Posts filed under ‘Education’
An NBC graphic used in a report about how American students “lag behind” their European and Asian peers in math, science and reading:
In science, Americans are in “21th” place?
Some people object to having their tax dollars have anything even remotely to do with abortion (which is legal in the United States, by the way). I object to having my tax dollars fund hate and discrimination:
A private Christian school that will be receiving taxpayer-funded school vouchers has just instituted a policy banning LGBT students or students with LGBT parents or siblings. Wilmington, North Carolina’s Myrtle Grove Christian School just published a Biblical morality policy that bans anyone even suspected of “participating in, supporting, or affirming sexual immorality, homosexual activity, or bisexual activity.”
The two-page letter uses the children’s game, Duck, Duck, Goose, to illustrate their “simple but profound truth: If we move too far away from the center, we can no longer hold hands.”
The question is, at what point are a family’s moral affirmations or lifestyles far enough away from the biblical center that we cannot hold hands in partnership?
Ultimately, Myrtle Grove Christian School concludes:
The school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant or discontinue enrollment of a student if the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home or the activities of a student are counter to or are in opposition to the Biblical lifestyle the school teaches.
What happens when we stop teaching U.S. history in elementary school:
Last night Barack Obama told us to watch the videos of people dying in Syria after being gassed by President Assad and he said if the United States doesn’t lead in the area of humanitarianism — as it supposedly always has — who will.
What a bunch of crap.
Show me another country who’s launched significant
humanitarian military actions roughly every 40 months over the last 40 years starting in 1964 with the invasion of Vietnam, veterans of which we’re still caring for and victims of which are still suffering from birth defects from our use of the chemical weapon, Agent Orange.
I’m listening to a “liberal” radio talk show and the people who are calling in are astonished to learn that the United States isn’t the beacon on the big high hill they’ve been led to believe. I mean, they’re as bad as this guy.
Beyond what we did in Vietnam, below is the reality. Oh, and how about we start wars every couple centuries instead of every 40 months for god’s sake:
- 1965-1973: Cambodia. We dropped more bombs on the tiny country than had been used in all of World War II.
- 1965: Dominican Republic. President Johnson sent 22,000 troops to prevent communists from taking over.
- 1983: Grenada. In the comically named Operation Urgent Fury, we invaded the tiny island nation to stop the commies.
- 1986: Libya. After two Americans are among those killed in a terrorist bombing of a disco in Germany, President Reagan ordered the bombing of facilities controlled by Muammar Gaddafi.
- 1989: Panama. In Operation Just Cause, we invaded the country and deposed its leader, Manuel Noriega.
- 1991: Kuwait/Iraq. Operation Desert Storm.
- 1992-1995: Somalia. Operation Restore Hope. Didn’t end well.
- 1994: Haiti. President Clinton sent 20,000 troops to restore the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
- 1995: Bosnia. US and NATO forces intervene in the civil war with a large bombing campaign.
- 1999: Kosovo. We bomb the Serbians to help the Kosovars.
- 2001: Afghanistan. Still going!
- 2003: Iraq.
- 2011: Libya.
- 2013: Syria
From an article in the Guardian titled: The American Dream Should Really be Called the American Debt. With College Loan Debt Hitting us Where it Hurts, the American Dream has Become the American Farce for Generations Y and Z:
In the past nine years, the average student loan balance has exponentially grown from $10,649 to $20,326.
So, student loan debt has doubled in nine years.
Think about that for a minute.
Are we headed in the wrong direction or what?
Fast forward to today and the results of a question asked in a Louisiana poll by Public Policy Polling, August 16 – 19, 2013:
Who do you think was more responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina: George W. Bush or Barack Obama?
George W. Bush: 28%
Barack Obama: 29%
Not Sure: 44%
Holly cow. What the hell are they smokin’ down there?
From “whatever” on YouTube (published July 5, 2013):
News like this is precisely why I created an “Outrage Overload” category:
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is defending his city’s decision to close 23 schools and lay off thousands of workers in the face of a $304 million deficit—all while Pennsylvania is investing in a $400 million state prison in suburban Philly.
Geezus. We’ve gone insane.
This happened today under Constitutional lawyer, community organizer Barack Obama’s watch:
The US government is collecting the phone records of millions of US customers of Verizon under a top secret court order.
Read the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order here.
And there’s this: NSA collecting phone records of millions of Americans daily.
I’m a kid of the 60s and 70s and this would have been shocking and totally unacceptable back then. The government wouldn’t have dared do it.
