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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
Number of posts: 34,442

Journal Archives

What Is Driving the Charter School Movement in Newark?

The title of this article has a one-word answer: money. In this shocking article, journalist Owen Davis explains how the expansion of charters in Newark is driven by two factors:

1) the availability of millions of dollars in federal school construction bonds that have been showered on the charter schools but not the public schools;

2) the Chris Christie administration's decision to withhold funding specifically designated for the repair and renovation of existing public schools.

Put these two factors together and you get a city with gleaming charter schools and crumbling public schools.


Chicago Tribune Poll: Voters Reject Rahm’s Education Policies, Favor Teacher's Union

Note to Democrats: it's tough to appear small-D democratic when you ignore your constituents who notice that you are robbing them to give to the rich.

Nearly 80% of those with kids in public schools disapproved of his handling of education

What is especially significant is that corporate education reformers often say their goal is to help underprivileged, inner city kids get a better education.

In effect, if you don't agree with them, you are a heartless racist.

Oddly, black Chicagoans aren't feel the love from the corporate reformers since they disapprove of Rahm's approach even more than whites.

Democrats need to realize that to keep up the appearance of democracy, they need to put the people ahead of their Wall Street masters on at least a FEW issues, and this is one of them.

If you don't give us a progressive alternative to party that OPENLY favors the rich, we will have to make another one that does.

The Chicago Tribune's poll of voters' views of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's school policies showed very low approval for the Mayor. The mayoral election is in February 2015, and it appears that education is Rahm's weak spot. He favors charter schools and shut down nearly 50 public schools in one fell swoop, an act unprecedented in American history. He has fought bitterly with the Chicago Teachers Union over school funding. It is not working well for him politically, the poll shows.

"Asked about Emanuel's handling of public schools, 65 percent disapproved, 26 percent approved and 10 percent had no opinion. The latest findings show a shift of 5 percentage points toward disapproval from a Tribune poll in May 2013 — just before a vote by the school board to shut nearly 50 public schools.

"While dissatisfaction with the mayor on education crossed racial lines, it was more intense among African-American voters. Critics contend black neighborhoods were disproportionately targeted for school closings. Fully 77 percent of black voters disapproved of Emanuel's handling of the city's schools while only 14 percent approved."

"Among parents of children in Chicago Public Schools — about one-fifth of those taking part in the survey — nearly 4 out of 5 disapproved of the mayor's handling of public education while only 19 percent approved. But even those without children in the public schools disapproved at a 62 percent rate, while only 27 percent approved.

"Emanuel's approach on charters versus neighborhood schools was roundly criticized by voters: 72 percent disagreed with that approach, compared with 18 percent who agreed. African-American voters most severely opposed the policy — at 83 percent — while only 10 percent agreed with Emanuel. Nearly 8 in 10 parents of CPS children also were opposed, as well as 75 percent of female voters, 69 percent of men and 63 percent of whites."


Ferguson shows why elite should be worried about a revolution

For decades, even centuries, cops, sheriffs, and pretty much any old good old boy who felt like it could do whatever the fuck they wanted to black people and most white people wouldn't care.

After the shooting of Michael Brown, enough white people seemed to be of the same opinion as black people that Congress suddenly got bipartisan religion on demilitarizing the police.

Black and white is about as big a political divide as you can get in America, and at least on this issue, we came together.

Is it so hard to imagine middle class people making common cause with the working class and poor of their own and other races if we were able to at least temporarily bridge this race divide?

What if instead of a cop's bullet, next time it's cuts to food aid to poor family's, another job-killing trade deal, or bail out of Wall Street that saves the criminals instead of their victims, and instead of seeing those getting the raw deal as "them" and losers, we see "them" as part of "us"?

All of those things have happened before and are very likely to happen again.

But the next time they do, the elite could get the Ferguson response.

KIDS BOOK COVER: My Parents Open Carry

I found this over at Reddit.

This would comforting if we lived in a post-Apocalyptic zombie-filled world.

But we don't.

