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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
Number of posts: 39,405

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Is there any way that accepting the "fiscal cliff" framing of budget & taxes helps Dems?

It's one thing to make a tentative deal with the GOP that will expire if they can't agree to a better deal, but why talk in terms of the "fiscal cliff" which is totally buying into the conservative position that the deficit and debt are the most important issues of the day, especially since they don't give a rat's ass about that when they control the White House.

Doesn't buying into that frame reinforce the GOP talking point that Democrats are profligate spenders who must be reined in by the more responsible and mature Republicans?

What would be so hard about saying "Republicans don't give a rat's ass about deficits when they control the White House or even when they control both chambers of Congress, and that is a matter of record."


"These guys aren't interested in governing. Give me a Congress with both houses full of Democrats the way Bush had both full of Republicans, and then decide which party did better for you and your family when we had a free hand to govern as we see fit."

Rating Secretaries of Education the way Education Reformers do Teachers

The choice of data points seems unfair, but are about as fair as those used to evaluate K-12 teachers and are beginning to be used to evaluate community colleges and their instructors.

These standards will never be used to rate Secretaries of Education because the only standard that matters in Washington is whether politicians and bureaucrats funnel public money into the pockets of the already wealthy.

Teachers have been waiting for years for education policymakers and bureaucrats--those who are paid hefty salaries to theoretically improve educational outcomes for American children--to join them on the front lines of punitive data-driven accountability. Last July, one school administrator at the Save Our Schools march in Washington, DC, asked officials this question: "Why don't you...join me in the crucible of accountability?" Many front-line educators find it disconcerting and demoralizing when this nation's educator-in-chief urges the states to pass out labels to teachers but goes out of his way to avoid any label for his own efforts. While teachers are "objectively" rated by independent auditors using "scientific" formulas, personnel at the DoEd are content to have their actions judged subjectively on the basis of breathless press releases and heavily-massaged conclusions drawn from carefully selected data.

In the absence of any sort of effort on the part of Duncan or his staff to develop a means of legitimately holding themselves publicly accountable for positive student outcomes, a group calling itself Educators for Shared Accountability (ESA) has stepped into the gap. Their "Outcomes-Based, Value-Added Measurement of US Secretaries of Education" weighs every US Secretary of Education in the history of the department by comparing data at the beginning of each of their terms with data from the end of their terms. The data used to measure the effectiveness of each secretary includes two "student quality of life" data points and two data points based on student performance on academic tests. These four data points reflect improvement (or lack thereof) in the following areas during a secretary's term:

1. Student employability
2. Student pregnancy rates
3. Math performance
4. Reading performance


On a sad note, the data indicates that five out of the nine secretaries of education we have had actually reduced value for their students, forcing researchers at ESA to conclude that the nation would have been better off with no education secretary at all during their terms{including Arne Duncan}.


Has anyone proposed fixing deficit by funding defense like Social Security?

since defense is such a big cost, give it its own separate tax and make it pay as you go. If a war is planned in the future or erupts unexpectedly (the latter is a very rare occurrence if you're the world's only superpower) then that tax rate should be adjusted accordingly.

That is the minimum that should be done.

I wonder how much we would spend on defense then and how many wars we would get into.

Boehner follows NRA lead bans action stars from party

Republican House speaker John Boehner announced at a press conference today that the Republican Party would no longer accept campaign donations, acknowledge endorsements from, promote as candidates, use as spokesmodels, or invite as guests on Fox News any celebrities who make movies or TV shows that glorify gun violence.

This followed quickly on the heels on NRA President Wayne LaPierre's press conference that said in response to the Sandy Hook shooting, "Guns don't kill people, TV shows and movies kill people."

"The evidence that media violence on TV and in movies leads to violence in real life is overwhelming," Boehner said. "Every single mass shooter that I know of has watched TV or been to a movie."

This represents a major policy shift for Republicans who have long touted the support of action stars like Clint Eastwood, Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson, and the late Charlton Heston, all of whom have high on screen body counts. The GOP even successfully ran action star Arnold Schwarzenegger for governor of California, who won in spite of his inability to pronounce the name of the state.


My letter to Obama on Newtown shooting

I'm sure you heard that several teachers took bullets to protect their students in the recent Newtown massacre.

I am the husband of a K-12 teacher, not one myself, so there’s no immodesty in my saying this: how many hedge fund managers, billionaire trust fund “philanthropists,” corporate testing, textbook, and charter school profiteers, and their fully owned politicians would take a bullet for a kid?

Hell, most of them would not even spend an entire day in a classroom, and only open their mouths about teachers to bash them and say how they themselves could educate kids better and collect a tidy profit in the process (so far they've only succeeded at the collecting profit part).

My wife is a special education teacher and spends nearly every waking minute outside of her classroom on lesson plans and bureaucratic paperwork for her school, and the first couple of years she taught, she spent thousands of dollars out of her own pocket to buy books and other materials for students.

