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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.

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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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Congressional Pay: Too Much, Too Little, or Just Right?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 7, 2014

Years ago, I said “build a Federal Barracks for members of Congress, and have them march to work.” I still think having modest Federal Housing for members of Congress is a good idea.

Regarding their level of pay/compensation, the article’s point – that D.C. is an expensive place to live – is well taken, and it is my considered opinion in light of that fact which gives further credence to the idea of modest Federal Housing for members of Congress. In fact, if their salaries were, by law, capped at twice the median American household income (which, according to the article is now approximately $51,000), it could be an even better idea.

And, the value of the housing they would receive from the Federal Government could also be be considered a type of income. Perhaps even they could be paid a Basic Allowance for Housing in a similar fashion to our military service members for such housing.¹ An apartment building complex would most likely be the best option for in-town accommodations, which could be convenient to their work location, and it could be jointly managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National Park Service.

However, with this present miasmatic congress, I hold out little hope for any such creative laws limiting congressional compensation, or introducing Federal Congressional Barracks/Housing to be introduced – though I believe it should be done, and is long overdue, along with Term Limitations. A total of 20 years elected federal service is long enough for anyone. Two terms in the Senate (12 years), and four terms in the House (8 years) should be enough for anyone, would reintroduce vibrancy into the process of national governance, and introduce more people to the process of elected public service.

Congressman’s Lament: $174,000 Isn’t Enough To Make Ends Meet

by Liz Halloran
April 04, 2014 3:05 PM ET

In what world does an annual salary of $174,000 meet the definition of underpaid?

That would be in the nation’s capital, where soon-to-be-retired Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., said Americans should know that their members of Congress — as the board of directors for the “largest economic entity in the world” — are underpaid.

The longtime congressman made his comments Thursday after the House voted for the sixth straight year to deny members an automatic cost-of-living raise they’re entitled to under law.

Not surprisingly, reaction to Moran’s assertion was Read the rest of this entry »

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South Carolina BBQ Restaurant Chain Refuses to Serve Blacks Claiming Religious Objection

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, July 4, 2014

SC Restaurant Owner Refuses To Serve Blacks, Cites Religious Beliefs

July 2, 2014
By Manny Schewitz

In South Carolina, a BBQ restaurant owner (Maurice’s Piggy Park BBQ) claimed that he was within his rights to refuse service to blacks based on his religious beliefs. In the case brought before the Supreme Court, Maurice Bessinger stated that his religion required him to keep black people from eating in his restaurant, although he was perfectly OK with taking their money, so long as they ordered their food to-go.

The attorney representing the petitioners suing Piggie Park also addressed in court the “First Amendment religious privilege claim that petitioner asserted that his religion required him” to deny service to black customers.

“I’m just a fair man. I want to be known as a hard-working, Christian man that loves God and wants to further (God’s) work throughout the world as I have been doing throughout the last 25 years.” (Source)

And now for you who actually took the time to read the story instead of basing your outrage solely off a headline before sharing with an ALL CAPS blurb of “SEE? I TOLD YOU THE SOUTH WAS FULL OF RACISTS!!!”, this case was Read the rest of this entry »

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More Hobby Lobby Store Hypocrisy: Investigation finds close ties to creepy resigned Southern minister sex molester

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, July 2, 2014

This just gets creepier and creepier.

In light of these recent revelations, perhaps the SCOTUS might want to vacate their decision.

http://www.motherjones.com/print/255256

Mother Jones

Hobby Lobby Funded Disgraced Fundamentalist Christian Leader Accused of Harassing Dozens of Women

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Here’s what the Hobby Lobby SCOTUS decision ~REALLY~ means

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 30, 2014

In essence, here’s what today’s SCOTUS ruling in the Hobby Lobby case means:

We’re good with Sharia Law as long as it’s for business purposes.

Think about that next time someone’s favorite religious nut job goes to court.

Because of extremist, right-wing religious radicals, women are again being relegated to second class citizens, WITHOUT full rights and being further  victimized by having access denied to birth control/oral contraceptives – i.e., Ortho Novum 777, progesterone, estrogens, etc. – NOT abortion.

