Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Analysis: Alabama Unemployment Higher Than Stated

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bentley UR Tweet 10-17-14

Alabama Governor Bentley claims he, and his policies – whatever they are (he has none… just look for your self) – have been responsible for declining Alabama Unemployment. Fact is, he’s blowing smoke.

Bentley UR Tweet Claim 10-17-14

Alabama Governor Bentley claims he, and his policies – whatever they are (he has none… just look for your self) – have been responsible for declining Alabama Unemployment. Fact is, he’s blowing smoke.

Alabama’s Republican Governor Robert Bentley, MD has crowed about “success” in lowering Alabama unemployment during the past 4 years of his term.

However, to be certain, a random statistical examination of the state’s Unemployment rate shows that it is very likely, AT LEAST two points higher than reported.  Here’s how.

Unemployment is calculated as a simple average. Take the number of people working, added into the number of people NOT working, AND who WANT to work, divided by the people who are available to work, gives the unemployment rate.

Here’s how the Bureau of  Labor Statistics defines the parameters of the equation:

What are the basic concepts of employment and unemployment?

The basic concepts involved in identifying the employed and unemployed are quite simple:
• People with jobs are employed.
• People who are jobless, looking for a job, and available for work are unemployed.
• The labor force is made up of the employed and the unemployed.
• People who are neither employed nor unemployed are not in the labor force.

Simply put, the formula is:

Unemployment Rate = Unemployed


Employed + Unemployed

 

However, if you’ve had a college course in Statistics – and most folks in Alabama have not (it’s part of maintaining the policy of “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command”) – then you’d understand that a random sample of the set would show essentially the same results.

And face it… most folks in Alabama DO NOT HAVE A COLLEGE EDUCATION. In fact, according to the Alabama Department of Education, Alabama’s High School Drop Out rate is 28%. Page 2, Frame 2 of the linked document shows the 2010-2011 TOTAL Graduation Rate as 72%.

Face it… ALABAMA IS

Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama As A Third-World Nation: How True Is It?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 26, 2014

In so many comparative rankings for quality of life within our 50 United States, Alabama and Mississippi seem in a dead heat for last place. In a veritable “Race To The Bottom,” Alabama and Mississippi scrap over being in last place. In fact, it’s been a long-standing joke – with the sad, bitter sting of truth – that Alabama’s State Motto is not Audemus jura nostra defendere,” which has been translated as: “We Dare Maintain Our Rights” or “We Dare Defend Our Rights,” but rather “Thank God For Mississippi.”

And just so we’re singing on the same sheet of music, and on the same verse, a “Third World Nation” is one which were at one time colonies “formally lead by imperialism. The end of imperialism forced these colonies to survive on their own. With lack of support, these colonies started to develop characteristics such as poverty, high birthrates and economic dependence on other countries. The term was then affiliated to the economic situation of these former colonies and not their social alliances to either capitalism or communism.” In a more modern sense however, a “Third World Nation,” is more readily thought of as being one of several “underdeveloped nations of the world, especially those with widespread poverty.” And it is in that sense to which I refer to Alabama as “a Third World Nation.”

In essence, what that term refers to is Quality Of Life. And, there are many aspects of life that can be measured, such as rates and incidences of crime, employment/unemployment, education, health/sickness/disease, responsive & efficient government, availability of clean water, sewerage, utilities such as electricity, natural gas, supporting infrastructure to deliver those utilities, which includes transportation, roads, highways, airports, railways, and access to the same. There is much more to life than the mere availability of food, clothing and shelter. For example, who would want to eat raw meat, wear bearskins, and live in a cave? In context, those three items are certainly fulfilled. And if that’s all there is, then all is well… right?

Demonstrating that, again, there is MUCH MORE to life than the mere availability of food, clothing and shelter.

Consider, for example, Public Health.

Rates of Obesity, and Obesity-related Diseases (also called chronic, or long-term problems) such as Diabetes, Hypertension (High Blood Pressure), Stroke, and certain types of Cancer, in Mississippi and Alabama are among the highest in our United States. While Obesity is quickly becoming an epidemic of significant national proportions, it is particularly problematic in the SouthEast, and in Mississippi and Alabama, especially. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese.

To be certain, Obesity and Overweight are two DIFFERENT terms, though they describe the extent of the condition. Obesity is having a Body Mass Index of 30, or greater, while Overweight is having a Body Mass Index of 25 or greater.