There was a time when — even the president — needed a warrant to get phone records. It’s appalling that We the People have let our government run so amuck.
Can’t wait for congressional Democrats to stand up for us on this. (Yeah. Right. I’m cracking myself up.)
UPDATED @6:31 EDT below.
People marching this afternoon against the proposed closure of 61 public schools in Chicago.
Remember back in the day when schools had to hold bake sales while the military got everything it needed? Fast forward to today and heck, forget bake sales. They’re just freakin’ closing the schools now.
What kind of values and priorities are those?
And now, of course, the police, representing the establishment — the folks who want to close the schools — are arresting people (in front of Chicago City Hall) who are trying to protect our kids:
What a country.
It’s just amazing what Republicans think is important:
During their first three weeks in power, Senate Republicans [in Washington state] have introduced bills to require parental notification for abortions, allow ranchers to kill wolves and let people ride motorcycles without a helmet.
Also on the list: plans to revamp [read, cut] workers’ compensation benefits, repeal the state’s family leave act [that, among other things, gives new parents five weeks off after the birth of a child] and assign A-F grades to public schools. There’s also talk of dumping the state employee pension system in favor of a less-expensive, 401(k)-type plan.
So, they want supposedly want to protect unborn fetuses but for people who are already born they want to increase traffic deaths and health care costs by letting people ride motorcycles without a helmet; kill wolves; cut workers’ compensation benefits; make it so folks don’t have a guaranteed leave plan so they can take time off when they or a family member needs help due to a medical problem; deprive new parents of bonding time with a new baby and make it harder for people to make ends meet in retirement.
What a vicious, hateful crowd.
So proud of my state, out here in a wild, wild west which is looking saner than some other parts of the country. It’s a state that lived through the Columbine slaughter and the Aurora theater massacre and we’ve said no to arming teachers.
Eileen McCarron, a retired math teacher and the president of Colorado Ceasefire, a group that argues for greater gun control said,
“We Coloradans do not wish to turn our school into prisons or our teachers into prison guards.”
This is a terrible idea. The last thing we need is more and deeper ignorance:
D.C. Schools May Nix High School Government Class as a Requirement
Public high school students in the nation’s capital may soon be able to graduate without taking a single U.S. government course.
The D.C. State Board of Education proposed changes to the graduation requirements in December that would require students to take more physical education, art and music courses instead.
Remember this? (Look at how cavalier and arrogant that cop looks.)
Twenty-one students and alumni filed a federal lawsuit on February 22, 2012 against UC Davis over the University’s treatment of protesters during a Nov. 18, 2011 demonstration in which campus police were caught on video dousing seated protesters with pepper spray.
Bravo! What the campus cops did was outrageous.
The lawsuit charged that UC Davis administration officials set in motion a series of events that they should have known would result in constitutional violations against the demonstrators, and that they and the campus police department failed to properly train and supervise officers.
A settlement was announced on September 26, 2012. The University agreed to pay $1million, including $730,000 to the named plaintiffs and others who were arrested or pepper-sprayed on November 18. Additionally, the case has been expanded to a class action lawsuit, and a portion of the total award will be set aside to compensate individuals other than the named plaintiffs who were pepper-sprayed or wrongfully arrested on November 18, 2011.
On January 9, 2013 a federal judge approved the settlement.
God I hope the University doesn’t appeal, though they might just to set a “precedent.” $1 million isn’t all that punitive. They should shut up, walk away, and be happy they weren’t ordered to pay more.
If you want a good laugh, mosey on over to Freakonomics and their post titled: “Homicide Victims Rarely Talk to Police” and Other Horrible Headlines. Some of the headlines they’ve compiled make your jaw drop.
Two of my faves:
This is an astonishing fact, per the New York Fed: The New York Fed reported yesterday that student debt loads have now hit $956 billion, up $42 billion from last quarter.
And check out this graph showing the disparity between income
growth decline over college tuition increases:
Food for thought tonight (warning to those who are science and fact adverse):
From a stretch of rocky shoreline on this tiny island [Tatoosh Island, Washington], one can, on any given morning, watch otters floating on their backs, elephant seals hauling out of the water and a bald eagle flying past murres huddled along a cliff face. The startled birds perform a synchronized dive into the sea, their ovoid black-and-white bodies resembling miniature penguins.
But for over four decades, with the blessing of Makah leaders, Tatoosh has been the object of intense biological scrutiny, and scientists say they are seeing disturbing declines across species — changes that could prove a bellwether for oceanic change globally.
