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madfloridian

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 84,190

About Me

Retired teacher who sees much harm to public education from the "reforms" being pushed by corporations. Privatizing education is the wrong way to go. Children can not be treated as products, thought of in terms of profit and loss.

Journal Archives

How TLC Went From The Learning Channel To Home Of Honey Boo Boo

Interesting article from the Business Insider in 2012. It actually tells nothing of the ownership changes and presents nothing really substantive. There are some interesting pictures interspersed with the short comments.

The 40-Year Transformation Of How TLC Went From The Learning Channel To Home Of Honey Boo Boo

The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare along with NASA founded what was meant to be an informative and instructional network in 1972. The channel was to be distributed for free via a NASA satellite.

But, the network started branching out its content for a more mainstream audience in the mid-'90s with reality shows including "Medical Detectives" and "Trauma: Life in the ER" ..

Soon after, in 1998, the channel rebranded itself as TLC and the programming began to drastically change.

.....In an attempt to get back to its roots, the network changed its tagline again to "Live and learn." It strayed from home improvement shows with "Little People Big World" in 2006 and tattoo show "L.A. Ink" the following year.

Family centered shows "Jon & Kate Plus 8" and "17 And Counting" (now "19 and Counting) came front and center in 2008.

Today's shows, while they may be informative (who knew you could get $2000 worth of groceries for nearly $100 with enough coupons) consist of shock value.


I found more about the ownership and the family with major holdings.

Discovery Communications

Discovery Communications, Inc. is an American global mass media and entertainment company based in Silver Spring, Maryland. The company started as a single channel in 1985, The Discovery Channel.

Discovery also is a provider of educational products and services to schools, including a series of K-12 digital textbooks, through Discovery Education, and Discovery Digital Networks.

DCI both produces original television programming and acquires content from producers worldwide. This non-fiction programming is offered through DCI's 54 network entertainment brands, including Discovery Channel, American Heroes Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Velocity, Discovery Life and a family of digital channels.

Despite being publicly traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange, the Newhouse family exercise the largest stake in the company, 31%, through privately held Advance Publications.


More about Advance Publications.

Advance Publications

Advance Publications, Inc., is an American media company owned by the descendants of S.I. Newhouse Sr., Donald Newhouse and S.I. Newhouse, Jr. It is named after the Staten Island Advance, the first newspaper owned by the Newhouse family, and where the mailing address for Advance Publications is listed on paper (although Advance does not have an official headquarters). As of October 2014, it was ranked as the 44th largest private company in the United States according to Forbes. Crain's ranked Advance Publications the 4th largest private company in the NY area in 2012. In addition to holding publishing and communication assets, Advance serves as the holding company for the family's 31% stake in cable entertainment company Discovery Communications.


More about the Newhouse family.

#11 America's Richest Families (2014)

Brothers Samuel ("Si") (pictured) and Donald Newhouse inherited media group Advance Publications from their father, Sam Newhouse (d.1979), who started with the Bayonne Times newspaper in New Jersey and expanded it into the nation's largest privately-held newspaper chain. Donald oversees the newspaper division and Si runs Conde Nast, publisher of magazines including Vogue, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair. The brothers also own cable TV and Internet service provider Bright House Networks and a stake in Discovery Communications, the operator of cable and satellite TV networks such as Discovery Channel and TLC.


All of which actually tells me nothing about why in the world a network would want to put on shows that are so outrageous and contribute so much to the dumbing down of this country.

I am not familiar with the Discovery network's foray into educational materials, but I hope they are more substantive than Honey Boo Boo and Little People.

Corporations and legislators vote on bills together behind closed doors at ALEC. Unbelievable.

Thanks to @11AliveNews in Atlanta for this courageous investigative piece. More of this please.

So what if Jinger Duggar wants to move out...Patriarchal movement would squelch that.

From a Patheos blog...

Carefully scripted lives: My concerns about the Duggars

The family has been hugely influenced by Bill Gothard's andthe Christian Patriarchal movement.

In a family influenced by Quiverfull beliefs, children who embrace different beliefs or ways of life from their parents are seen as failures. The idea is to raise ideological clones. The amount of expectations this places on children is immense. I really don’t know what those older Duggar kids want out of life, but I do know that if they want something different from what their parents want for them they are in for a lot of trouble, a lot of emotional manipulation, and a lot of guilt.