What is Body Mass Index?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a person’s weight and height, which is a fairly reliable indicator of body fatness for most people. BMI does not

Read the rest of this entry »

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Gone With The Wind: How Alabama’s State Legislature Blew Away $200 Million Of Industrial Development And Jobs

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

labama Governor Robert Bentley signed legislation PROHIBITING two out-of-state businesses from investing in Alabama & constructing business operations, and hiring. Total Cost of Loss = $200+ Million

By his refusal to act, Alabama Republican Governor Robert Bentley allowed legislation to pass which PROHIBITED TWO Out-of-State Businesses from Investing, Conducting Business Operations, and Hiring in Alabama.
Total Cost Loss To Alabama = $200+ Million

Governor Bentley Refused To Reign In Unfounded Fear Mongering By GOP Dominated Legislature

Fueled by unfounded, unscientific constituency fears, Legislators in Alabama’s state Senate and House of Representatives recently authored restrictive regulatory legislation which made it impossible for a Texas-based business to expand operations in Alabama. Not counting the jobs and salaries lost, the investment cost of the loss to Alabama exceeds $200 Million.

Specifically, Pioneer Green Energy, 802 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701, (512) 351-3363, planned to spend over $200 Million to build two facilities in Cherokee and Etowah counties to generate electricity, and hire local people to operate and maintain the facilities.

In comparison, Remington Arms – the firearms manufacturer which recently announced relocation to Huntsville, Alabama – will be spending $110 Million, with $38 Million in tax incentives provided by the state.

Pioneer was set to construct 30-45 wind-driven turbines (electricity-generating windmills) in Etowah county at a cost of $160 Million in their NoccalulaWind project. In nearby Cherokee county, they were set to construct 7-8 such windmills, at a cost of $40 Million in their ShinboneWind project.

A series of bills which originated in Alabama’s state Senate, and House of Representatives was effectively, the death knell for the projects.

Alabama State Senator Phil Williams, 10th Senate District, Floor of Alabama State Senate

State Senator Phil Williams, a Republican in Alabama’s 10th Senate District, speaks from the Floor of Alabama State Senate. He authored SB 402 & SB 403, prohibitive regulatory legislation which hamstrung $200 Million in Industrial Development and Jobs.

As reported by Conservation Alabama, April 10, 2014, in a column entitled “2014 Legislative Session recap, “Two local bills opposed by Conservation Alabama did pass. Senate Bills 402 and 403 requiring strict regulations for wind energy conversion systems in Etowah and Cherokee counties passed, eliminating any real chance of wind energy in those two counties. After these local bills passed it was thought that Senate Bill 12, a statewide bill to regulate wind energy conversion systems, would make it through with language that superseded the two local bills and included more reasonable and agreed upon language between the two sides. However, proponents of the bill could not get on the same page. Last minute changes to the bill created additional controversy, and the bill ultimately failed to pass in the House and consequently the two local bills will become law.”

Alabama state Senate Bills 402 and 403  were authored and sponsored by Senator Phil Williams, a Republican whom represents Alabama’s 10th Senate District, which includes Etowah and Cherokee counties. By profession, Senator Williams is a lawyer, and in part, he wrote this about himself on his legislative profile/biography webpage: “Phil Williams is the managing member of Williams & Associates, LLC, a law firm based in Gadsden, AL.” His campaign website states this, “His legal focus is largely in the areas of insurance, municipal and corporate defense.” (SB402 may be found online here -or downloaded from this site AL SB402-int- & SB 403 may be found online here  -or downloaded from this site AL SB403-int-)

Here’s Part One of the Grand Hypocrisy. The Alabama GOP website states this about Senator Williams: “One of the most promising freshman Senators in Montgomery is Phil Williams of Rainbow City. He is the proud sponsor of the Alabama Jobs Creation and Retention Act, which provides tax incentives to new or existing businesses that engage in industrial projects. Sen. Williams said, “This Act will help make Alabama a center of gravity for new and existing business growth, and is another example of our Republican-led senate following through on our campaign promises.””

Why would a State Senator whom sponsored the “Alabama Jobs Creation and Retention Act” author legislation that FORBADE the creation of jobs?

Alabama State Senator Phil Williams (R), authored regulatory legislation which hampered $200 Million Industrial Development in Alabama, and cost jobs.

Alabama State Senator Phil Williams (R), in green tie & suit, authored regulatory legislation which lost $200 Million Industrial Development in Alabama, and cost jobs.

According to an article in The Alabama Reporter written by Brandon Moseley, published 07 June 2013, Senator Williams, who hails from Rainbow City, is seeking a second term in office, and made this remark about his candidacy: “It has been a great honor to serve the people of Senate District 10 these past few years. We have accomplished so much of what the people in our communities said they wanted, and my intent is to continue the fight for conservative values and finish what we’ve started.”

Readers may recall that Etowah county is home to disgraced former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore – sometimes popularly known as “The Ten Commandments Judge” – who was removed from office following a hearing November 12, 2003 by a unanimous vote of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary. Since then, he campaigned for the same office – State Supreme Court Chief Justice – and was elected November 6, 2012.