Cathy Pfister and Timothy Wootton, both biology professors at the University of Chicago, have been trekking to the island since the 1980s, often accompanying their former graduate adviser, Robert T. Paine, a nominally retired zoology professor from the University of Washington. At 79, Dr. Paine still returns to Tatoosh several times a year to continue the ecological research he began in the 1960s.
Among the declines the researchers are noticing: historically hardy populations of gulls and murres are only half what they were 10 years ago, and only a few chicks hatched this spring. Mussel shells are notably thinner, and recently the mussels seem to be detaching from rocks more easily and with greater frequency.
Goose barnacles are also suffering, and so are the hard, splotchy, wine-colored coralline algae, which appear like graffiti along rocky shorelines.
While not entirely understood, the declines are not entirely mysterious. Biologists suspect that the shifts are related to huge declines in the water’s pH, a shift attributed to the absorption of excess carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in ever-greater amounts by the burning of fossil fuels for energy.
“You can predict change,” Dr. Paine said, “and most of the changes are going to be in a direction we don’t want.”
Can’t wait to hear the details. This is all we know right now:
Chicago Teachers Union delegates voted on Tuesday to suspend their strike, several delegates said as they departed a meeting of union leaders.
Some 800 delegates representing the union rank-and-file ended the strike after more than two hours of debate on a new three-year contract with the school district. The compromise deal gave Emanuel part of the reforms he wanted, and teachers got some guarantees on employment.
Here’s President Obama in roughly 2008 talking about how he’d “walk on that picket line” with union workers if they were denied their right to collectively bargain, which is exactly what’s happening in Chicago:
“If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America.”
This is a big deal with the Democratic base, which D.C. Democrats tend to ignore, at their own peril this year, IMHO. See Rahm, Rahm, Rahm.
And there’s this:
How cool is that? Paul Ryan loves Obama’s former Chief of Staff.
Obama, do you want to fu*k your base in this close election?
False News is cheering Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel today because he’s standing against the Chicago Teachers’ Union. Oh, and did you know Rahm is ahem, a Democrat? So Fox is peeing its pants because gosh, this proves even Democrats hate unions, thus EVERYBODY hates unions.
Way to go Rahm:
America, while you wallow in fights over whether zygotes should have Constitutional rights and gay marriage opening the door to people being able to marrying horses, other countries are looking forward. Check this out:
Europe’s First “Green” Train Leaves the Station Thanks to Belgium’s Solar Tunnel
16,000 solar panels installed on the roof of a high-speed rail tunnel in Antwerp, Belgium have been officially entered into service. The solar installation is the result of a collaboration between Belgian rail operator Infrabel, renewable energy developer Enfinity, the municipalities of Brasschaat and Schoten, intermunicipal financing companies FINEA and IKA, and solar construction company Solar Power Systems.
The project, known as the Solar Tunnel, is the first of its kind in Europe as it is the first time railway infrastructure has been used to generate green energy. The solar energy will be used in the Antwerp North-South junction (including Antwerp Central Station) by the trains and station servicing both conventional and high-speed trains.
Look at that beautiful thing.
Oh, wait, back to God striking me down because my dear, wonderful brother is gay.
(H/t Chris L.)
My quote of the day is from Karl Rove:
“As people do better, they start voting like Republicans – unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing”
Republicans have made no bones about why they hate (and fear) an educated public. It’s a threat to their existence. Between dumbing us down and rigging the vote, they hope to dominate our politics until well, I don’t know until when. Until they’ve sucked the life out of the people of the United States and destroyed our natural resources I guess. Too bad we don’t have a strong second party — I’m lookin’ at you Democrats — to stand up to them.
In case you missed it, the United States isn’t the greatest country in the world anymore. Here’s why:
Beginning scene of the new HBO series The Newsroom explaining why America’s Not the Greatest Country Any Longer… But It Can Be.
This is what happens when you elect a representative who (1) apparently never took a civics class in her life and has no basic understanding of the Constitution and (2) who wraps herself in a Fox News / Rush Limbaugh cocoon and doesn’t read, travel or get out all that much:
… [O]ne Louisiana Republican is learning the hard way that religious school vouchers can be used to fund education at all sorts of religious schools, even Muslim ones. And while she’s totally in favor of taxpayer money being used to pay for kids to go to Christian schools, she’s willing to put a stop to the entire program if Muslim schools are going to be involved.
