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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 03:31 PM
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That would be "trillion", with a "T".

Revealed: ALEC’s 2014 Attacks on the Environment


An internal tracking document obtained from the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC -- by the Center for Media and Democracy/the Progressive Inc. under Texas public records law -- reveals the scope of ALEC's anti-environmental efforts in 2014.

The spreadsheet (dated from late March 2014 and made public by CMD/The Progressive today) reveals ALEC tracking a total of 131 bills that, amongst other things, roll back state renewable energy standards, increase costs for American households with solar, hype the Keystone XL pipeline, push back on proposed EPA coal regulations that protect human health, and create industry-friendly fracking rules despite growing national and international concerns about fracking.


Eleven of the bills attempt to amend "net metering" laws, which allow homeowners with solar panels on their property to sell excess electricity back to the grid, typically at a price that creates an incentive for homeowners to invest in solar for their homes. This makes the cost of installing solar cost-effective for ordinary homeowners over a period of years and net metering is part of the reason the U.S. has seen a 60% increase in domestic solar installations in just the past year.


ALEC has three items of "model" legislation in its library concerning fracking: two pro-fracking resolutions and a bill -- illogically titled "The Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Composition Act" -- that allows operators to keep secret the details of chemicals injected into a well by making a near impossible to challenge claim of "trade secrets." As reported by the New York Times in April 2012, ExxonMobil brought the fracking bill to ALEC in December 2011 following its adoption as law in Texas. In the 2013 session, five states introduced legislation similar to the ALEC model, as detailed in the CMD report "ALEC at 40: Turning Back the Clock on Prosperity and Progress."

Scathing Report Finds Rocketship, School Privatization Hurt Poor Kids


A popular chain of charter schools called Rocketship, which originated in California and has spread to Wisconsin, with the enthusiastic support of state legislators and the local chamber of commerce in Milwaukee, is "a low-budget operation that relies on young and inexperienced teachers rather than more veteran and expensive faculty, that reduces curriculum to a near-exclusive focus on reading and math, and that replaces teachers with online learning and digital applications for a significant portion of the day," Lafer writes.

Rocketship is a pioneer of the "blended learning" model of schools that rely heavily on computers to cut staff costs. The fastest growing, and most profitable, sector of the charter school industry is online or virtual schools, with the "blended learning" model, which combines online learning with a reduced and low-paid staff, a close second. With no gym, art class, librarians, or significant science or social studies, Rocketship provides a stripped-down program of study with a heavy focus on standardized tests. "The education model of the Rocketship chain of schools, a company central to the education reform push in Milwaukee, is particularly ill suited to providing the city's children with a high-quality education," Lafer found.


From 2010 to 2013, Rocketship increased it assets from $2.2 million to $15.8 million. And while it posted impressive test scores at its first schools in California, over the last four years, test scores have fallen at every Rocketship school. All seven Rocketship schools failed to make adequate yearly progress according to federal standards for the last school year. "Given that Rocketship places such a strong emphasis on standardized testing, it is telling that, even by this measure, the company has faced struggles and disappointments," Lafer writes.


While Rocketship is a nonprofit, its business model enriches its directors through a deal with a licensed software company called "DreamBox," supplied by for-profit vendors, who happen to also sit on Rocketship's board. "The more Rocketship expands, the greater DreamBox's profits," Lafer writes.

Our American Language

Scalia May Not Have Meant Armed ‘Revolt,’ But He Sure As Hell Knew Who Would Take It That Way


Every day I hope today will be the day I wake up and read a headline that Justice Antonin Scalia has decided he’s done enough damage to society and it’s time to retire. Whether he’s willfully mistaking the morning after pill as an “abortifacient” or he’s ruling that corporations are people and the rich are entitled to buy their government because money is speech, Scalia is a curmudgeonly, pious, and backwards remnant of the Reagan era that simply must go. Alas, today wasn’t the day, and I have a sad feeling that old bastard is going to outlive us all. He’s like the cockroach of high justices.