It certainly seem that folks in Alabama Politics – that’d be the GOP/Republicans – are largely backwards, hypocritical, narrow minded fear mongers who appeal to their equally “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command” constituency.

Because while on one hand, they decry “regulation” and “excessive” regulation which they claim constrains business, and free enterprise – and therefore jobs – in the state, they simultaneously enact the very legislation they decry.

It’s called HYPOCRISY. And to be certain, it’s simply defined as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.”

This is a HUGE case in point, that an out-of-state business was prepared to construct and expand business operations in Alabama – from the ground, up. Had leased land, obtained easements, and every other necessary preliminary item to conduct business operations… including hiring professional services in Alabama to prepare for business operations.

BUT!

Wouldn’t you know it? The GOP-dominated Alabama State Legislature (House & Senate) enacted legislation, which passed without Governor Bentley’s signature, which PROHIBITED the businesses from even getting the first bulldozer out to clear land. Seriously.

Think I’m joking, exaggerating, or kidding?

Read on.

Oh… and be sure to thank them in November.

—-

Alabama regs too strict for turbines, says lawyer for wind energy developer

By William Thornton, wthornton@al.com
Twitter: WThorn7
on August 20, 2014 at 11:16 AM, updated August 20, 2014 at 12:03 PM

GADSDEN, Alabama — The lawyer for a Texas-based company abandoning plans for two windmill farms in northeast Alabama said today that recently approved state regulations on wind energy led to the decision.

Charlie Stewart, attorney for Pioneer Green Energy, said the company no longer has plans to develop two wind energy farms in Cherokee and Etowah counties. Groups opposing the development announced yesterday they had received word Pioneer Green was relinquishing land leases for the projects.

Pioneer Green Energy announced last year it planned to develop wind energy projects in the two counties, and said land leases had already been secured. Five Cherokee County residents filed suit in an attempt to stop the development, and a group of Etowah County residents also filed suit.

Pioneer Green planned a $40 million project with seven to eight turbines in Cherokee County. The larger Etowah County project would have had 30 to 45 turbines costing $160 million.

Stewart said the company was ready to begin construction when the lawsuits were filed, and the legislation passed earlier this year, which established setback and noise standards.

That bill required the state’s Public Safety Commission to oversee wind farms, mandated that noise from the turbines not exceed an average of 50 decibels, and laid out a setback of five times the height of the tower from the base to the nearest property line. Last year, a company official said the legislation was too restrictive by making the property line the threshold and not the nearest residence or structure.

Stewart said much of the opposition was fueled by “hysteria.”

“The bill was basically Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Governor Bentley Broke 20 Promises From 2010 Campaign

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 13, 2014

Broken Bentley Campaign Promises2sB

Robert Bentley, MD will say ANYTHING to get elected. In fact, he did. Is there any reason to believe he won’t do it again? He had no intention of fulfilling any of those promises. And that, my friends, is the definition of a sociopathic liar.
Sociopathic Liars are defined as someone who lies continuously in an attempt to get their own way, without showing care or concern for others. These individuals are goal-oriented. Even though it might seem hard to believe, lying is focused – they are focused on getting their own way. Sociopaths don’t have a lot of respect or regard for the feelings and rights of others. They tend to be charismatic and charming, but they will use their exceptional social skills in a self-centered and manipulative manner.

Having met with Alabama Governor Bentley a couple times, I can attest that he came across to me as a “nice guy,” a decent human being.

However – and to be absolutely certain – when I refer to Robert Bentley, or Governor Bentley, I mean to refer to him as an elected political figure, nothing more. And in that sense, as a legislator from Tuscaloosa, he was an inept, do-nothing, milquetoast, mamby-pamby, clueless, bumbling, cowardly, lazy, yellow-bellied, gutless, craven, unimaginative, clueless, pedestrian, hackneyed, lame and feeble Representative.

As Governor, he has given Alabama all that, and more… in spades!

As an elected official, Governor Bentley is a liar, and there are LITERALLY 15-20 broken promises he made while in the 2010 campaign that were very likely the hopes upon which Alabamians hung their hat, and ideas for which they cast their vote. His Democratic contender – Ron Sparks – was a man who, as Secretary of Agriculture and Industries, had his finger on the economic pulse of the state of Alabama. Ron was the man whom opened doors of market opportunity for Alabama’s farmers to sell poultry in foreign markets. Ron regularly communicated with the captains of industry in Alabama, as well the numerous entrepreneurs, small businesses owners, and Mom & Pop shops, which are the lifeblood of any economy.

Bentley’s campaign is nothing more one Broken Promise after another. It is a history of lies, infidelity, and willful deception. To characterize his administration as duplicitous would be generously diplomatic. To say it has been treacherously fraudulent would be more accurate.

