Home country: USA
Current location: nice place
Member since: Thu May 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
Number of posts: 14,285
Home country: USA
Current location: nice place
Member since: Thu May 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
Number of posts: 14,285
By Michelle Diament
to Senator Harkin, I so do not want him to retire.
February 13, 2014
Widespread use of restraint and seclusion in the nation’s schools is putting kids with disabilities at risk and current laws offer families little recourse, a U.S. Senate investigation finds.
A 54-page report from the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unveiled Wednesday documents 10 cases where students have experienced restraint or seclusion at school. Among them are the story of a 12-year-old Florida boy with developmental disabilities who was restrained 89 times in 14 months without his parents’ knowledge and the case of a 14-year-old in Georgia who committed suicide after being repeatedly secluded at school.
The findings were issued as Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, announced plans to introduce federal legislation to limit the use of restraint and seclusion in schools, practices which data suggest are most frequently used on students with disabilities.
Currently, Harkin said that there are laws to protect individuals in jails and hospitals but there are no nationwide standards for schools.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Thu Feb 13, 2014, 08:24 AM (0 replies)
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
February 11, 2014 (KALAMAZOO, Mich.) (WLS) -- Ten-year-old Colin, of Kalamazoo, Mich., told his mom not to throw him a birthday party because he has no friends.
Colin, who suffers from Asperger's, told his mom there would be no point in throwing a birthday party because all of the kids at school "don't like me" and "make fun of me."
That's when Colin's mom came up with a special surprise. She created a Facebook page called "Happy Birthday Colin" where people can leave birthday messages for Colin, and it's getting lots of attention.
Leave a birthday wish on Colin's page
"I am Colin's mom, I created this page for my amazing, wonderful, challenging son who is about to turn 11 on March 9th," she wrote February 2. "Because of Colin's disabilities, social skills are not easy for him, and he often acts out in school, and the other kids don't like him... He eats lunch alone in the office everyday because no one will let him sit with them.
"So I thought, if I could create a page where people could send him positive thoughts and encouraging words, that would be better than any birthday party. Please join me in making my very original son feel special on his day," Mom wrote.
The page has 81,389 likes so far. Colin's mom said she's hoping to keep it a secret until March 9. But he's already heard chatter at school about being on the news.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Tue Feb 11, 2014, 10:43 PM (34 replies)
Analysis by Gareth Porter
WASHINGTON, Feb 5 2014 (IPS) - When Western intelligence agencies began in the early 1990s to intercept telexes from an Iranian university to foreign high technology firms, intelligence analysts believed they saw the first signs of military involvement in Iran’s nuclear programme. That suspicion led to U.S. intelligence assessments over the next decade that Iran was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons.
The supposed evidence of military efforts to procure uranium enrichment equipment shown in the telexes was also the main premise of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s investigation of Iran’s nuclear programme from 2003 through 2007.
But the interpretation of the intercepted telexes on which later assessments were based turned out to have been a fundamental error. The analysts, eager to find evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons programme, had wrongly assumed that the combination of interest in technologies that could be used in a nuclear programme and the apparent role of a military-related institution meant that the military was behind the procurement requests.
The intercepted telexes that set in train the series of U.S. intelligence assessments that Iran was working on nuclear weapons were sent from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. Credit: public domain.
In 2007-08, Iran provided hard evidence that the technologies had actually been sought by university teachers and researchers.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Mon Feb 10, 2014, 07:59 PM (0 replies)
January 31, 2014
by Peter Jenkins
The subtitle of Gareth Porter’s new book, The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, is well-chosen. Large parts of A Manufactured Crisis are indeed untold till now. They amount to what the author terms an “alternative narrative”.
But don’t be misled by “alternative”. This is not the work of some crank who imagines conspiracies where none exist. One senses, rather, from the author’s meticulous sourcing and the extent of his research that what motivates him is a fierce hunger for truth and aversion to deceit.
Porter has been investigating the Iranian nuclear case for the best part of a decade. The result of his researches is both a fascinating addition to a growing corpus, unlike any previous work on the issue, and a disturbing indictment of US and Israeli policies.
