Fire hoop dance at the Kwahadi Indian Dancers in Amarillo

July 22, 2012

Fire Hoop Dance, Kwahadi Indian Dancers, Amarillo, Texas, 7-21-2012

Fire hoop dance at the Kwahadi Indian Dancers event center in Amarillo, Texas, July 21, 2012. The dance troupe is off on a national tour over the next three weeks or so.

Venture Crew 9 in Amarillo, Texas, preserves traditional American Indian dances, and performs them literally around the world.  Troop 355 from Duncanville, Texas, stopped off to visit and view the performance — just in time, because the troupe starts a national tour tomorrow.

The performances range from very good to spectacular.  You ought to stop in Amarillo to see.

There’s a better sequence of photos at the Kwahadi dancers’ site.

Dancers belong to a Scouting organization, either Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts — and they continue about a 50 year tradition at their museum and performance center, just off of I-40 in Amarillo.

Probably 200 Boy Scouts in the audience tonight.

 


No cookies for this misogynist/misanthrope

February 21, 2012

Conservatives get crazier every day:  In Indiana, a state representative urges colleagues to vote against a resolution honoring Girl Scouts of America, for imaginary reasons.

A state legislator has sent a letter to fellow Republican members of the Indiana House saying he will not support a resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts because he believes it is a “radicalized organization” that supports abortion and promotes homosexuality.

In a letter obtained by The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne on Monday, Rep. Bob Morris of Fort Wayne said he did some research on the Internet and found allegations that the Girl Scouts are a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood, allow transgender females to join and encourage sex.

“After talking to some well-informed constituents, I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing,” Morris wrote in his letter, which also accused the group of promoting “homosexual lifestyles.”

Morris sent the letter to House Republicans on Saturday.

Ashley Sharp, spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana, said Monday a statement on the group’s website states that it leaves sex and reproduction questions to parents. The group accepts transgender youth on a case-by-case basis.

Morris is the only House member to refuse to sign a resolution honoring the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts that lawmakers approved last week. He told the Journal Gazette that others would join him in opposing the resolution but later recanted that statement in an interview with The Associated Press.

That old “some research on the Internet” as a source.

It’s scary people can be so delusional without resorting to psychotropic drugs. Is this guy smoking the same stuff Rick Santorum and Rick Perry smoke?

More, and Related Articles:


High rates of drowning: Why is there a racial disparity in drowning deaths?

August 16, 2010

Congress granted a national charter to the American Red Cross to perform emergency services, and to teach people to swim, to prevent drowning, as part of the disaster-readiness services of the organization originally founded in 1881.  Many of us got our first swim lessons under the direction of a Water Safety Instructor trained and certified by the Red Cross; some of us went on to get WSI certification to teach swimming and lifesaving.

But for some reasons, these drowning prevention measures are not working to save the lives of African Americans as well as for everybody else.

NPR’s Talk of the Nation carried a story about the problem in today’s edition (available on-line here, a 30-minute story):

Swimming Disparity
The drowning deaths of six black teens in Louisiana renewed questions about the long-standing disparity between those Americans who can swim and those who can’t. Neither the teens who drowned nor their families who watched from shore could swim.  According to the CDC the rate of fatal drowning is highest among African-American children ages 5-14 (three times that of white children in the same age range) due to a combination of social, economic and cultural issues. Neal Conan talks about what causes the dangerous disparity in swimming, and how to recognize and assist someone who’s drowning.

Drowning rates run even higher for Native Americans.

Race disparities in drownings in the U.S.; AP chart via NPR

Race disparities in drownings in the U.S.; AP chart via NPR

More than 30 people have died in drowning accidents already this year in Texas alone — victims of all races — after a terrible 2009 record.  About 3,500 people die in the U.S. from drowning every year.  Most of these accidental deaths could have been prevented with the use of personal flotation devices, and may have been preventable had the people involved had basic drownproofing, or swimming, or lifesaving instruction.

(Remember this mantra:  Reach; throw; row; go.  Only after attempts to reach for the victim, perhaps with a pole, or throw a flotation device, or row a boat, should anyone including a well-trained lifesaver, go into the water to retrieve someone drowning.)