Here are what I consider the Top Ten Bentley Campaign Lies from 2010. Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Governor Bentley OK’d $580K Trooper Gate pay, lied about it

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 13, 2014

#ALPolitics @GovernorBentley OK’d $580K #TrooperGate pay, lied about it  http://j.mp/TrooperGate

Alabama Republican Governor Robert Bentley, MD, OK’d $580,000 Trooper Gate pay, then lied about it
http://j.mp/TrooperGate

Bentley Punished DPS Bosses for Questioning Lewis’ Gigantic Overtime Pay

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on October 12, 2014
Used with permission

Retired state trooper Capt. Mark Whitaker ran the Protective Services Division and Capitol Police in the Alabama Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) until this year. This is the DPS division responsible for guarding and driving Governor Robert Bentley. Wendell Ray Lewis was a sergeant under his command.

While running his division, Whitaker learned that Lewis’ overtime pay was pre-approved by Bentley and never to be questioned. This was even true with regard to Lewis’ claimed entitlement to 24 hours of overtime for a single day. Prior to Lewis, Whitaker had never seen a trooper make a claim for or receive 24 hours of overtime pay for a single day.

On January 14, 2014, Whitaker was called into then-DPS Director Hugh McCall’s office where McCall told Whitaker that his entire division would be transferred to the newly created Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (“ALEA”). As a result of the transfer, Whitaker, a highly respected captain, would fall under the command and supervision of Lewis, who at that time was a sergeant. Unbelievably, Captain Whitaker would be reporting to Sgt. Lewis.

This order came directly from Governor Bentley.

This humiliating role reversal was the ultimate insult for Whitaker, a career officer who had climbed the ranks within DPS and earned his command position. According to published reports, Whitaker believes this demeaning and insulting personnel action – a captain reporting to a sergeant – occurred merely because he sought to question Lewis’ overtime pay in the months prior.

“This is what I get for doing my job,” Whitaker complained to McCall at the time. He retired soon after.

Whitaker is the second high-ranking trooper to retire over the Bentley-Lewis overtime pay scandal. In 2011, Major Marc McHenry, now retired, served as the DPS chief over Protective Services and the Capitol Police. Lewis also worked under McHenry.

When McHenry realized in 2011 that Lewis had accumulated a gigantic amount of overtime pay, he tried to put an end to Lewis’ financial windfall. At the time, troopers were not being paid for overtime. They were given time off instead.

McHenry sent the issue to Lewis’ supervisor, and two days later he was Read the rest of this entry »

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“No, Dr. Bentley, we are in no way prepared for Ebola.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 10, 2014

Pippa Abston, MD, PhD, is considered by many, to be the preeminent, board-certified general pediatric physician in the Tennessee Valley, and is author of the following commentary, written in response to a news item entitled “Ebola hasn’t surfaced in Alabama but state ready, Gov. Bentley says,” published October 08, 2014 at 9:03 AM, updated October 08, 2014 at 12:59 PM at http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2014/10/gov_robert_bentley_on_ebola_vi.html.

In his press conference, Governor Bentley said, “In the event that Ebola spreads to Alabama, we are ready and we are prepared to respond.”

Thursday, 9October2014, 6:18am

By Pippa Abston, MD, PhD

Governor of Alabama, Dr. Robert Bentley, MD makes a Press Conference Wednesday, 08October2014 to assert Alabama state readiness for Ebola virus.

Alabama Governor, Dr. Robert Bentley, MD (a retired dermatologist) holds a Press Conference Wednesday, 08 October 2014 purporting to assert state readiness for the Ebola virus.

No, Dr. Bentley, we are in no way prepared.

First and most seriously, people lack insurance or have high co-pays/ deductibles, so they will delay going to the doctor or ER and expose others in the meantime.

Second, our public health infrastructure is underfunded and understaffed.

A couple of years ago I let the local HD (Health Department) know about a new viral syndrome I was seeing, which needed Read the rest of this entry »

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The Weird Church Lady

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Weirder & weirderThis cute meme reminds me of the story of a somewhat uncouth, and slovenly church lady who was almost constantly inviting the pastor over for a meal.

Being aware of her less-than-hygienic life practices & household condition, he politely declined at every opportunity when invited.

One day, she confided in him that she had “turned over a new leaf,” and that she’d spent quite some time cleaning & tidying up, and that her household was spic and span, from top to bottom. Being completely wearied of her seemingly incessant requests, he reluctantly accepted, and hoped to find her household in somewhat better condition than he’d seen it years ago.

When the day finally arrived, not knowing what to expect, he approached the front door with a mixture of eager anticipation, and trepidation.

He had no sooner finished knocking on the door, than Sister Smith opened the door and cheerily greeted the pastor.

“Hello, Pastor Jones!,” she excitedly exclaimed. “I’m ~so~ very glad you came! Won’t you please come in?”

“Thank you, Sister Smith,” he said as he stepped over the threshold into the living room.

Glancing around, he was utterly amazed at what he saw.