One central theme is that hidden motives have coloured these policies. On the US side, Porter explains, the end of the Cold War led to a federal bureaucratic interest in exaggerating the WMD and missile threat posed by Iran (and other emerging countries) to justify funding bids. During the presidency of George W. Bush some senior administration members also sought to exploit nuclear fears to “delegitimize” the Iranian government and engineer a pretext for enforced regime change.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Sun Feb 2, 2014, 11:59 AM (1 replies)
"American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”
By Harper’s Magazine
In his Easy Chair column this month, Thomas Frank revisits the historian Richard Hofstadter’s famous essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” whose fiftieth anniversary of publication will be November of this year. “To read Hofstadter’s 1964 essay,” Frank writes,is to experience numerous shocks of recognition. To begin with, Hofstadter noted that what distinguishes “the modern right wing” is that it “feels dispossessed: America has been largely taken away from them and their kind.” . . . The notion that the righteous have been dispossessed is by now so utterly ingrained that conservatives have stopped mincing words about the remedy: they must “take our country back” from the elites and socialists who have stolen it away.
Frank highlights other still-evident traits of the paranoid style, but ultimately lands on a problematic legacy of the essay: its popularization of a “pseudopsychological approach” to political analysis, under which Sarah Palin can be swiftly dismissed as a delusional maniac, or Bill O’Reilly as a narcissist. “We should also note,” Frank writes, “that nowadays the source of the psychiatric style is nearly always the liberal camp.”
Hofstadter was writing at a peak moment of liberal self-confidence, leading Frank to conclude by lamenting the waning of the possibilities presented by that historical moment. “Hofstadter’s warm old liberal consensus was itself in pieces only a few years later — shattered first by its own blunders in Vietnam and then by the leaders of the ‘paranoid’ right.”
**From the November 1964 issue
The Paranoid Style in American Politics
By Richard Hofstadter
It had been around a long time before the Radical Right discovered it—and its targets have ranged from “the international bankers” to Masons, Jesuits, and munitions makers.
in full: http://harpers.org/archive/1964/11/the-paranoid-style-in-american-politics/?single=1
Posted by Jefferson23 | Mon Jan 20, 2014, 03:23 PM (1 replies)
By Pepe Escobar
FLORENCE - 2014 has barely dawned, and I'm standing in a cold, rainy evening at the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, staring at the round plaque on the floor - ignored by the throngs of Chinese tourists - celebrating the hanging and burning of the monk Savonarola in May 23, 1498, accused of conspiring against the Florentine Republic.
Yet I'm thinking - how could I not - of Machiavelli. He was only 29 on that fateful day. He was standing only a few feet away from where I am. What was he thinking?
He had seen how Savonarola, a popular Dominican preacher, had been hailed as the savior of the republic. Savonarola rewrote the
constitution to empower the lower middle class; talk about a risky (populist) move. He allied Florence with France. But he had no counterpunch when the pro-Spanish pope Alexander VI imposed harsh economic sanctions that badly hurt Florence's merchant class (a centuries-old anticipation of US sanctions on Iranian bazaaris).
Savonarola had also conducted the original bonfire of the vanities, whose flaming pyramid included wigs, pots of rouge, perfumes, books with poems by Ovid, Boccaccio and Petrarch, busts and paintings of "profane" subjects (even - horror of horrors - some by Botticelli), lutes, violas, flutes, sculptures of naked women, figures of Greek gods and on top of it all, a hideous effigy of Satan.
in full: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-01-140114.html
Posted by Jefferson23 | Thu Jan 16, 2014, 02:02 PM (3 replies)
US Secretary of State John Kerry was in the Middle East again this week, conducting intensive talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials and other regional actors. His aim, it has been widely reported, is to reach a "framework agreement" as a prelude to a final settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Norman Finkelstein is the co-author, with Mouin Rabbani, of How to Solve the Israel-Palestine Conflict (OR Books, forthcoming). I spoke with him about the significance of the negotiations, as we enter what may be a decisive phase in the Palestinians' long struggle for self-determination.
You’ve been warning for some time now that the Israeli-Palestinian talks being brokered by Secretary of State Kerry might, unlike many prior rounds of negotiations, actually produce a deal to end the conflict. Its content would amount to Israel’s long-standing terms of settlement. What’s your assessment of where the diplomatic process is currently at?
A “framework agreement” will shortly be reached, and a final settlement will probably be signed in the last six months or so of President Obama’s term in office. When the Kerry process was first announced I was virtually alone in predicting that it would actually go somewhere; now, it’s widely assumed. Many respected Israeli commentators now take for granted that an agreement is just a matter of time.
remainder in full: http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/the_end_of_palestine_an_interview_with_norman_g._finkelstein
Posted by Jefferson23 | Sat Jan 11, 2014, 10:04 AM (12 replies)
**Hat tip to yurbud, who posted this in Good Reads
This is a terrific article about the elite prep schools and the fact that they do not follow the “reforms” that are now pushed by the U.S. Department of Education, the Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation, and other corporate reformers.