7. A patriarchal family order

The main emphasis in the Christian Patriarchy movement, as I pointed out in my introduction to it, is on a hierarchical family order where each member plays his or her role and everyone stays in their place. As an example, click here and here to see what the teachings the Duggars follow regarding the proper role of the husband and of the wife. The gist is, of course, that the husband is to lead and the wife is to submit.

The main way this plays out for the children is threefold. First, the children are required to obey their parents without exception. Second, the children are being raised for their future roles – the boys are to be providers and protectors and the girls are to be homemakers. They’re taught this from day one. Third, daughters are taught that they must obey their father even after they become adults.

Those older Duggar girls have been taught that they are under their father’s authority, and that they must follow his will for them. His commands are absolute, just as their obedience is to be absolute. By obeying their father, they are preparing for the time when they will similarly obey their future husbands. Furthermore, by staying at home rather than leaving the home to attend college or get a job, they are preparing to spend their lives as homemakers, as mandated by their gender.


Jinger Duggar expressed her desire to move to the city, somewhere. Seems Momma Michelle does all the talking for her.

Jinger Duggar had high hopes of getting out of her one horse town

Jinger Duggar had high hopes of getting out of her one horse town, but RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned that she won’t be moving any time soon.

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar’s daughter had said that she wants to live in a big city — in fact, any city — but her parents claim that the teenager’s intentions were misunderstood, that she doesn’t REALLY want to live in a big city, and if she did, it would definitely NOT be the Big Apple!

“Jinger didn’t mean she wanted to move to New York City,” her mom Michelle explains to RadarOnline.com. “She meant that she wants to live closer to a city. We’re talking right near a city, but not New York City.

“Jinger meant she wanted to live 15 minutes from a Wal-mart. We live so far out of town on 20 acres, but Jinger wants to live closer to town, so she doesn’t have to drive so far to go shopping.”

Her older brother Josh, his wife Anna and their children are moving to Washington, DC for his new job, and Michelle suggests maybe Jinger could spend the summer with them in that city.

“Jinger would love to spend time with her brother and all their children in Washington,” she says — explaining that that’s about as far as she is allowed to go!

“New York City is way above what we would ever consider a city where she should move!” The devoutly Christian mom of nineteen vows.


See? The parents have all the answers for this.

There is by the way a Twitter page called Free Jinger

Outstanding interview, Bernie Sanders. Video from CNN Reliable Sources.



Babylonsister has posted the transcript.

Outstanding interview.

Sex abuse scandals rock far-right fundamentalism. The Duggars, Bill Gothard, Doug Phillips.

From Slate today:

Duggar Revelations Are Just the Latest Sex Abuse Scandal to Rock Far-Right Fundamentalism

The family's fame guarantees this story will stay in the public memory for a while, but it's far from the first sex abuse scandal in the tight-knit world of far-right fundamentalism. As I wrote last year for Slate, Doug Phillips of the far-right group Vision Forum was forced to step down after admitting to "a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman." The woman in question, Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, claims it was more than "inappropriate," noting that they met when she was 15 and that he "methodically groomed" by moving her into the house as a nanny and becoming "the pastor of her church, her boss, her landlord, and the controller of all aspects of her life" before pushing for sex. The Duggars were tight with Phillips and Vision Forum, which promoted a lot of Duggar-related material.


Remember Bill Gothard?



Another hardcore fundamentalist leader who had a mentorship relationship with the Duggars, Bill Gothard, was also caught up in a sex abuse scandal last year. Gothard was the leader of Institute in Basic Life Principles, an organization that promotes the "quiverfull" philosophy—particularly its emphasis on forsaking contraception and having as many children as possible. Gothard resigned after more than 30 women accused him of sexual harassment and abuse. Prior to this, Wire reports, the Duggars were "devotees of Gothard's Advanced Training Institute seminars. Until recently, the Duggars' official website called Gothard's Embassy Institute (which he also founded) their '#1 recommended resource' for families (that page now displays as blank)."

Vision Forum, the Institute in Basic Life Principles, and the Duggar family are arguably the three most influential groups promoting the "Christian patriarchy" movement, which promotes homeschooling, wifely submission, extreme pre-martial chastity (no hand-hugging or kissing), no contraception, and the idea that women's only real role in life is as wives and mothers. Having all your major leadership eaten up by sex abuse scandals is no small thing. Even before the Duggar revelations, the head of Patrick Henry College, itself an extreme religious-right organization, was distancing himself from the Christian patriarchy movement. When even big-time fundamentalists are jumping ship, maybe it's time for TLC to consider cutting the Duggars loose.

Updated to add: TLC has pulled 19 Kids and Counting.