“Well… I declare! I’m practically speechless, Sister Smith!,” he exulted as he Read the rest of this entry »

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How Successful Is It To Drug Test Public Assistance Welfare Recipients?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 5, 2014

There’s a meme which circulates on FaceBook and presumably, in other places as well, which appears similarly as this:

Drug Test Public Assistance Recipients

Drug Test Public Assistance Recipients Meme

Honestly, the idea is a failure.

But you’d rarely – if ever – hear about it’s failures.

Florida was the first state to tread that path. What they learned was surprising. And then, the law was struck down by a Federal court. The states that embark upon Florida’s path will be wa$ting their citizen$ taxe$.

Only 2.6% of Florida applicants failed the drug test.

“Because the Florida law requires that applicants who pass the test be reimbursed for the cost, an average of $30, the cost to the state was $118,140. This is more than would have been paid out in benefits to the people who failed the test. As a result, the testing cost the government an extra $45,780.”

The purported savings in Florida’s program will be negligible after administrative costs and reimbursements for the drug tests are taken into account.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/us/no-savings-found-in-florida-welfare-drug-tests.html

But it wasn’t limited to Florida. Read the rest of this entry »

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Radical Right Wing Extremist Girl-Holding-A-Microphone Pretends To Interview Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Recently, I had the opportunity to view a YouTube video which, as I considered the title, immediately aroused suspicion.

You too, can view the video, which is linked herein at the close.

The title is Kennedy Jr. Loses Cool at Climate Rally; Gets Handsy w/ PJTV’s Michelle Fields When She Corners Him.”

Think about it for a brief moment. You’re cornered. What’re you gonna’ do?

Yeah.

So anyway, points deducted for that.

Who is this “PJTV,” anyway?

Here’s what they say about themselves:PJTV is the first center-right online news and commentary television network, focusing on the key political and economic issues of the day.

Okay… great. Right wingers. So what?

Well, I’m no fan of the radical right, so points deducted for that.

‘What?!,’ you exclaim?! ‘You don’t like the right?’

Not quite. It’s the RADICAL RIGHT which I oppose. Note the presence of the word RADICAL which precedes the word “right.”

But let’s talk about the video.

The Girl Holding A Microphone (whom identifies herself as “Michelle Fields”) claims to be at the Read the rest of this entry »

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Which are the BEST & WORST States for Nursing Practice?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The nursing industry – like most segments of the economy – is in a state of significant transition under the weight of major overarching socioeconomic dynamics, from the aging U.S. population and the Affordable Care Act to the student loan crisis and concerns about the future of key entitlement programs. It’s therefore understandable if recent nursing school grads aren’t sure where to turn once they receive their diploma.

That concern is not unique among recent graduates, regardless of industry, but both the magnitude of the issue – the nursing industry is expected to grow far faster than the average occupation through 2022 – and the various day-to-day demands placed on nursing professionals – from overstaffing and mandatory overtime to unionization and allegations of systematic disrespect – are indeed profession-specific. With that in mind, WalletHub decided to take stock of the nursing industry in order to help nurses, particularly the newly minted of the bunch, lay down roots in areas that are conducive to both personal and professional success.

We compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of 15 key metrics that collectively speak to the job opportunities that exist for nurses in each market, how much competition there is for each position, differences in the workplace environment, and projections for the future. You can check out our findings as well as Read the rest of this entry »

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Easy #Bacon Wrapped #Chicken #Tailgating #Recipe

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, September 12, 2014

Sweet Baby Chicken Bacon Wraps are a tasty combination of sweet and spicy.

With only four ingredients, or more, it’s a quick, easy, simple, affordable and satisfying heavy hors d’oeuvre to make for a crowd. Unless you’re cooking for the Los Angeles Rams.

As we march our way into the holiday season Hades, this is sure to be an outstanding addition to your next party or family get together. Even tailgating!

Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps

Yield: 12-15 wraps

Ingredients: Read the rest of this entry »

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Cullman Alabama Mother & Son Plead Guilty to Theft from Poverty Healthcare Program

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cullman County Scum.

“Some folks just need killing.”

Either that, or chop off their hand, or foot.

This is OUTRAGEOUS!

Stealing from the poor!

This makes me LIVID!!

They’re both human ostomy bags.

Mother, son charged in federal health agency fraud; more than $100k used on items including adult website, fish finders

Kent Faulk | kfaulk@al.com By Kent Faulk | kfaulk@al.com
Follow on Twitter
on August 27, 2014 at 5:15 PM, updated August 27, 2014 at 5:16 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – A mother and son from Cullman have been charged in a scheme to defraud federal health agencies and a nonprofit east Alabama health center of more than $100,000, which they used to buy personal items such as electronic fish finders, truck tires, cell phones and an adult website membership, federal prosecutors announced.