Here are some quotes from the article:
Go ahead and do an online search of the country’s top prep schools, or check out this list from Forbes. Peruse some of the school websites and do a search for anything that mainstream education reformers suggest we implement in your neighborhood public school. Try, for example, common core state standards. How about data-driven instruction? Or, what about two weeks worth of mandated high-stakes, standardized state tests, preceded by weeks, if not months, of benchmarks, short-cyles, and pre-assessments?
Are they likely to hire teachers without advanced degrees?
Check out the proportion of teachers at those schools who possess advanced degrees. At Horace Mann in the Bronx—where 36 percent of students are accepted at an Ivy League school, Stanford, or MIT—94 percent of the teachers have advanced degrees. Now, who was it that said rewarding teachers with advanced degrees is a waste of money? Ah yes, our Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. How far do you think Mr. Duncan’s argument would get with parents who examine a potential school’s “Ivy/MIT/Stanford pipeline” percentage score? Not very far.
So why are the prep schools avoiding Duncan’s great ideas?
If the reforms mandated by Departments of Education and fawned over by upstart think-tankers were as fantastic as advised again and again, then you can bet that every single one of the country’s best prep schools would be implementing them as rapidly as possible. They’re not, and you shouldn’t accept them either.
in full: http://dianeravitch.net/2014/01/04/why-arent-prep-schools-following-corporate-reforms/
Posted by Jefferson23 | Sat Jan 4, 2014, 08:42 PM (12 replies)
December 30, 2013
The civil war in Syria counted its 100,000th death, and the Syrian government formally acceded to the international convention banning chemical weapons and agreed to the inventory, seizure, and removal or destruction of its chemical weapons and chemical-weapons facilities by mid-2014. Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was deposed by the country’s military, sparking protests and violence that culminated in August with the deaths of at least 638 people during the clearing of encampments set up by Morsi’s supporters. More than 8,000 people were killed by sectarian violence in Iraq. Pakistan underwent the first democratic transfer of power in its 66-year history. Iran claimed to have launched monkeys named Pishgam and Fargam into space, and agreed to halt the enrichment of high-grade uranium for six months in exchange for the relaxation of international sanctions. In Nairobi, gunmen stormed the Westgate shopping mall and killed at least 62 people; in Algeria, 38 hostages and 29 militants were killed during a four-day standoff at a natural-gas refinery in the Saharan outpost of Ain Amenas; and in Mali, militants set fire to the Timbuktu’s Ahmed Baba Institute, which houses manuscripts dating to the twelfth century. “They are bandits,” said institute employee Ali Baba.
The United Nations warned of a risk of genocide in the Central African Republic, where more than 650 people died in December during sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims, and discovered mass graves in South Sudan, where thousands of people died during fighting in December. North Korea hosted NBA hall-of-famer Dennis Rodman three times, executed the ex-girlfriend and the uncle of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, nullified its 1953 armistice with South Korea, and sent a fax to the South Korean government warning that it might strike without warning. Typhoon Haiyan killed at least 6,100 people in the Philippines; flash floods and landslides killed at least 5,700 in the Indian state of Uttarakhand; the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh, killing 1,127 people; and a 7.7-magnitude earthquake killed at least 825 people in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. One hundred and six prisoners participated in an ongoing hunger strike at the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay. Uruguay became the first country to legalize the cultivation, sale, and consumption of marijuana, and a construction company bulldozed a 2,300-year-old Mayan temple to make road fill in Belize. “Mind-boggling,” said archaeologist Jamie Awe. A Reykjavík court granted a 15-year-old officially known as “girl” the right to use the name Blær, and New Zealand barred its citizens from naming their children Lucifer and Anal. Pope Benedict XVI retired, as did David Beckham, Jack Nicholson, and the world’s most prolific streaker.
The Vatican recalled 6,000 medals recounting a story about Lesus, opened a Vacant See, and elected to the papacy the Argentine Jesuit priest Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who became the first Pope Francis. A Catholic diocese in southern Austria was fined for mass texting. Malawi accused Madonna of bullying. Saudi Arabia expelled three Emirati men for being too handsome. Turkey exonerated a kestrel accused of spying for Israel, and sculptors built a snow replica of an M75 missile on the Temple Mount. Russia ordered its soldiers to start wearing socks, and Pakistan ordered its civil servants to go sockless. India shut down the world’s last remaining telegraph service. Representatives from the House of Keys declared their support for a lesbian couple denied an apartment on the Isle of Man, and Uganda passed a law making “aggravated homosexuality” punishable by life imprisonment. Russia passed an antigay bill banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” and imprisoned, then freed, the punk band Pussy Riot and 30 members of Greenpeace.
Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to seven years in prison for paying for sex with an underage dancer known as Ruby the Heart-Stealer. Olympic sprinter and double-amputee Oscar Pistorius was charged with the murder of his girlfriend. Icelandic police shot and killed a civilian for the first time, then apologized. Nelson Mandela died, as did Hugo Chávez and Margaret Thatcher; authors Chinua Achebe, Tom Clancy, Evan S. Connell, Seamus Heaney, Elmore Leonard, and Doris Lessing; film critic Roger Ebert; cruciverbalist Araucaria; the original Dear Abby; athletes Walt Bellamy, Stan Musial, Bill Sharman, and Earl Weaver; actors Annette Funicello, James Gandolfini, Peter O’Toole, and Harry Reems; musicians Richie Havens, George Jones, Yusef Lateef, Lou Reed, and John Tavener; computer programmer Aaron Swartz; the inventors of the AK-47 and Twister; and a skydiver in Yolo County, California. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a son and named him George Alexander Louis.
The world’s oldest bird hatched a chick.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Tue Dec 31, 2013, 04:25 PM (0 replies)
Weekend Edition December 27-29, 2013
by PATRICK COCKBURN
Soon after the Libyan capital fell to the rebels in August 2011 I got to know a 32-year-old man called Ahmed Abdullah al-Ghadamsi. We met when he tried to evict me from my hotel room, which he said was needed for members of the National Transitional Council, in effect the provisional government of Libya. I wasn’t happy about being moved because the hotel, the Radisson Blu on Tripoli’s seafront, was full of journalists and there was nowhere else to stay. But Ahmed promised to find me another room, and he was as good as his word.
He was lending a hand to the provisional government, he said, because he was strongly opposed to Gaddafi – as was the rest of his family. He came from the Fornaj district of the city, and was contemptuous of the efforts of government spies to penetrate its network of extended families. He derided Gaddafi’s absurd personality cult and his fear of subversive ideas: ‘Books used to be more difficult to bring into the country than weapons. You had to leave them at the airport for two or three months so they could be checked.’ He had spent six years studying in Norway and spoke Norwegian as well as English; on returning to Libya he got a job on the staff of the Radisson Blu. One of Gaddafi’s sons, Al-Saadi, had a suite in the hotel, and he watched the ruling family and their friends doing business and enjoying themselves.
Ahmed was a self-confident man, not noticeably intimidated by the sporadic shooting which was keeping most people in Tripoli off the streets. I asked him if he would consider working for me as a guide and assistant and he agreed. Tripoli had run out of petrol but he quickly found some, along with a car and driver willing to risk the rebel checkpoints. He was adept at talking to the militiamen manning the barricades, and helped me get out of the city when the roads were blocked. After a few weeks I left Libya; I later heard that he was working for other journalists. Then in October I got a message saying that he was dead, shot through the head by a pro-Gaddafi sniper in the final round of fighting in Sirte on the coast far to the east of Tripoli. It turned out that there was a lot that Ahmed hadn’t told me.
When the protests started in Benghazi on 15 February he had been among the first to demonstrate in Fornaj, and he was arrested. His younger brother Mohammed told me that ‘he was jailed for two hours or less before his friends and the protesters broke into the police station and freed him.’ When Gaddafi’s forces regained control of Tripoli, Ahmed drove to the Nafusa Mountains a hundred miles south-west of the capital to try to join the rebels there, but they didn’t know or trust him so he had to return. He smuggled weapons and gelignite into Tripoli and became involved in a plot, never put into action, to blow up Al-Saadi Gaddafi’s suite in the Radisson. Mohammed said Ahmed felt bad that he’d spent much of the revolution making money and, despite his best efforts, had never actually fought. He went to Sirte, where Gaddafi’s forces were making a last stand, and joined a militia group from Misrata. He had no military experience, as far as I know, but he didn’t flinch during bombardments and was stoical when he was caught in an ambush and wounded by shrapnel from a mortar bomb, and the militiamen were impressed. On 8 October his commander told Ahmed to take a squad of five or six men to hunt for snipers who had killed a number of rebel fighters. He was shot dead by one of them a few hours later.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Sun Dec 29, 2013, 01:23 PM (0 replies)