hair hampers brain activity by taking oxygen away from nerves in the head."

Guess that explains Poison.