A modest proposal for Israel regarding US weapons.

Americans care deeply about the survival of Israel and feel a strong sense of kinship to our Jewish cousins over there.

At the same time, we are uneasy about seeing weapons we have given them used to kill civilians on a large scale.

Therefore, from now on, we will no longer supply heavy weapons like aircraft, tanks, and the like to Israel or the spare parts to keep those they have running. Instead, any attack on Israel by foreign armies will be considered an attack on the US, and we will respond directly.

That shouldn't happen too often though because Israel has peace treaties with two of her immediate neighbors, Egypt and Jordan, a history of cooperating with another, Saudi Arabia, and the remaining neighbors are basket cases either recovering from civil war and past Israeli invasions in the case of Lebanon or a current civil war in the case of Syria.

When it comes to dealing with terrorist or rocket attacks, I've heard that Israel has a pretty good intelligence capabilities that should allow them neutralize those on the ground.

But as in Northern Ireland and South Africa, the best way to deal with terrorists is to put them out of business by making a just peace.

If anyone says my plan won't work or that our military can't do the same job Israel's can, or that we wouldn't keep our promise to defend Israel, I would remind them of our decades of troops in Korea, Japan, and Europe.

And this wouldn't even require stationing troops in Israel. We've got plenty in the neighborhood.

Also, if you think the Israeli military can do a better job than ours, you are insulting our troops and showing a lack of patriotism.

If those who criticize the foreign policy of Israel are anti-Semites...

does that make those who criticize Russia's anti-Slavites? Or who criticize Iran anti-Persians or anti-Islamites?

Can we have one definition of racism or prejudice that applies to ALL religions or ALL ethnicities or ALL nationalities equally?

I post this because I posted a question about public acceptance of our Israel policy and someone else sent an alert that said it was anti-Semitic.

I have dated Jewish girls. I lived on the Westside of LA for twenty years where quite a few people are Jewish, and one of my best friends is Jewish, and did me at least one favor that made my life dramatically better for quite a while (and incidentally, I never saw this guy get a helping hand from any hidden Jewish cabal, which disappointed both of us).

I wish Jews a happy future and prosperity, and even in the post someone alerted as anti-Semitic, I said I would be glad to settle the Israel/Palestine problem but letting all of either side or both sides immigrate to the United States, which not incidentally, is arguably LESS anti-Semitic than one of our government's original motives for supporting the founding of Israel--reducing the number of Jews to the US (not because they are Jews but simply because our economy might not have been able to absorb so many immigrants along with returning vets).

There has been a lot of anti-Russia and anti-Putin talk here lately, and while a lot of it is cynical shilling for a dangerous and corrupt foreign policy, I don't for a second think that it's primarily racist or anti-Orthodox Christian.

A broader form of this problem on DU is the use of the "hater" and "lover" meme, ie, if you disagree with Obama, you are an Obama-hater and Republican-lover, or if you disagree with treating Russia like a pariah, you are a Putin-lover.

DU should be a place policy discussions, and unless somebody actually says that a particular race, religion, or ethnicity is inferior, evil, lazy, or somehow lesser than other people, we should not tolerate accusations of racism, anti-Semitism, or whatever anymore than we tolerate actual expression of racism, anti-Semitism and the like.

Why do Americans tolerate letting Israel dictate our Israel policy?

I can understand the various possible motivations of politicians, from campaign donations, to fear of others getting those donations, to hypothetical strategic interests, but why do average Americans tolerate it, especially when a lot of our politicians say we can't question what Israel does?

Especially the righties normally freak out about any hint of the US being anything less than the owner of the world and god forbid if we recognize any authority like the UN, which would somehow compromise our sovereignty.

Given that, why do Americans seem blase about a tiny country leading us around by the nose and using money we give them to do things that incite acts of terrorism against us?

Is it just that most people only see things exactly the way they are told to, so if the MSM and right wing media agree, they accept it without question?

