Scouts, Scouters: No campaigning in uniform!

August 31, 2008

Scouts and Scouters know the rules:  No political campaigning in uniform.  It’s such a hard-and-fast rule that even Boy Scouts helping with voter registration or simultaneous food drives sometimes get calls from the local Council to be sure there is no partisan political campaigning going on.

Scouts may be asked to present the colors, the flags of the U.S. and the state, and to lead a political convention in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Diligent Scouters, or Scouts, involved in such ceremonies, will retire to remove their uniforms before continuing to participate in the political part of the activities.

Photos of Scouts used by presidential campaigns is among those things prohibited.

So this photo is disturbing.  You can see two people in Scout uniforms — one obviously an adult — at a political rally where their placement suggests the campaign officials tried to get them into news and publicity photos.  Oddly for real Scouters, there are few insignia of any kind on the uniforms — on the sleeves or pockets — other than what comes with the shirt right out of the box (World Scouting emblem perhaps excepted) — though you can see the edge of an adult leader’s patch on the adult’s left arm.  Were these real Scouters flouting the rules, or faux Scouters, actors hired by the campaign to flaunt the uniform, contrary to the rules?

The Scouts in the background -- are they complying with Scout policies that require no politicking in Scout uniform?  (photo from Andrew Sullivans blog)

The Scouts in the background -- are they complying with Scout policies that require no politicking in Scout uniform? (photo from Andrew Sullivan's blog)

Below the fold:  The rule, as listed on Grand Teton Council’s website.

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Obama hoaxers crawl out of the woodwork, onto the internet

August 31, 2008


Dennis at Thinking in a Marrow Bone — not an Obama supporter, mind you — posted a conversation he had with a guy who posted a hoaxed photo of Barack Obama, purporting to show him holding a landline telephone upside down.

This is the hoax photo

Dennis called him on the hoax.  After a few rounds of weak defense, and then moral waffling of significant proportion, the hoaxer deleted the comments from his blog.  Dennis preserved the conversation at TMB.

Moral of the story:  Don’t believe much of what you hear or see, without corroboration.  If a claim casts aspersions on someone, and comes on the internet, check it out before granting credence. Thanks to Dennis, an honest guy, for exposing the hoax and preserving the record of it.

Hoaxers are malicious and will do almost anything to damage Obama, even if it requires bringing down the U.S. and burning the flag.  No wonder George Washington wanted out of this sort of politics.

Question:  What’s the deal with the clock in the doctored photo?  [Oh – it says “3:00 o’clock”]

Honor roll:  Bloggers and others who exposed the hoax:

Dishonor roll, the Little List, bloggers who tried to perpetrate and perpetuate the hoax, or who got suckered themselves:

Special Consideration:


Trivia and waste of bandwidth – until it saves your kid’s life

August 31, 2008

Trivial information and internet communication make for bandwidth-wasting and brain-numbing exchanges — friendly, maybe, but your spouse will consider filing papers.

Until it saves your kid’s life with a dramatic diagnosis of a deadly disease across an ocean.

Look at the BBC report on the toddler in Florida whose life was saved by a transatlantic, e-mail suggested diagnosis.  Print story from BBC, here.

A toddler in Florida has been diagnosed with cancer after a Manchester woman saw early warning signs in a picture.

Madeleine Robb, from Stretford, who has never met her pen pal, spotted a shadow behind one of Rowan Santos’s eyes on pictures from her first birthday.

She then e-mailed her mother Megan advising her to get medical help.

The toddler was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer – Retinoblastoma – and underwent an operation and is having chemotherapy.

The two mothers became friends on an internet messageboard after their children were born on the same day.

But when Mrs Robb saw the pictures she said she knew something was not right.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Moments in Time.

[FireFox 3 doesn’t support the old video capture of VodPod; my apologies for sending you to the video, though sending someone to a BBC site is probably a great act of education.]

What’s the difference between a burro and a burrow?

August 30, 2008





Rabbit burrow, Nature photos CZ

If you can click to this site, you should know the difference.  Do you?