Where can people get instruction on how to prevent drownings?  Red Cross courses are offered at countless community pools — those pools are, alas, generally the first services cut back when cities and counties trim budgets, as they have been trimming since the start of our nation’s financial woes in 2008.    Other good sources of anti-drowning instruction are the YMCA, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts.

I received lifesaving instruction at community pools, and in Red Cross sanctioned programs at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.  I earned the Swimming, Lifesaving, Rowing and Canoeing merit badges in Scouting, and I taught rowing and canoeing at a Scout camp and another camp, and I taught Red Cross Lifesaving for several years as a WSI.

Even in Dick Schwendiman’s astounding Advanced First Aid course at the University of Utah, I didn’t learn the following stuff about drowning, however (another Red Cross certified course).  Regardless whether you can get a lifesaving course, or if you’ve had one, you need to go read Mario Vittone’s stuff on drowning, and how to recognize when someone in the water needs help:

Button, Drowning doesn't look like drowning

The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”

How did this captain know – from fifty feet away – what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten? Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew knows what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound.

You’ll find that life-saving article at Mario Vittone’s blog on boater safety. If you are a teen ager, a parent, a grandparent, or you ever swim, you need to read that article.  (Thanks to P. Z. Myers at Pharyngula for pointing the way to that post.)

Will you help save a life, please?

Resources:


Just in case you thought any climate contrarian remains sane . . .

February 2, 2010

Which of these would be accurate in showing the insanity, but not so sharp as to raise the hackles of the climate contrarians?

  • “Contrarians think Antarctic unworthy of protection”
  • “Denialists criticize efforts to keep Antarctic clean”
  • “Climate change critics’ brains have left the building”

Read these stories, and tell me.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted the delicate condition of the Antarctic with regard to its two main industries, fishing and tourism.  IPCC AR4 noted that the tourism industry takes steps to protect Antarctic environments made more vulnerable by melting.  (Footnote here; actual flyer here, assessment document here in Microsoft Word .doc format)

Contrarians come unglued, here at ClimateQuotes.com, and here at Air Vent.

It’s clear that the contrarians don’t have much experience in heavy documentation.  If you follow the links they provide, you quickly get to the paper provided by the tourist industry noting their precautions to prevent contamination, provided to meet a request by scientists from the Australian team, and based on information well vetted to the point that it includes substantial excerpts from what appears to be a peer-reviewed journal on the types of solutions suitable for decontaminating foreign boots in the Antarctic (Polar Record, vol. 41, no. 216, Jan. 2005, p. 39-45; it is actually the official journal of the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge, UK).  There is astounding and commendable attention to detail, much more than the contrarians can grok, it appears.

More troubling to the Boy Scout in me is the contrarians’ contempt for what is, really, Leave No Trace Camping carried to an Antarctic tourist stop.  This is part of the environment protection credo of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and it is sound policy that everyone should be teaching their children.

What is wrong with that?  Why do the contrarians mock wise policies?  Why do they make false claims against what amounts to good Scouting?

Leave No Trace logo

Contratians disapprove of the ethics of environmental stewardship?

One implicit complaint is that the footnote does not provide evidence of damage from climate change, in the Antarctic.  It’s clear that the critics have not followed the footnote path to see why the boot cleaning poster and directive were issued, nor to see what is the research or official government action that prompted the tourist companies to implement the procedure.

It appears in a section of the IPCC reports on effects of warming on industries in affected areas.  Only two industries are noted in the Antarctic, fishing and tourism.  After establishing the increased chance of problem organisms, including micro-organisms, showing up in Arctic and Antarctic areas as the areas warm, and after noting two plagues that killed penguins recently, from micro-organisms, the IPCC paper notes that concern to prevent such tragedies have so far required only boot decontamination, and it offers a link to the flyer provided by an Antarctic tour operators group.

Got that?  To show that the tour operators are affected, IPCC cited the flyer put out by the tour operators showing how and why they were changing their operations.  It’s a minor, almost trivial point.

At no point did IPCC’s report claim this procedure as evidence of warming, or the effects of warming.  So the claims of the contrarians and denialists are completely off base, as they’d recognize except for their own shouting for the lynching of science to proceed.