Sheila Osborne Parker and James Robert Parker were charged in separate documents today in U.S. District Court in Birmingham, according to a joint press release issued by U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr., IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillot, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Office of Inspector General, Atlanta Regional Office Special Agent in Charge Derrick Jackson.

AL.com and The Birmingham News recently reported that a federal grand jury has been investigating the financial dealings of the federally-funded Birmingham Health Care center, which at one time a pioneer in the care of the homeless in Birmingham, sources tell AL.com.

Sheila Parker, 59, faces six counts of wire fraud, two counts of bank fraud and two counts of failing to file federal income tax returns, according to the press release. James Parker, 33, faces five counts of wire fraud and two counts of failing to file income tax returns. The mother and son have both entered plea agreements with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Sheila Parker worked for Birmingham Health Care, a nonprofit organization in Birmingham intended to provide free or low-cost health care services to the homeless and to people living below poverty level in the metro area, according to the press release.

In 2008, BHC assumed responsibility for Read the rest of this entry »

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Another One Bites The Dust… Hopefully

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Another criminal scumbag has cost the taxpayers of Alabama untold tens of thousands of dollars.

Yeah.

Sho’ nuff!

That mofo be a dumbass, f’sho!

Chaunce Martel Williams, aged 28, sustained life-threatening injuries after a police chase of some distance, after he attempted to elude police.

Chaunce Martel Williams, aged 28, driver of the vehicle seen here, sustained life-threatening injuries after he attempted to elude police, and led them on a chase of some distance. His two passengers are hospitalized in serious, but not life-threatening condition.

Here’s what the whelp did, according to local news reports.

Huntsville police say 28-year-old Chaunce Martel Williams Read the rest of this entry »

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Apple Recall: iPhone 5 Battery Replacement Program

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 25, 2014

Apple has determined that a very small percentage of iPhone 5 devices may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently. The affected iPhone 5 devices were sold between September 2012 and January 2013 and fall within a limited serial number range.

If your iPhone 5 is experiencing these symptoms and meets the eligibility requirements noted below, Apple will replace your iPhone 5 battery, free of charge.

Eligibility

If your iPhone is in working order and exhibits the symptoms noted above, use the serial number checker below to see if it is eligible for this program.

Only iPhone 5 smartphones sold between September 2012 and Read the rest of this entry »

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The Future of Computing, the Internet & Healthcare

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, August 24, 2014

“Mature” applications’ resurrection will hinge upon touch-screen technology which will further cement the GUI as a future power broker, and external scripts -which presently have numerous problems inherent to their own shortcomings- will become inherently integrated within the framework of an OS while HTML will morph into a similarly integrative & secure distributive computing platform (P2P), which proof of concept has been demonstrated by BitTorrent & Tor. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Penultimate Reading List

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, August 22, 2014

Summertime is quickly drawing to a close, and some of you -no doubt- have enjoyed (or at least attempted to enjoy) reading a few good books during these past few months.

However, just in the case you didn’t, and if you’re looking for a good list from which to choose, either for yourself, your children, or others, here’s an EXCELLENT starting point.

Most are novels, some are not, many are classics, some are from antiquity, some from modernity, some obscure, while others (and their authors) renown. In some cases, authors are not listed because many -if not most- of the works are so renown, or they’re simply unknown; and in the cases where some help could help identify or clarify, the author’s name is provided.

While by no means is this list wholly complete, it’s a damn good start.

If anyone has read at least 1/3 of these, they may consider themselves reasonably well read.
 (While I’ve not read all of the selections, I have read many – and am familiar with most.)

And remember, if you can’t read, you’re doomed!
Don’t ban books!

1.) Daphnis & Chloe (Longus),
2.) I, Robot (Isaac Asimov),
3.) To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee),
4.) Lord of the Flies (William Golding),
5.) The Three Musketeers (Alexandre Dumas),
6.) Gulliver’s Travels (Jonathan Swift),
7.) The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck),
8.) The Catcher in the Rye (J.D.Salinger),
9.) The Hound of the Baskervilles (Arthur Conan Doyle),
10.) Frankenstein (Mary Shelley),

11.) 1984 (George Orwell),
12.) The War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells),
13.) David Copperfield (Charles Dickens),
14.) Don Quixote (Don Quijote de la Mancha),
15.) Moby-Dick (Herman Mellville),
16.) Metamorphoses (Ovid),
17.) The Napoleon of Notting Hill (G.K.Chesterton),
18.) Pilgrim’s Progress (John Bunyan)
19.) Ulysses (James Joyce),
20.) Catch-22 (Joseph Heller),

21.) Robinson Crusoe,
22.) Clarissa (Samuel Richardson),
23.) Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë),
24.) The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne),
25.) Madame Bovary (Gustave Flaubert),
26.) The Brothers Karamazov ( Fyodor Dostoyevsky),
27.) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Robert Louis Stephenson),
28.) The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde),
29.) The Call of the Wild (Jack London),
30.) The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame),