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Top 10 reasons McCain chose Sarah Palin as a running-mate

August 30, 2008

We old-line campaigners and politicos watched with great interest the news of Sen. John McCain’s choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice president ticket-mate.  McCain’s choice offers glimpses of what is going on inside McCain’s campaign, and McCain’s head.

Pythons Michael Palin and friend

Python's Michael Palin and friend

Here are the top 10 reasons McCain chose Sarah Palin, in count-down order:

10.  Michael Palin is not a U.S. citizen, it turns out.

9.   Those pesky science fans will shut up and stop clamoring for a science debate, just to avoid hearing one more fool claim that intelligent design deserves time in classes.

8.   Thought she was Nana Mouskouri.

Nana Mouskouri

Nana Mouskouri

7.   Hillary already pledged to support Obama.

Buy your mukluks at

Buy your mukluks at

6.   Two words:  Mukluk.

5.   Didn’t want to risk getting a religious nut, so Mitt Romney was out.

4.   Harriett Myers was unavailable.

3.   Impressed by the education plank in her campaign for mayor of Wassila, Alaska.

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition - Michael Palin models the robe Sarah Palin will be asked to wear, with Terry Jones, Carol Cleveland and Terry Gilliam - Monty Python publicity image

"No one expects the Spanish Inquisition" - Michael Palin models the robe Sarah Palin will be asked to wear, with Terry Jones, Carol Cleveland and Terry Gilliam - Monty Python publicity image

2.   She didn’t object to wearing Michael Palin’s gown during government investigations of non-fundamentalist Christians.

. . . and the number one reason . . .

1.  Britney Spears turned him down.

Britney Spears in 2003.  U.S. Navy photo (no kidding)

Britney Spears in 2003. U.S. Navy photo (no kidding)

Your turn:  Surely there are other, better reasons.  Tell us what they are in comments.


Update:  Serious commentary on Gov. Palin’s qualifications, here.

Ready for Banned Books Week?

August 30, 2008

We celebrate Banned Books Week September 27 through October 4 this year. Well, maybe it’s more accurate to say we celebrate the books that get banned, and the idea that freedom and liberty require that we not ban books.

Banned Books Week image from Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver

Banned Books Week image from Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver

Banned Books Week has been noted every year since 1982 in a long-running campaign from the American Library Association. Why?

Because ideas matter.  The right to express ideas, and the right to be able to read ideas, are at the foundation of our liberties.

Again in 2007, books most frequently targeted for banning include And Tango Makes Three, a delightful children’s story about two penguins taking care of an orphaned egg (too much like homosexuality), and Mark Twain’s powerful, essentially-American novel that makes the case against racism, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (ironically, because complainants claim to find the book racist).

People who ask that these books be pulled from the shelves often fail to recognize the irony — why should we ban a book about caring for orphans, or the book that makes the case against racism?

The Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver sponsors an annual Banned Books Week essay contest for Colorado teens, in conjunction with the Colorado Freedom of Expression Foundation.

How will your school and local public library commemorate Banned Books Week?  Which banned books will you read, and urge others to read?

Which banned books are on your reading lists for classroom use? Does that strike a little too close to home?  Then you need to get informed, and get active.

Jesus and the lamp unto my porch

August 29, 2008

Bug Girl has the story — and go see it at her site, and look at the photograph.

Friend, do you see Jesus? (I didn’t.)

Oh, sure.   It’s from Texas.  Maybe a trailer park.

On the plus side, there’s a poll you can crash: Do you see Jesus, someone else, or nothing at all?  (“Moth” is not one of the choices.)  The poll is by KLTV Channel 7 out in the Longview-Tyler area.

“I immediately thought it looked like Jesus and that was what was so cool cause you’ve seen His face in grilled cheese sandwiches and windows and things but on a moth’s back…we thought that was pretty neat.”

As if the moth weren’t cool enough.  Feynman was right:  The scientist appreciates this stuff better.

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