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Scuba

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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 02:31 PM
Number of posts: 50,544

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That awkward moment when ...

That awkward moment when the PRO-LIFE candidates in the #GOPDebate don't care if they KILL WOMEN AND CHILDREN being oppressed by ISIS



A bunch of Republicans trying to out-macho each other about how they're gonna start, like, 10 more wars? Is the #GOPDebate a rerun?



That awkward moment when GOP policy on immigration accidentally blocks Santa from delivering presents.



Trump campaign poll shows Trump leading with 100%. "Other polls must be counting illegals and Obama's ISIS buddies."



https://twitter.com/TeaPartyCat

Why Every Student Will NOT Succeed With the New Education Law

Why the "most progressive President ever" would sign this shit sandwich into law is beyond me ...



http://www.progressive.org/news/2015/12/188460/why-every-student-will-not-succeed-new-education-law

The new law ends the NCLB requirement that states look almost exclusively at test scores to determine whether and how to reward or sanction schools, and also ends the Race To The Top requirement that states use tests that are linked to the Common Core State Standards in order to evaluate and reward or punish not only students and schools, but also teachers. This is good news, because the research clearly shows how an obsession with raising test scores leads to “teaching to the test,” narrowing and dumbing-down what we teach, especially for struggling students who are in most need of a richer and more rigorous curriculum. Assessment experts have long argued that using test scores for such decision making lacks validity and reliability, and we should stop doing so.

But we are not, and the bad news is that this new law still presumes that testing is the magic bullet. Students will continue to be tested annually in grades 3-8 and at least once in high school, and those test scores must figure prominently in how states evaluate school performance. Advocates of the new law celebrate the shifting of authority from the feds to the states to determine what the tests will consist of, how those scores will factor into the evaluations, and what rewards or sanctions will follow. But without a sound framework to guide this work, there is no evidence that the states will come up with strategies better than before.

...

First, vast amounts of funding will divert from neighborhood public schools to private, religious, and charter schools. States will be required to set aside funding to support students in private and religious schools, while the federal government will spend hundreds of millions annually to support charter school expansion. Thomas Jefferson put forth a vision and a hope that every child would be able to walk to his or her neighborhood school and receive the best education that our nation has to offer. The neighborhood schools are the ones serving the largest number of struggling and high-needs students, but because the new law does not increase the overall pot of money, this diversion of funds leaves a smaller pool to support them.

Second, schools with the highest needs will have more teachers with the least preparation. The new law requires that states open more pathways for individuals to become certified to teach in public schools without the level of education, training, and mentoring that comes with the more comprehensive university-based teacher preparation. The high-needs schools are disproportionately impacted by this provision, because teachers who come through these alternative and fast-track certification programs are overwhelming hired there. High-needs schools and students need the best teachers that our nation has to offer, and to get there, we should be creating pathways with more and better preparation, not less.

The Big Short—Capitalism Gone Mad

http://www.progressive.org/news/2015/12/188459/big-short%E2%80%94capitalism-gone-mad

The 2008 financial collapse is the stuff of high drama, and cinema’s heavyweights have weighed in, depicting and documenting capitalism’s catastrophe with films such as Oliver Stone’s 2010 Wall Street sequel, 2011’s Margin Call, Costa-Gavras’ 2012 Capital, Martin Scorsese’s 2013 The Wolf of Wall Street and Charles Ferguson’s Best Documentary Oscar winner, 2010’s Inside Job. Now the star-studded The Big Short enters the film fray, but with a twist: Co-writer/director Adam McKay, whose credits include Saturday Night Live and Will Ferrell flicks like 2004’s Anchorman, brings a comedic sensibility to financial sector shenanigans. Indeed, Short has been nominated for four Golden Globes, including for Best Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical.

Based on actual events and characters, Short focuses on the fall of the housing market. Leavening what many might find extremely dry, complicated subject matter with humor, McKay keeps the movie moving. For instance, to make technical terms such as CDOs (Collateralized Debt Obligations), tranches, etc., understandable they are described by a beautiful blonde swigging champagne in a bubble bath, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain slicing and dicing seafood in a restaurant kitchen, and pop star Selena Gomez gambling in a casino. These droll vignettes help to demystify the highfalutin’ high finance verbiage and to make them more accessible to us mere mortals who don’t hold MBAs. Even more importantly, Short explains how the technical-sounding lingo of the so-called “masters of the universe” is deliberately intended to obfuscate, intimidate, and confuse ordinary folks, and to cover up the fact that Wall Street’s financial “products” are often worthless (or as several characters put it, “dog shit”).