Valarie Hodges admitted that when she supported Governor Bobby Jindal’s school voucher program, she only did so because she assumed the religious school vouchers could only be used for Christian schools:
I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools. I liked the idea of giving parents the option of sending their children to a public school or a Christian school.
Hodges is charged with upholding the Constitution of the United States yet she has apparently never read it. She obviously doesn’t know, and she hasn’t internalized, that the First Amendment — the First Amendment! — says there shall be no “making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion.”
Don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I guess I’ll cry because Republicans want to dumb down our education system such that Hodges’ ignorance is the norm.
The corporate media held its breath today, punditizing about the Supreme Court releasing its decision about “ObamaCare” tomorrow. Radical neocons are set to praise the “Roberts court” and liberals are set to demonize it (maybe…if they have the guts).
That said, most Americans will slap their foreheads and say whut
because they have no earthly idea who John Roberts is.
Gotta love No Child Left Behind.
Look at this amazing crowd at a demonstration in Montreal on May 22:
Beginning in February, students throughout Quebec began protesting against a proposed 75 percent hike in the cost of their tuition. Demonstrators staged strikes, sit-ins, and marches, in some cases drawing hundreds of thousands of participants and incurring hundreds of arrests. Quebec’s government responded by passing a controversial emergency law, Bill 78, that places strict limits on free assembly, including a provision that requires demonstrators to submit protest plans and receive police approval. Reacting to the new law, hundreds of thousands more took to the streets to join the broadening protest. Now, four months later, nightly demonstrations continue across Montreal. These marches are called “casseroles,” as participants use pots and pans to create noise and call for attention.
See a larger version of the photo above and 38 more, here.
Notice how the ahem, “liberal media” is all over this?
We’re #1? Not exactly:
You get what you pay for.
Here are some things I heard about today that I thought were interesting but I’m too tired to put an individual post up about:
France’s new government will flesh out plans to cap the pay of top executives at state-controlled companies by mid-June, laying down a marker in a Europe-wide debate fuelled by waves of austerity and rising unemployment.
Elected this month promising to curb the privileges enjoyed by France’s wealthy and powerful, Socialist President Francois Hollande pledged during campaigning to limit senior executives’ salaries [paid by taxpayer's money] to a maximum of 20 times that of their lowest-paid employee.
The tax dollars French citizens are paying are funding these “state” firms so no question about it. Executives shouldn’t reap huge salaries paid for by tax dollars. A no brainer imho. I mean, let’s cap the executive pay of defense contractors wo suck off of the boob of the U.S. tax payer. The scary –yikes! – Socialism can be a good thing.
Ah yes. Republicans. Always looking for a way to protect the corporatocracy and to rip We the People off:
North Carolina science people have determined that coastal sea levels are expected to rise 1 meter [3.28 feet] by 2100 — far more than they’ve traditionally risen, due to the expected impacts of climate change. But developers in 20 coastal counties, see, have determined that such a rise would be bad for development prospects. So they’ve lobbied the state to lower that forecast to only 15 inches instead, because why not? Fifteen’s a nice number. Arbitrary, sure, but can’t the scientists just shut up already?
The difference between 3.28 feet and 15 inches isn’t all that much right? [Yikes!] So hey, WTF. Everyone involved will be dead and buried (w/millions passed on to their ALEC-member-kids who will control the world my neighbor’s 3-year-old boy will live in.)
The sound of casseroles, or banging on pots and pans, has become a common sound of Montreal’s nightlife for the past week or so.
Tonight, the sound is spreading to the rest of the nation as protesters in over 60 cities across Quebec and Canada (and some international locations like Brussels, London and Madison, WA). Organizers want to emulate Quebec’s casseroles movement, which has its roots in the Chilean cacerolazos, anti-goverment protests in the 1970s and ’80s. Tonight’s Facebook page humourously dubs the event “Casseroles Night in Canada.”
The movement in Montreal was sparked by the ongoing opposition to tuition fee hikes and the introduction of Bill 78. Protesters gather on neighbourhood street corners during the evening, clanging pots, pans, and anything else they can grab, and march all over Montreal. Supporters along the way join in by making noise from their balconies, front doors and windows.
One of the things Canadians are protesting is a new law — designed to quash protests (crazy gets normalized) — requiring them to submit a map outlining their protest route eight hours in advance.
This is the map they submitted last Wednesday:
Thumbs up casserole people oh, and if I were you, I wouldn’t buy a home on the Florida coast.