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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
Number of posts: 43,301

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Monday Toon Roundup 4-RIP Harper Lee

Monday Toon Roundup 3-Apple and the Worm

Monday Toon Roundup 2- Not Christian

Monday Toon Roundup 1- Primary Fallout

Corporate reformers wreck public schools

Both parties embrace all the wrong education reform ideas. Why is it so hard to invest in kids and teachers?

When Barack Obama was elected president of the United States in November 2008, I was grinding my way through the eighth grade, my final year at John F. Kennedy Middle School before I was to move up to high school. While I followed the election closely, the candidates’ positions on education policy weren’t of much interest to me. And at the time, I didn’t give any thought to how my school experience could be different.

Among many progressives and liberals, there were flickers of hope that Obama’s election signaled the prospect that his presidency would lead to the reversal of the No Child Left Behind Act and Bush-era policies. It sure seemed that way once he named Stanford professor and NCLB critic Linda Darling-Hammond to head his transition’s education policy team.

But then in December 2008, any remaining optimism suddenly vanished. The president-elect appointed the CEO of Chicago Public Schools and his friend (and basketball pal) Arne Duncan to the post of secretary of education. A report by the Broad Foundation, a group that has financed anti– public education reforms, noted that Obama’s election and the appointment of Duncan “marked the pinnacle of hope for our work in education reform. In many ways, we feel the stars have finally aligned.”

As head of Chicago schools, Duncan shook up the system—in a disturbing manner. He bounced kids around from school to school to make it appear as though schools were “turning around.” He did not confront the effect of poverty on learning in a city system where 80 percent of schoolchildren live below the poverty line. He dumbed down standards, misleading the public when he pronounced that test scores had improved. He shuttered “failing” schools, replacing neighborhood schools with charters, often financed and run by fat cats and corporations. This is the man Obama put his faith in to run the Department of Education of the most powerful nation in the world.



America’s shameful state of decay: Sanders is campaigning on rebuilding the country’s infrastructure

Infrastructure. Not a very exciting word, and certainly not one to whip up the hysteria of the electorate in an election year. We have other words for that: immigration, terrorism, religious extremism or Russian aggression. The usual suspects.

Yet, perhaps the word “infrastructure” will become more exciting if we unpack it, learn what it is – and understand that it is not any external cause that most threatens America, but instead decades of negligence to the very “infrastructure” of this nation. There is that word again: infrastructure. But, what does it mean?

A short list will suffice: water treatment, roads, bridges, public housing, passenger and freight rail, marine ports and inland waterways, national parks, broadband, the electric grid, schools, hospitals, government buildings, dams – in other words, to use a medical metaphor, the conditions for the healthy life of a nation.

Perhaps the people of Flint, Michigan, and the increasing number of cities affected by the lead poisoning crisis know better than most the critical importance of the timely maintenance and transformation of our nation’s infrastructure.

On Jan. 27, 2015, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the “Rebuild America Act,” which was meant to begin to tackle decades of neglect. At the time, Sanders explained the intentions of the bill: “For too many years, we’ve underfunded our nation’s physical infrastructure. We have to change that and that’s what the Rebuild America Act is all about. We must modernize our infrastructure and create millions of new jobs that will put people back to work and help the economy.”



Black S. Carolina Voters Tired of Being 'Stuck'

y Salena Zito
February 21, 2016
KINGSTREE, S.C.- Janice McKnight knows what it feels like — the nearly indescribable weight and isolation — when the American dream fails.

“It's so hard to express how it feels, other than to say I just have this overwhelming sense of being stuck,” she said.

She daintily picked over a late lunch at Brown's Bar-B-Q along U.S. Route 52 in Williamsburg County. A rural county that is more than 65 percent black, Williamsburg routinely holds one of the state's highest unemployment rankings; nearly 30 percent of its residents live in poverty.

McKnight lives on disability; she has just spent the morning at her weekly dialysis treatment. Neatly dressed in a purple blouse with silver jewelry, she is slow but powerful in describing life in the county seat.

All around, evidence of decayed manufacturing is overwhelming. “Jesus Saves” signs dot the road every mile or so, as do small churches offering clever signs to persuade the traveler to walk inside.

“I don't want both of my kids to stay here and continue this feeling of being stuck,” she said, describing the emotional and financial toll of poverty. “I am trying to encourage them to move out.”

more (good read)


McKnight is the voter Hillary Clinton is supposed to have locked up — female, older than 50 and black — except she isn't: “Oh no, I like Bernie Sanders. When I hear and watch him speak about the issues, there is an authenticity that he truly believes what he is saying.”


Long lines, too few ballots at Dem caucus locations

Mark Robison,

Democratic caucus-goers in Northern Nevada are reporting a wide range of problems from long lines and chaos to being turned away and too few paper ballots. (This story will be updated as reports come in.)

• Shaw Middle School: Antoinette Jacobs described the caucus scene for her precinct as a “fiasco.” One person for Bernie Sanders and one person for Hillary Clinton were allowed to speak for one-minute each, with no time for questions or discussion, she said.

“The undecideds had to decide after hearing those two people with nothing else,” she said, adding that the bulk of the time was used to read letters celebrating the Democratic Party from people such as Harry Reid and Catherine Cortez Masto.

“We had about 26 in a classroom,” Jacobs said. “There were four for Bernie, four undecided and 18 for Hillary. ... We got three delegates out of that and Bernie none out of that.”



SEIU paints Clinton as $15 minimum wage supporter in Nevada fliers

By ANNIE KARNI 02/20/16 03:20 PM EST

LAS VEGAS — Ahead of Nevada's Democratic caucuses, the Service Employees International Union is distributing literature to members touting Hillary Clinton's support for its main campaign: raising the federal minimum wage to $15. But Clinton, who won SEIU's endorsement in November, has not actually endorsed a federal $15 minimum wage.

“Hillary Clinton supports our fight for $15 and a union,” read the SEIU fliers, which were distributed in English and Spanish. The literature also featured quotes from Clinton supporting New York’s proposal to raise wages for fast-food workers to $15 an hour.

But Clinton has said since the beginning of her campaign that she backs a federal minimum wage of $12 an hour.

“As president, I will work to raise the federal minimum wage back to the highest level it’s ever been — $12 an hour in today’s dollars — and support state and local efforts to go even further,” Clinton wrote last week on Medium. She wrote that she “strongly” supported the efforts of low-income workers to fight for $15 an hour.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-dem-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/02/hillary-clinton-service-employees-international-union-219541
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