Criticism of IPCC for noting the good stewardship techniques used in the Antarctic comprises more political smear than scientific enlightenment, by a huge factor.  Voodoo science from the contrarians begets voodoo criticism.

Contrarians lack wisdom in posing this complaint of theirs.  This is one more point IPCC got right, factually and ethically.  IPCC should be commended for that.

Wall of Shame (update added on February 7)

Outlets that cite the boot reference, falsely or stupidly, as some sort of flaw in the IPCC report, and thereby demonstrate malevolent intentions, and not scientific (“malice” for you Times v. Sullivan fans):


Daniel Webster Council, Boy Scouts of America, wants you

September 21, 2009

Interesting recruiting film for the Daniel Webster Council, BSA (New Hampshire).

More councils should spend a little more effort filming the reasons to join, I think — and put the films on YouTube.

Do you know of other good Scout recruiting videos — Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or Campfire?


Godwin’s Law overload: Warming denialist calls water conservation “Nazi”

June 30, 2009

You couldn’t sell a fictional story where people are this nutty.

Go see. The abominable Steve Milloy — a guy so wacky he cannot be parodied (take that, Poe!) — calls water conservation “Nazi.” He complains about a provision in the Waxman-Markey Clean Energy Act that encourages innovation in water conservation devices.

Milloy flouts Godwin’s Law right off the bat.  You can’t make this stuff up.

And — may God save us from these people — Milloy has followers.  Check out the graphic here, with Obama portrayed as a marching Brownshirt.  It’s almost too stupid to be racist, but it’s certainly incendiary.  He even admits he thinks saving water is a good idea, and he’d like to have one of the devices complained about. (This guy knows he’s in error — he censors posts that question any part of his rant.) See the ugly meme expand, here.

Girl Scout/EPA water conservation badge -EPA image

Girl Scout/EPA water conservation badge -EPA image

Water conservation equals flag-waving in America, and has done so for a at least a hundred years. Those of us who grew up in the Intermountain West may be a little more attuned to the drive — Hoover Dam, Glen Canyon Dam, Flaming Gorge Dam, the Central Arizona Project, the Central Utah Project, the Colorado River aqueduct that carries water to Los Angeles, it’s impossible to live in the West and not be conscious of water’s value, its precious qualities.

Today, the many benefits of controlling water in this way are evident in the extensive development that has taken place throughout the West over the past 100 years.  Huge cities have been created and millions of people live, work, and recreate in this desert region.  But, as the West continues to grow, we must face the problem of continually increasing demands on a finite supply of water.  This includes human population needs and the needs of the environment.

But one doesn’t need to be from the cold northern desert of southern Idaho to figure out that saving water is a good idea.

Most homeowners would like to save money.  Americans spend between $600 and $1600 for washing machines that cut water usage by up to 75% (we just replaced our two-decades-old Maytag with a water conserving front-loader).  Go to the appliance stores and listen to the conversations.  People who could better afford the $200 models discuss how they will cut costs elsewhere to get the water saving versions — because their water bills are so high.

Much of of the rest of America works to conserve water out of necessity. Texas cities have mandatory water conservation laws, like Temple, Richwood, Austin and Dallas.  Texas rural areas fight to save water, too.  California cities demonstrate that water conservation works, saving investments in ever-grander and more environmentally-damaging water importation schemes, and allowing for population growth where water shortages would otherwise prohibit new homes.  Water conservation is a big deal across the nation:  In Raleigh, North Carolina; in Seminole County, Florida;  in Nebraska; in the State of Maryland.  An April drive across Wisconsin a few years ago convinced me it is the most waterlogged state in the nation, Louisiana notwithstanding — but even in Wisconsin, wise people work to conserve water for agriculture, one of the state’s leading industries and employers.

What’s the next step up from Godwin’s Law?  These guys like Milloy and his camp followers can only get crazier, benignly, if they head to the meadow and graze with the cattle.  Crazier non-benignly?  Let’s not go there.

But let us address the odious comparison to Nazis directly.  In World War II, when freedom was on the line, there was a drive to conserve resources in America.  Americans grew their own vegetables in Victory Gardens.