31.) Men Without Women (Ernest Hemingway),
32.) Brave New World (Aldous Huxley),
33.) The Plague (Albert Camus),
34.) Charlotte’s Web (E.B.White),
35.) The Lord Of The Rings (J.R.R.Tolkein),
36.) On the Road (Jack Kerouac),
37.) The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,
38.) Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov),
39.) The Tin Drum (Günter Wilhelm Grass), Read the rest of this entry »

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Record Breaking Alligator Caught in Alabama

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, August 17, 2014

Here’s how a record-breaking, 1,000-pound-plus gator was pulled from Alabama River

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

Gator15 Gator14 Gator13 Gator12 Gator11 Gator16 Gator17 Gator18 Gator19 Gator20 Gator21 Gator27 Gator26 Gator25 Gator24 Gator23 Gator22 Gator28 Gator29 Gator30 Gator31 Gator32 Gator33CAMDEN, Alabama – Mandy Stokes put her pearls on Friday night.

No, she wasn’t going out to dinner with the family.

She was going alligator hunting.

Ever since Keith Fancher and his crew pulled a 14-foot, 2-inch, 838-pound alligator from the Alabama River in 2011 to set the standard for the largest ever legally killed by an Alabama hunter, Stokes had jokingly told friends and family that if she was ever drawn for a tag, she would wear the necklace so she’d look good when being interviewed after breaking the record.

Stokes got her tag this year and the pearls still hung around her neck Saturday afternoon.

It was about 10 hours after she and husband John Stokes, brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his children Savannah, 16, and Parker, 14, brought a monster alligator to the check-in station at Roland Cooper State Park near Camden in Wilcox County.

Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Biologists had no trouble measuring the beast at 15 feet even, but they had to call for some relief when trying to weigh it.

The first attempt completely destroyed the winch assembly used to easily hoist most average gators. It was the same mechanism used to weigh the Fancher alligator.

Enlisting the assistance of a park backhoe to lift it, a WFF biologist officially called the weight at 1,011.5 pounds.

COMPARING IT TO OTHER BIG CATCHES

Those dimensions easily make the Stokes Gator the biggest ever killed in Alabama. Alabama does not have an official record-gator program, but its regulated hunts have only been underway for nine years, so records are easily accessed and current.

“Truthfully, after I saw the Fancher Gator, in my mind I was thinking there’s no way we can catch anything bigger than that,” Mandy Stokes said. “When I finally saw it the full-body mount at the Gee’s Bend Terminal, the main thing I remembered was the size of its feet. When I saw the size of the foot on this one, I knew it was a good one.”

Maybe the best one ever. An internet search suggests the Stokes Gator may be the largest American alligator ever legally killed by a hunter.

Just this June, Safari Club International declared a 14-foot, 8-inch, 880-pound alligator killed in Chalk Creek near Lufkin, Texas by Justin Wells of Bossier City, La., in 2007 as the new world record.

It’s not clear which metric – length, weight or a combination of both – SCI used to make its declaration.

A September 2013 story on Outdoor Life’s Website tells the tale of a 13-foot, 9-inch, 1,100-pound gator killed by Drew Baker in Arkansas. Baker’s gator is the Arkansas record, but the story makes no mention of it being in contention for world record status.

Stokes’ gator measured 70.5 inches around the stomach, 46 inches around the base of the tail and had a 16-inch snout measurement.

THE EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER OF THE CATCH

No matter by which standard alligators are measured, Mandy Stokes said Read the rest of this entry »

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Reasons to Oppose Common Core from the Left & Right

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 11, 2014

Once, I supported Common Core.

Now, I do not.

Read on to understand why.

***

***

***

Everything you need to know about Common Core — Ravitch

January 18, 2014

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/01/18/everything-you-need-to-know-about-common-core-ravitch/

Diane Ravitch, the education historian who has become the leader of the movement against corporate-influenced school reform, gave this speech to the Modern Language Association on Jan. 11 about the past, present and future of the Common Core State Standards.

Here’s her speech:

As an organization of teachers and scholars devoted to the study of language and literature, MLA should be deeply involved in the debate about the Common Core standards.

The Common Core standards were developed in 2009 and released in 2010. Within a matter of months, they had been endorsed by 45 states and the District of Columbia. At present, publishers are aligning their materials with the Common Core, technology companies are creating software and curriculum aligned with the Common Core, and two federally-funded consortia have created online tests of the Common Core.

What are the Common Core standards? Who produced them? Why are they controversial? How did their adoption happen so quickly?

