Archive for July 30th, 2005

Quote of the Day

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”Morneau should have cut it. Joe should have caught it. Silva should have ate it. Rodriguez shouldn’t have hit the guy in the head.”

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, after Johnny Damon hit a single and went all the way around to score in a bizarre sequence featuring two Twins errors and a throw to the plate that hit Damon in the helmet. Safe.

Beserk Inmates Destroy Prisons

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Chronically violent prison inmates, who officials
were forced to relocate when doors in their Walpole cellblock began mysteriously
opening without cause, lashed out in two other prisons where they were
transferred this week, prison officials said.

Inmates from the notorious 10 Block segregation unit at MCI Cedar Junction
in Walpole ripped beds off cell walls, kicked toilets loose, and broke
observation windows at MCI Norfolk and the Souza-Baranowski Correctional
Center in Shirley this week.

The inmates who went on the rampages were among 162
of the state’s most incorrigible offenders, who were transferred to six
other facilities Monday after three doors at Walpole’s Department Disciplinary
Unit opened spontaneously in what officials have called a malfunction
of the prison’s electronic door-control system.

”The bottom line is that we have moved a lot of inmates who are destructive
anyway," Department of Correction spokeswoman Diane Wiffin said.
”They are in prison because they couldn’t follow the rules of society,
and they are in segregation because they couldn’t follow the rules of
prison. They don’t adapt well to change."

In the incident at Walpole, cell doors and secure
exits were spontaneously and mysteriously opening. Word on the
whisperstream suggests hacking may be involved….

from the Boston Globe

Cash for Class – Paying Students to Study

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CHELSEA — The high school here will try a new way
this fall to make students show up for school: Pay them.

Under a privately funded program, students will get up to $125 a year for
perfect attendance all year, as long as they graduate. They have the chance
to get up to $500 for a four-year string of zero absences.

Educators across the state praised Chelsea for its boldness, but said they
worry about the message the 1,430-student school is sending by paying students
for something they should do anyway. By law, students must stay in school
until they are 16.

In neighboring Revere, officials considered giving $10 to high school students
to attend Saturday school. But Superintendent Paul Dakin said the recordkeeping
problems and philosophical questions doomed the idea.

Is this an idea worth considering? Although paying
for students to go to school may seem ridiculous and wrong-headed at
first
glance, on closer examination it can be seen to have numerous social
and economic benefits.

First of all, giving kids a cash bonus for perfect
attendance is hardly rewarding them for something they should do anyway.  All
kids are allowed to miss a certain number of sick days, families take
vacations, etc.  On the other hand, it is hard to justify denying
the bonus to a kid who just get sick through no fault of his or her own.
 So we would argue that it may make sense to straight out pay kids
an hourly wage to go to school.

It is in the interest of our economy to
have educated workers, and keeping more
students
in
school
through
graduation
will
produce more and better educated workers. Furthermore, Chelsea is one
of the poorest and most minority-heavy (Hispanic, mostly) districts
in the state, and Hispanics have the highest drop-out rate among ethnic
groups – over 50%. The schools lose these kids to the gangs, and in
many
cases to the necessity of supporting their families and sending money
back to extended family abroad. If paying them would keep them
in school, would that not lead to minority advancement, get more people
off of welfare, keep kids out of gangs, lower the crime rate and improve
the quality of community life?

It would certainly be cost-effective if it keeps
more kids off of the streets, lowers unemployment and the kind of drug
and
crime related activities kids get involved in when they aren’t in school.
It would give them a sense of self-respect, teach them to manage money,
get them used to the basic economic paradigm which is going to dominate
the rest of their lives, and allow them to be more active participants
in our wonderful consumer paradise. In a way, it is the same argument
as that if favor of allowing colleges to
pay
varsity
athletes
in big-time
sports
like
football
and
basketball,
to keep them from turning pro at 18 or 19.

A good example of thinking outside the box…

from the Boston Globe

Suicide by Lion

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JOHANNESBURG — A man was eaten by lions after running
past guards into Kruger National Park at dusk just as the gates were
closing, park officials said yesterday.

Park spokesman Raymond Travers
said guards and rangers searched for the unidentified man in the dark
after he ran into the park on Thursday, but failed to find him.

He was
found after dawn yesterday as the lions ate his corpse.

”We have no
idea why he ran in," Travers said. ”We suspect the man was mentally
deranged. No one in their right mind would run into the bush at Kruger
at night. It’s far too dangerous."

Kruger National Park is home
to between 4,500 and 5,000 lions spread across an area roughly the
size of Belgium. Rangers shot one lion as he devoured the body and were
looking
for a female lion, he said.

The only thing that bothers us about this whole story
is that they shot one lion and are looking to kill another.  For
what? These are wild animals who have no choice but to act acording to
their natural instincts, which are to hunt and eat other animals stupid enough to come into their territory. The classic rationalization is "Well,
once a lion gets a taste for human flesh, they can’t eat just one." But
has this been scientifically established as being true in every case?  Has
anyone tried therapy, de-conditioning or dietary substitutes? These beautiful
and endangered animals should not have to die because some moron bounded
on to their dinner table…..

from Reuters

Scientists Find New Planet – Name It “Deja Vu”

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LOS ANGELES — Astronomers announced yesterday that
they have discovered a new planet larger than Pluto in orbit around the
sun.

The unnamed planet would be the 10th in the solar system, although there
are scientists who dispute the classification of Pluto as a planet.

The discovered object is the farthest-known object in the solar system,
Caltech said in a statement. Its location is currently 97 times the distance
between the sun and Earth.

The object was first photographed on Oct. 31, 2003, but it was so far away
that its motion was not detected until data was analyzed again this January.
The scientists have since been studying the object.

”It’s definitely bigger than Pluto," Brown said in a statement.

He said scientists are ”100 percent confident that this is the first object
bigger than Pluto ever found in the outer solar system."

from the Associated Press

Now, this is getting ridiculous.  By our count
this is the 9th 10th planet to be discovered. Doesn’t anybody remember Sedna!!
We are starting to think this is some kind of long-running gag on the
part of those jokesters in the astronomy departments of universities
around the world. Either that, or there are now 18 planets in our solar
system….

Comics of the Day (part one)

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Today’s comics page features two quite different ways
of dealing with the old cat-on-our-favorite-chair conundrum….

As opposed to….