Isn't it time to stop beating up teachers and start listening to what they want to do to fix schools instead of the sociopaths on Wall Street who treat teachers with just slightly less contempt than the gunman in Newtown did?

One reason NRA and gun lobby NEED to assault weapons: decline of hunting

I heard someone discussing this on the radio this morning. Hunting is declining pretty sharply in America, which makes sense when you combine urbanization with computer culture.

So if gun companies just manufacture hunting rifles and shotguns, that's a recipe for extinction.

The growth market is military style weapons for killing lots of people and handguns for the armchair heroes who think they are going to shoot a burglar or mugger (but are really going to shoot their wife or kid or their own nuts).

If the issue could be framed this way in public discussions, the gun industry suddenly looks a lot more irresponsible and weaker, and if we have learned anything in the last decade or so, politicians can be very brave when it comes to kicking the weak.

3,500 Comments Later, Racist Conservatives Apparently Don't Like Jamie Foxx and Django Very Much

Right wingers love them some vigilante justice--except when it is delivered by a black slave to white masters.

Whenever the right talks about some of their favorite cultural issues like prayer in school or in this case, gun rights, I always think of the counter examples of those freedoms being exercised by people they don't like: Muslims or atheists praying in school, or those famous photos of Black Panthers with guns.

Those don't bother them though because when we here them saying "justice" they really mean "just us," just those rights for us, no one else.

It would appear that Jamie Foxx is not too popular among conservatives at the moment . As the star in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming speculative history film Django, where he plays a slave turned bounty hunter who gets to render justice out to the white people who wronged him and his family, Foxx is now an object of rage for white conservative victimologists, and those obsessed with "reverse racism."

While it should not be a surprise given the subject matter of the film, the intensity of the racially infused vitriol being directed at Jamie Foxx (and by extension the movie Django) following his appearance on Saturday Night Live this past weekend is nonetheless quite instructive.

There are now some 3,500 comments on the Right-wing site Newsbusters (whose story on Jamie Foxx's "racism" was promoted by the Drudge Report) where all manner of hateful utterances by white nationalists are effortlessly (and indistinguishably) co-mingled with those of "respectable" conservatives. The ease with which "respectable" conservatives can dialogue with overt bigots--and how their observations and tenor so easily overlap--is a frightening barometer for the current state of Right-wing political discourse in the Age of Obama.

The contemporary Republican Party has created a brand name for itself which is prefaced on white identity politics and white nativism. As such, they are the country's de facto White Party . While the White Right searches for a way to broaden its base, and to become more diverse in the face of the public's rejection of their policies in the 2012 election, the contemporary conservative movement is stuck in a state of limbo, a political conundrum and malaise, that they themselves created.


RAVITCH: Polls show even in TEXAS public wants more money for public schools NOT vouchers

This is the toon I wish I drew:

Most people intuitively know that vouchers and lotteries for charter schools are going to lead to crappier public schools for most kids (and ironically, more and more data is showing, even worse for those who "win" the charter lottery).

When will Democrats realize they have a winning issue by parting company with Republicans on the assault on public education?

Isn't it time they side with parents, teachers, and kids instead of sociopathic hedge fund managers who see our kids' futures as so many pork bellies to buy and sell?

Why Republicans Will Not Use the V Word
by dianerav
Why do Republicans like Mitt Romney and Bobby Jindal fear to use the V word?

Why do they say "opportunity scholarship" when they really mean Voucher?

As with most everything else (as Gail Collins said in her latest book), the answer may be found in Texas.

Texas, as we all know, is a red red red state.

The next legislature is planning to take up the voucher issue.

It should be a slam-dunk, right, because Texas is a red state and Republicans love school choice.

But not so fast. It turns out, in a recent poll, that most Texans don't want vouchers.

Most Texans want more money for public schools.

Even Republicans in the poll, by a 2-1 majority, want more money for public schools, not vouchers.

And that, dear readers, is why Republicans will not use the V word.

Even Republican voters don't want vouchers.

They don't want to blow up public education and hand it over to profiteers and religious institutions.

Democrats and Republicans alike want better public schools.

dianerav URL: http://wp.me/p2odLa-3ij

Since anti-trust laws haven't been enforced for 30 years, why not do the same for anti-labor ones?

Like the Taft-Hartley anti-labor law and citing the neglect of the Sherman Anti-Trust law as a precedent?

Would the attempt to stop enforcement survive in the courts?


But wouldn't it be nice to see all the Republican politicians and judges explain the double standard?

Given the massive Wall Street bailouts, should "fiscal cliff" talks include taxing them?

As soon as I heard the idea of a small transaction tax, I thought it would be fitting if the rate was set so the first year it collected as much as Hank Paulson's $700 billion blackmail demand, and executive compensation of any kind over a million dollars can't be counted as a labor cost.

and so on.

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