Poster encouraging patriotic conservation, for the war effort in World War II

Poster encouraging patriotic conservation, for the war effort in World War II

Americans collected scrap metal, iron, copper and aluminum, to be made into war machines to save the world.  Americans conserved rubber and gasoline by restricting automobile use.  There was the famous poster, “When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler.”  Conservation was understood to be a patriotic response to the challenges the nation faced.

Bill Maher updated the poster with his 2005 book, When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden. Maher urged civic actions like those that helped the U.S. during World War II, including conservation of gasoline and other resources.   Maher understands that wise use of resources is something a people should strive for, especially when in competition with other nations, either in a hot war or in trade or influence.  Conservation remains a patriotic behavior, and opposing conservation remains a call to support the enemies of America, in war, in trade, in policies.

Update of the World War II poster, for our times.  Image from Barnes and Noble

Update of the World War II poster, for our times. Image from Barnes and Noble

It’s not just a coincidence that Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts (in conjunction with the U.S. EPA for the past several years) learn water conservation as integral parts of their programs, chartered by Congress, to promote civic leadership in America’s youth.  Those groups charged with teaching actual patriotism understand conservation to be a high duty, a high calling, something that all patriots do.

So, let’s face it.  If you crap on a 6-gallon flushing toilet, you crap with Bin Laden.  When you shower with a non-flow restricting shower head, you shower with Bin Laden.

Yes, it sounds creepy.  It is.

You hope Milloy and the other Neobrownshirts* have parents or other family to pull them back from the brink, but then you see Congress.

Yeah, the Nazis were the Brownshirts, in Germany.  In Italy the fascists wore black shirts.  Brown is generally the opposite of green, in political and business parlance — for example, development of a previously undeveloped piece of property is “greenfield development,” while redevelopment of a previously-developed parcel is “brownfield development.”  Since Milloy is opposed to anything “green,” I think it only fair that his shirt color match his politics.  It’s his choice, after all.

Well, what about you, Climate Change Skeptics?

"Well, what about you, Climate Change 'Skeptics?'"


Power Line documents flag desecretion in Minnesota

July 28, 2007

What’s wrong with this picture?

Uncle Sam on stilts, carrying a flag improperly; citizens do not salute

They didn’t mean to, but there it is: Flag displays not in accordance with the U.S. Flag Code at every turn — flag desecration! Or, as Power Line titles it, “A Minnesota 4th of July.” You can see the slide show here. I point out some Flag Code violations in a slide-by-slide list, after the fold.

No, I’m not calling for the Sheriff of Buncombe County, North Carolina, to dispatch his deputies to arrest everyone in Apple Valley, Minnesota, who participated in the 2004 4th of July Parade — not even if they are Ron Paul supporters (in 2004, who knew?). Heck, we’d need to do the same for Duncanville, Texas (I was there; I probably still have some photographs somewhere), and probably for Provo, Utah (“the nation’s biggest Freedom Day celebration”) and Prescott, Arizona, and 15,000 other towns in America where citizens turn out on the celebration for our Declaration of Independence and have a parade. Of course, most of those towns are not fettered with North Carolina’s outdated and uconstitutional flag desecration law, either.

Fact is, most people are not too familiar with the U.S. Flag Code, and in their attempts to have a good time and celebrate the good stuff in and of this nation, they sometimes do not hew to the Flag Code’s call.

Which means simply that we need to do a better job of educating citizens on how to respect their flag and display it respectfully; and it also means we shouldn’t get all worked up whenever someone screams “FLAG DESECRATION!” to alarm us and make us rally around George Bush (who, as we saw in the last post, needs some Flag Code education for himself).

To his credit, Scott Johnson at Power Line is not a huge backer of flag desecration amendments to the Constitution. Nor are the other two contributors at PowerLine, except for their frequent complaint that the First Amendment “protects flag burning and nude dancing” but not whatever it is they want to rant about at that moment.

But if these über patriots think all this Flag Code bustin’ is good patriotism, where does a deputy in Asheville, North Carolina, get off telling people they can’t use the flag in their protest? Isn’t that THE core value the flag stands for, that citizens can protest?

Or, is it really true that the Bush defenders have politicized the nation so badly that only some political statements are protected by the First Amendment? We, our people, fought King George III to win the right to speak our minds. We shouldn’t yield to anyone that right won with the blood of patriots.

Read the rest of this entry »


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