More about the Gothard influence. From 2012

Carefully scripted lives: My concerns about the Duggars

4. Bill Gothard and IBLP

The Duggars are big fans of Bill Gothard and are enrolled in his Institutes for Basic Life Principles. Outside of the circle of his followers, Bill Gothard is frequently regarded as a cult leader. He teaches, for instance, that troll dolls delay labor, that cabbage patch dolls are possessed by demons, and that Christians today must follow Old Testament sexual purity codes, including abstaining from sex the evening before weekly worship. Oh, and he teaches that tampons take girls’ virginity.

Until 2002 Gothard ran a group home for delinquent children in Indianapolis, Indiana. Children were sent there by the juvenile justice system for years until the place was closed down under allegations of abuse, including Gothard’s notorious “prayer closets.” There has been a growing movement among young people raised on Gothard’s teachings to expose the abuse, physical, emotional, and spiritual, they suffered at the hand of Gothard and his multiple ministries, including orphanages in places like Russia.

What bothers me most about the Duggars’ involvement with Gothard and IBLP is their use of his “re-education” camps (my term). When Josh Duggar was showing some signs of being “rebellious” years ago, they sent him to Gothard’s military boot camp for young men, the ALERT Academy. He returned much subdued. They’ve done the same with some of the girls, sending them to Gothard’s Journey to the Heart programs, where they are reminded of how wicked and sinful they are and told again and again that following God means obeying their earthly parents.


It bothered me to read at that link that the Duggars use "blanket training."

The Duggars have stated that they use blanket training. What they do is place a baby on a blanket and tell the baby not to get off. If the baby crawls off, he or she is spanked on the leg, told “no,” and placed back on the blanket. If you do this for long enough, the baby will learn to stay on the blanket, and then you can safely leave the baby there while you cook lunch or school the older ones. This all seems counter to the nature of a naturally curious baby.

Authoritarian discipline shuts off questions and leaves little room for children to explore. The emphasis on obedience overrides anything else, and as I’ve written before, this can be highly problematic.

More details about the "mistakes" made by Josh Duggar. From Sarah Posner, Religion Dispatches.

Josh Duggar and the Purity Lie

Such hypocrites they are.

According to the police report, Jim Bob and Michelle, paragons of parenting, hid Josh’s crimes from the police and the public. In Touch reports, based on the police report it obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, that:

"Josh Duggar was investigated for multiple sex offenses — including forcible fondling — against five minors. Some of the alleged offenses investigated were felonies. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were interview by the Springdale Police department on Dec. 12, 2006. The report says that James told police he was alerted in March, 2002 by a female minor that Josh — who turned 14-years-old that month — had been touching her breasts and genitals while she slept. This allegedly happened on multiple occasions. In 2006, Jim Bob told police that in July, 2002 Josh admitted to fondling a minor’s breasts while she slept. “James said that they disciplined (redacted, Josh) after this incident.” The family did not alert authorities."


And more:

In their own statement to People, Jim Bob and Michelle say that “when Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes, and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong,” that “each one of our family members drew closer to God,” and that they “pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family.”

But the Duggars and their supporters have very deliberately marketed them as a perfect family—or if not perfect, at least pure, and in particular, sexually pure.

The first episode of their “reality” television show aired in 2008, two years after the police interviewed family members about the sexual assaults that had taken place in 2002 and 2003; the statute of limitations had already run and the police could not pursue charges.


Now we know the reality is a very ugly thing.

The Duggars are no ordinary spokespeople for the religious right; they are super-spokespeople. For years, they have been held up as exemplars of biblical living, of devotion to Christ, and of, especially, homespun honest living and sexual purity. It’s long been obvious to many that this is a product of marketing and packaging, not reality. But now no one can pretend anymore.


The purity lie:

Jim Hightower tells us how he really feels about Obama's pushing the TPP.

The Hightower Report: Obama's Bizarre Sales Pitch for TPP

For some bizarre reason, Obama is staking his presidential legacy on a trade scam called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It's a corporate wet dream that would let profiteering giants in Japan, Vietnam, Brunei, and eight other Pacific nations sue to overturn our national, state, and even local laws that they claim might pinch their profits. These challenges would not be filed in our courts of law, but in private, corporate-run tribunals set up by the U.N. and the World Bank.