While the so-called business press completely missed the story until this “shit” hit the fan, Short tells how a few investment outsiders stumbled upon the unfolding crisis and bet against it. (“Short” is Wall Street-ese for “bet”). They include the real life characters: Michael Burry (Christian Bale), a quirky neurologist with a penchant for heavy metal music and research, whose due diligence discerns the oncoming onslaught; opportunist Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), who also sees it all playing out and acts to cash in on the impending crash; and Michael Baum (scene stealing Steve Carell), whose religious Jewish background prompts him to strive to do the ethical thing, encouraged by wife Cynthia, played by Marisa Tomei. (Both Bale and Carell are Golden Globe-nommed in the Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical category.)

...

The Big Short enlightens viewers with its depiction of the fiscal fiascos that wrecked much of the global economy. The film reveals how during the Reagan era banking became America’s biggest industry (it doesn’t show how manufacturing, which actually produces useful things, was downsized and outsourced during the same period). The lack of regulations during George W. Bush’s presidency is exposed, along with the collusion between the Securities and Exchange Commission and the industry it is supposed to regulate. At a Las Vegas convention an SEC “enforcer” appears to be sleeping with one of the capitalists she is supposedly overseeing. (Dubya put his family’s Wall Street pedigree and Harvard MBA to good use, just as his unnecessary wars enriched his defense contractor campaign donors.)

Bob Corker (R-TN) is "extremely disappointed" he got caught cheating on his financial disclosure

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/corker-wsj-216734

Corker acknowledges millions in 'filing errors'

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker had not properly disclosed millions of dollars in income from real estate, hedge funds and other investments until last Friday, according to a Sunday evening report from The Wall Street Journal. The Republican senator said these were oversights he has since corrected.

“I am extremely disappointed in the filing errors that were made in earlier financial disclosure reports,” the Tennessee Republican told the Journal in a statement, after the newspaper had queried his office about his past financial reports that it said contained irregularities.

Corker, who is the third-ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, did not properly disclose at least $2 million in income from investments in three separate hedge funds in Tennessee, as well as millions of dollars in income from commercial real estate investments because of an accounting error, and millions of dollars in various other assets and income from transactions.




This is the same Republican who tried to coerce workers at a Tennessee Volkswagon plant into voting against unionizing.

I hereby nominate Dick Cheney ...

Two thirds of Trump's wives were immigrants ...

Donald Trump was fired as a global ambassador for Scotland. Which is ironic ...

Donald Trump was fired as a global ambassador for Scotland. Which is ironic, ’cuz if there were ever a human version of bagpipes, it's Donald Trump. ~ Jimmy Fallon

Vote for Bernie. After all, you don't want a Republican naming Supreme Court Justices, do you?

http://www.quinnipiac.edu/news-and-events/quinnipiac-university-poll/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2307

American voters shift to Clinton as the Democrat gains ground against Republicans:

47 - 41 percent over Trump, compared to 46 - 43 percent November 4;
Clinton at 45 percent to Rubio's 44 percent, compared to a 46 - 41 percent Rubio lead last month;
Clinton tops Cruz 47 - 42 percent, compared to Cruz at 46 percent to Clinton's 43 percent last month;
Clinton at 46 percent to Carson's 43 percent compared to Carson's 50 - 40 percent lead last month.


Sanders does just as well, or even better, against top Republicans:
Topping Trump 49 - 41 percent;
Getting 44 percent to Rubio's 43 percent;
Beating Cruz 49 - 39 percent;
Leading Carson 47 - 41 percent.

Clinton has a negative 44 - 51 percent favorability rating. Other favorability ratings are:

Negative 35 - 57 percent for Trump;
40 - 33 percent for Carson;
44 - 31 percent for Sanders;
37 - 28 percent for Rubio;
33 - 33 percent for Cruz.


Unless you want President Trump naming multiple Supreme Court Justices you'd better vote for Bernie in the primary.