When he’s not making life suck from his seat on the bench, he’s out giving speeches, riling up the conservatives with all kinds of insanely stupid notions, most recently he told a room full of college students that if rich people get tired of paying their taxes, they should “revolt.” Even though I despise the man for his wanton disregard for modernity, even I understand Justice Scalia wouldn’t be dumb enough to advocate armed revolt, but you can bet your ass he knew many who adore him would absolutely take it that way — and if he didn’t, then maybe he really is just plain ol’ dumb.

After watching the events of the last couple weeks play themselves out in Nevada, it’s very clear that there is a small but dangerous fringe faction of the right-wing that is not feeling any desire to play by the normal rules of our society. The armed morons that showed up to support a tax dodger continue to dodge is taxes clearly feel that the American Revolution wasn’t a one-time thing the Founders decided to go through in order to establish our country, but instead is some kind of template for shaping society. It’s 2014 and there are still assholes who think we should vote with bullets instead of ballots, and these same people idolize Justice Scalia for his stances he’s taken on everything from abortion to gun control.

How could Scalia not understand how dangerous it is to use rhetoric like “revolt” in his speeches? At the very least he could insert the word “peacefully” or “civilly” before the word “revolt,” but he didn’t do that. I maintain he let his phraseology be as vague as possible intentionally. The man obviously has a barge-sized ego and he knows the way to continue to ingratiate himself upon these backyard commandos and wannabe-patriots is to use 18th century rhetoric every chance he gets.

"Whoever seeks to set one race against another ..."

Nobody Tell Chris Christie, But Colorado Might Have A Better 'Quality Of Life' Than New Jersey


"See if you want to live in a major city in Colorado, where there's head shops popping up on every corner and people flying into your airport just to come and get high," Christie said during his monthly "Ask the Governor" radio show, according to CNN. "To me, it's just not the quality of life we want to have here in the state of New Jersey and there's no tax revenue that's worth that."


Business climate: It turns out Colorado is a great place for business, ranking seventh out of the 50 states in a 2013 study from CNBC that took into consideration metrics like economy, infrastructure and the cost of doing business. New Jersey came in 42nd. Forbes agrees, listing Colorado as the fifth best state for "business and careers." New Jersey comes in 32nd on the Forbes list.

Economic growth and job creation: FreeEnterprise.com gathered data on just how well the 50 states do at creating jobs and fostering economic growth. They ranked Colorado second in the nation for innovation and entrepreneurship (New Jersey was 14th), 14th in economic performance (New Jersey came in at 33rd), and eighth for business climate (New Jersey was 49th).


General well-being: The health care company Healthways partnered up with Gallup in 2013 to evaluate well-being across the United States. Looking at residents' habits and behavior, emotional and physical health, work environments and more, they determined that Colorado ranks seventh in overall well-being. New Jersey comes in 23rd.

Neb. law officials: Colo. should help cover cost of local drug enforcement

The article has no mention of the most obvious option.


Neb. law officials: Colo. should help cover cost of local drug enforcement

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska law officers have expressed frustration with the increasing cases of drug enforcement since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana on Jan. 1.

Officers across the border in Colorado’s neighboring state are upset that Nebraska taxpayers are left with the expense of jailing, prosecuting and defending people arrested on possession of pot brought over from Colorado, according to the Omaha World-Herald. Rather, law enforcement suggested Colorado taxpayers foot the bill.


Anthony Schutz, an associate professor at the University of Nebraska College of Law in Lincoln, told the Omaha World-Herald there may be other options than suing, like getting Colorado to share some of the marijuana tax revenue.

Another option, he said, would be for the federal government to shut down recreational pot sales across the nation.

Or Nebraska could join the 21st Century and legalize.

As someone who drives a "deer magnet", I approve.

The sacred principles of liberty, embodied in one maxim.

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