Unsurprisingly, the great majority of House and Senate Democrats are saying "hell, no" to such a power grab. So the president, who is famously disinclined to do the sweaty work of rounding up votes for progressive legislation, invited 30 wary-but-wavering Democratic lawmakers to the White House to make a two-hour personal plea for support of this honker. Vote with me on this highly unpopular giveaway of the people's sovereignty, he told them, and I will personally come campaign for you if your vote prompts a real Democrat to oppose you in the 2016 primary election.

Wow – that's a double dose of political hemlock! First, he asks them to vote against the people by increasing corporate power. Then, the very president who led this highly unpopular effort will come tell your constituents what a fine public servant you are for voting to impose foreign corporate power over them. Good grief – why not just have the corporate chieftains themselves come thank you for selling out to them?

Utter stupidity of scripts testgivers are forced to use. Word for word, no deviation.

I so much appreciate this post by Peter Greene at his blog Curmudgucation. We teachers used to gag on the words we were forced to use when giving a test.

Welcome Aboard Big Test Airlines

BS Test instructions are a unique piece of tone-setting, the classroom equivalent of pre-flight safety instructions on any airline that is not Southwest. These instructions accomplish many goals, none of which are desirable in a classroom.

... I say turn to page two and read the paragraph (the one threatening you with vague, ominous punishment if you dare to violate test security), and you of course do not. Certainly not the fourth time you've been told to read it in two days. Again, we are establishing a tone, delivering a message.

In six modules of testing, you will be told to sign a Code of Test Taker Ethics Pledge (don't cheat or violate security) three times. You will be told to read the section about test security six times. Test security gets a paragraph, all on its own page. Encouragement ("do your best") gets eighteen words over six modules. How many times will we tell you something encouraging, affirming, reminding you of your value as a student and a human being. None times. The allocation of space in the script makes it clear what is most important here, and it's not the students.

I will read the directions out loud as you read them silently just about as much as air travelers read the card in the seat-back pocket. I will ask you repeatedly if you have any questions, but of course by the time we get to those, it's clear that none of us is supposed to say or do anything that's not in the script.

I am supposed to tell you one bald-faced lie-- when looking at the scoring guides, the script makes reference to "professional scorers." That is a lie. There are no such people.


He's right.

The direction script is just one more indicator that there are many priorities in play here, and finding out what our students really know is far from the top of the list.

Leo Laporte back with online Screen Savers. Miss the old Tech TV show.

He was pretty basic back then, and I learned so much from that show. Have not seen the new online one yet, just ran across it at Twitter.

Here's his Twitter page.

And the video:

We're Back



I left TechTV 11 years ago. One year later I started TWiT. Practically every day since then I’ve met people who loved The Screen Savers and asked me if I ever planned to bring it back. I always said no, because TWiT was really a different beast, and I don’t like the idea of recreating something I’ve already done.

But the drumbeat never stopped, and over the years the capabilities of our TWiT production team got better and better. Our New Year’s Eve marathons over the last two years convinced me that we had the chops to do something like a TV show but more authentic, less glossy, and better suited to 2015.

I didn’t want to bring back The Screen Savers, but I did start thinking that we could do a new Screen Savers for a new decade. A variety show dedicated to technology and featuring many of the folks I have worked with over the past 20 years, mixing TechTV favorites with our current talented TWiT team and introducing a new generation of makers, hackers, and geeks.

...TechTV was in 50 million households by the time Comcast bought it and buried it. Today TWiT can be seen by over 1 billion people all over the world. It’s time to show them what the Internet can do that cable TV can’t. I can’t wait to see you!


More than 1,000 plaintiffs file lawsuit to keep Japan out of TPP.

They are saying it would undermine their human rights. Other countries are showing concern as well as many here in the US. More than 1,000 plaintiffs file lawsuit to keep Japan out of TPP

More than 1,000 plaintiffs file lawsuit to keep Japan out of TPP

More than 1,000 people filed a lawsuit against the government on Friday, seeking to halt Japan’s involvement in 12-country talks on a Pacific Rim free trade agreement, which they called “unconstitutional.”

....The plaintiffs said the TPP would change a number of rules and regulations concerning people’s lives “for the sake of the freedom and profits of global corporations.”

They claimed that an influx of inexpensive foreign products under the tariff-cutting deal would harm domestic producers and lower Japan’s food self-sufficiency ratio.

They also said the pact would push up prices for medicines and violate people’s right to receive proper health care by favoring big pharmaceutical firms.


The suit also shows concern for the secrecy surrounding the new trade pact. Sound familiar?

They also pointed out that the secret nature of the TPP negotiations violates the people’s right to know, as the document is confidential and the negotiating process will be kept undisclosed for four years after the agreement takes effect.
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