Sign a Walker recall petition, get your name in the paper. Give him money and he'll keep it secret.

http://cognidissidence.blogspot.com/2015/12/the-politics-of-privacy.html


If you remember, in 2011, every person who signed the Scott Waker recall petition (and only the Scott Walker recall petition, despite there being many others - hmmmm), names and addresses were put online for everyone who supported Scott Walker to see and use for harassment, bullying and hiring processes. For exercising their Constitutional Rights, as written in the Wisconsin Constitution, their names, addresses and phone numbers were there for the whole State of WI to do with as they may.

In 2012, the far right wing MacIver Instutute sued Senator Erpenbach to get the names of everyone who emailed him about the ACT10 Protests. Senator Erpenbach turned over all the emails, but blacked out the identifying information of his constituents. That was not enough for the Mcgyver crew so they sued again and surprisingly won. Senator Erpenbach was then forced to turnover all names, email addresses etc of people who took five minutes out of their day to let their elected representatives know how they feel about the events of the day. MacIver needed full contact information to make sure that anyone who advocated positions they disagreed with, would now live in fear for their safety and jobs.

...

It is incredibly ironic, that many of the same people who are whining the loudest about money being speech and how asking for donors records was an assault on free speech rights, are the same people requesting these records and making them public.

The hypocrisy does not end there. The Scott Walker administration keeps finding new ways to avoid Open records request and destroy documents. Scott Walker will not even allow us to know who visits him at the Governor's mansion, mostly because they are big donors and the moneyed base. Their privacy must be protected at all costs.


Welcome to Sweden: Notes on birthday condoms, home abortions, and hysterical Americans

http://www.progressive.org/news/2015/12/188447/welcome-sweden-notes-birthday-condoms-home-abortions-and-hysterical-americans


The first thing I notice, as a mother and midwife landing in Sweden, is the extraordinary attention paid to families. I discover that the narrow parallel tracks running up staircases, indoor and outdoor, are for strollers. I see strollers and wheelchairs everywhere, fitting into inviting and welcoming (beyond merely accommodating) public spaces. Every urban neighborhood has a grocery store stocked with real food that by law contains no unnecessary antibiotics, added hormones, corn syrup, or endocrine disrupting chemicals. Every neighborhood has a local health clinic and youth center.

There are no window decals prohibiting handguns, because Swedes don’t carry them. (It is illegal for a civilian to carry a firearm here unless for a specific, legal purpose, such as hunting or attending a shooting range.) A public bench seems to pop up whenever my dysplastic hip needs one. Dedicated bike paths abound. I marvel at how cars stop for pedestrians and bikers at every zebra crossing, and it almost makes me weep. I have seen cars hit bikers and pedestrians in America, and an eleven-year-old boy was killed recently along the very same traffic corridor where my son walked to school (and about which neighbors and I complained for years). This feels bigger than family friendliness. This is flesh-and-blood, money-where-the-mouth-is striving for humane and inclusive quality of life.

...

My son’s teacher said he did not need to bring anything apart from his curious, well-rested, breakfasted self. School will supply all his school needs, including an iPad and hot meals made from scratch. His first lunch —eaten over an hour at a round wooden table, sitting on a real wooden chair, in an actual dining room filled with windows and art—is baked salmon in rich cream sauce, dilled potatoes, steamed broccoli, salad with homemade dressing, bread, butter, and organic milk, served in all-you-can-eat buffet style. The kitchen uses 30 percent organic ingredients, locally produced when possible. My seventh grader is disoriented but delighted by trusting adults and an open campus with unlocked doors. (Every morning since Sandy Hook, my son’s school in America was all locked up by the time the kids were reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.)

...

Youth and young adult health centers in Sweden offer a limitless supply of free condoms, free testing and treatment for chlamydia and other diseases, and free emergency contraception. Pregnant minors are encouraged but not required to involve a parent. Counselors and/or psychiatrists meet with girls and are available to all women. Abortion is free or low-cost and available on-demand up to eighteen weeks of pregnancy. A dating ultrasound is required, and if the pregnancy is earlier than three months, girls and women can choose between vacuum extraction or pill-induced abortion and to complete the abortion at home.



Bike paths and free condoms! The horror, the horror!!!
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