And by the way, I would be glad to solve the Israel/Palestine problem by allowing all of one side or the other to immigrate to the US, so I don't ask this out of animus toward Israel.

Obama's last chance to do his presidency right: tell people "give me a Congress of Democrats...

and watch what I can do for you.

I've gotten Harry Reid and the hold outs in the Senate who voted against ending the filibuster to agree to temporarily do so until the end of term in office if they retain the Senate and we win the House, so no hiding behind the skirts of GOP obstruction or claiming that we had to dilute a proposal to break through Republican intransigence.

So from January 2015 until January 2017, you'll get a chance to see what the Democratic Party can do without obstruction and our party will entirely own the consequences of what happens during that time . It will be all on us, undiluted.

Then in the 2016 election, you will have a clear choice between a Democratic Party that works for everyone and a Republican Party that only works for the very wealthy.

It will be an experiment in democracy, but only you can make it happen if you get to the polls this fall.

You know even if you don't like me or my party, wouldn't that be worth a try? What have you got to lose?"

PR battle is turning on Israel: NPR story on right-wing Israelis mobs plans to attack protestors

I tuned into the story in the middle and it was talking about the role of social media in the current attack on Gaza, how right wingers try to pile on and change opinion online and use social media to organize attacks on anti-war protesters.

I thought I was listening to Pacifica, but it was NPR.

NPR and PBS are the closest we've got to a source with Cronkite levels of across the board public trust.

If they start talking about these kinds of stories, Israel no longer controls the narrative here, and the American public might drift toward the more natural narrative of an apartheid regime that needs to transition to a non-sectarian democracy where all citizens are treated equally regardless of religion or race--and those in the occupied territories, who have been under the control of the government for decades, should finally be made citizens or given real not bantustan autonomy.

FISK: What if 35 Palestinians had died, and 800 Israelis?

Robert Fisk points out two layers of irony in the US government reaction to Israel's attack on Gaza, but there's another one:

Washington just made a big stink about satellite photos that MIGHT show Russia firing rockets into Ukraine, whereas Israel's attack, over what was originally a murder investigation that the Israelis themselves now say was not done by Hamas, is quite a bit easier to detect.

Our politicians are lucky the Israelis don't teach their detective methods to the DC police for those occasions when they can't catch the pol responsible for the death of an intern or rentboy.

And there’s something very odd, isn’t there, about our reactions to these two outrageous death tolls. In Gaza, we plead for a ceasefire but let them bury their dead in the sweltering slums of Gaza and cannot even open a humanitarian route for the wounded. For the passengers on MH17, we demand – immediately – proper burial and care for the relatives of the dead. We curse those who left bodies lying in the fields of eastern Ukraine – as many bodies have been lying, for a shorter time, perhaps, but under an equally oven-like sky, in Gaza.

Because – and this has been creeping up on me for years – we don’t care so much about the Palestinians, do we? We care neither about Israeli culpability, which is far greater because of the larger number of civilians the Israeli army has killed. Nor, for that matter, Hamas’s capability. Of course, God forbid that the figures should have been the other way round. If 800 Israelis had died and only 35 Palestinians, I think I know our reaction.

We would call it – rightly – a slaughter, an atrocity, a crime for which the killers must be made accountable. Yes, Hamas should be made accountable, too. But why is it that the only criminals we are searching for today are the men who fired one – perhaps two – missiles at an airliner over Ukraine?


From the massacre of Arab villagers by Israel’s new army in 1948, as it is set down by Israeli historians, to the Sabra and Shatila massacre, when Lebanese Christian allies of Israel murdered up to 1,700 people in 1982 while Israeli troops watched; from the Qana massacre of Lebanese Arabs at the UN base – yes, the UN again – in 1996, to another, smaller terrible killing at Qana (again) 10 years later. And so to the mass killing of civilians in the 2008-9 Gaza war. And after Sabra and Shatila, there were inquiries, and after Qana there was an inquiry and after Gaza in 2008-9, there was an inquiry...


Just a couple more paragraphs after that, but well worth the read.
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