As scholars of the humanities, you are well aware that every historical event is subject to interpretation. There are different ways to answer the questions I just posed. Originally, this session was designed to be a discussion between me and David Coleman, who is generally acknowledged as the architect of the Common Core standards. Some months ago, we both agreed on the date and format. But Mr. Coleman, now president of the College Board, discovered that he had a conflicting meeting and could not be here.

So, unfortunately, you will hear only my narrative, not his, which would be quite different. I have no doubt that you will have no difficulty getting access to his version of the narrative, which is the same as Secretary Arne Duncan’s.

He would tell you that the standards were created by the states, that they were widely and quickly embraced because so many educators wanted common standards for teaching language, literature, and mathematics. But he would not be able to explain why so many educators and parents are now opposed to the standards and are reacting angrily to the testing that accompanies them.

I will try to do that.

I will begin by setting the context for the development of the standards.

They arrive at a time when American public education and its teachers are under attack. Never have public schools been as subject to upheaval, assault, and chaos as they are today. Unlike modern corporations, which extol creative disruption, schools need stability, not constant turnover and change. Yet for the past dozen years, ill-advised federal and state policies have rained down on students, teachers, principals, and schools.

George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Barack Obama’s Race to the Top have combined to impose a punitive regime of standardized testing on the schools. NCLB was passed by Congress in 2001 and signed into law in 2002. NCLB law required schools to test every child in grades 3-8 every year; by 2014, said the law, every child must be “proficient” or schools would face escalating sanctions. The ultimate sanction for failure to raise test scores was firing the staff and closing the school.

Because the stakes were so high, NCLB encouraged teachers to teach to the test. In many schools, the curriculum was narrowed; the only subjects that mattered were reading and mathematics. What was not tested—the arts, history, civics, literature, geography, science, physical education—didn’t count. Some states, like New York, gamed the system by dropping the passing mark each year, giving the impression that its students were making phenomenal progress when they were not. Some districts, like Atlanta, El Paso, and the District of Columbia, were caught up in cheating scandals. In response to this relentless pressure, test scores rose, but not as much as they had before the adoption of NCLB.

Then along came the Obama administration, with its signature program called Race to the Top. In response to the economic crisis of 2008, Congress gave the U.S. Department of Education $5 billion to promote “reform.” Secretary Duncan launched a competition for states called “Race to the Top.” If states wanted any part of that money, they had to agree to certain conditions. They had to agree to evaluate teachers to a significant degree by the rise or fall of their students’ test scores; they had to agree to increase the number of privately managed charter schools; they had to agree to adopt “college and career ready standards,” which were understood to be the not-yet-finished Common Core standards; they had to agree to “turnaround” low-performing schools by such tactics as firing the principal and part or all of the school staff; and they had to agree to collect unprecedented amounts of personally identifiable information about every student and store it in a data warehouse. It became an article of faith in Washington and in state capitols, with the help of propagandistic films like “Waiting for Superman,” that if students had low scores, it must be the fault of bad teachers. Poverty, we heard again and again from people like Bill Gates, Joel Klein, and Michelle Rhee, was just an excuse for bad teachers, who should be fired without delay or due process.

These two federal programs, which both rely heavily on standardized testing, has produced a massive demoralization of educators; an unprecedented exodus of experienced educators, who were replaced in many districts by young, inexperienced, low-wage teachers; the closure of many public schools, especially in poor and minority districts; the opening of thousands of privately managed charters; an increase in low-quality for-profit charter schools and low-quality online charter schools; a widespread attack on teachers’ due process rights and collective bargaining rights; the near-collapse of public education in urban districts like Detroit and Philadelphia, as public schools are replaced by privately managed charter schools; a burgeoning educational-industrial complex of testing corporations, charter chains, and technology companies that view public education as an emerging market. Hedge funds, entrepreneurs, and real estate investment corporations invest enthusiastically in this emerging market, encouraged by federal tax credits, lavish fees, and the prospect of huge profits from taxpayer dollars. Celebrities, tennis stars, basketball stars, and football stars are opening their own name-brand schools with public dollars, even though they know nothing about education.

No other nation in the world has inflicted so many changes or imposed so many mandates on its teachers and public schools as we have in the past dozen years. No other nation tests every student every year as we do. Our students are the most over-tested in the world. No other nation—at least no high-performing nation—judges the quality of teachers by the test scores of their students. Most researchers agree that this methodology is fundamentally flawed, that it is inaccurate, unreliable, and unstable, that the highest ratings will go to teachers with the most affluent students and the lowest ratings will go to teachers of English learners, teachers of students with disabilities, and teachers in high-poverty schools. Nonetheless, the U.S. Department of Education wants every state and every district to do it. Because of these federal programs, our schools have become obsessed with standardized testing, and have turned over to the testing corporations the responsibility for rating, ranking, and labeling our students, our teachers, and our schools.

The Pearson Corporation has become

Read the rest of this entry »

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