Those medications also treat other diseases exclusive to women, including polycystic ovarian disease, endometriosis, amenorrhea/ dysmenorrhea, etc.

The question before the court was this:

“At issue here are regulations promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), which, as relevant here, requires specified employers’ group health plans to furnish “preventive care and screenings” for women without “any cost sharing requirements,” 42 U. S. C. §300gg–13(a)(4). Congress did not specify what types of preventive care must be covered; it authorized the Health Resources and Services Administration, a component of HHS, to decide.”

One’s private personal religious beliefs should never be on trial.

Yet now, because of extremist right-wing radicals, the door is now opened wide to mandate any employee of a “closely held” multi-national corporation, to FORCE them to adhere to THEIR religious beliefs… even when it jeopardizes their health.

Any well-read, well-studied Christian should be familiar with Read the rest of this entry »

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Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson visits Alabama and advocates teen brides

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 24, 2014

In a town infamous for it’s bigoted, inglorious racist history, and “dry” Oktoberfest, comes this not-so-unusual item.

The north-central Alabama town of Read the rest of this entry »

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Who Pays Unskilled Labor US $80,000/year?!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 22, 2014

“For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”
-1Tim5:18

Lately, much has been made of raising the Minimum Wage, which does nothing more than establish a minimum standard.

But who cares about minimums?

We should strive to exceed!

Some well-known, publicly-traded, highly profitable firms, however, revel in greed, and wallow in the slop, when they can do far better for the employees who operate their businesses.

The question is often asked “why pay unskilled workers $10 or even more per hour?”

It’s a valid question, and deserves a genuinely thoughtful response.

So, let’s pose that question to BIG OIL COMPANIES in Williston, North Dakota, where…

“oilfield companies pay unskilled 19 year-olds $80,000 a year.”

 

http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/mall-middle-what-used-be-nowhere

by Dan Weissmann
Monday, June 16, 2014 – 15:21

Williston, North Dakota, has the nation’s highest rents. Thanks to the fracking boom, a basic apartment in Williston costs more than something similar in New York or San Francisco. And it comes with a lot fewer amenities.

For instance, shopping. If Walmart doesn’t have it, the nearest outlet is at least two hours away. Now, a Swiss investment firm has announced plans to Read the rest of this entry »

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Pride and Prejudice: Things Alabama will never hear Governor Bentley say

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, June 13, 2014

For your benefit, here is a brief record of things any Alabama resident will never hear Alabama’s Republican Governor Robert J. Bentley, MD, say:

 

‘I was wrong, and I apologize; please forgive me.’

‘Even though I’m the Chief Executive Officer of the State of Alabama, the legislature and I haven’t accomplished everything for the people that we hoped to do.’

‘I accept full responsibility for the sexual crimes, atrocities, horrid conditions and deaths from neglect & violence in Alabama’s prisons.’

‘I have asked for the resignation of Mr. Kim T. Thomas, Esq. as Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections, whom I also appointed January 17, 2011.’

‘Even though out of all 50 states Alabama’s personal income tax structure is well-known, and highly documented to burden the most poverty-stricken, I have done nothing to correct, change or modify it.’

‘While increasingly, today’s jobs require a highly-educated and healthy workforce, I have done nothing to promote either.’

‘Even though I said “Nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of our citizens,” I have Read the rest of this entry »

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Why did Parker Griffith vote AGAINST the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, June 6, 2014

English: , member of the United States House o...

Official portrait, Parker Griffith, MD as freshman member of the United States House of Representatives, Alabama 5th Congressional District.

53rd Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Jr., MD - campaign photograph

Campaign photograph – 53rd Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Jr., MD

As a politician, Parker Griffith has been described as “maverick.”

To describe it diplomatically, he has been “somewhat unpredictable.”

To be blunt, he’s a loose cannon.

His most recent political aspiration includes 2014 candidacy for Alabama governor under the Democratic ticket, challenging first term Republican Robert Bentley (described as “wildly popular”), whom is similarly a retired physician, and former Alabama State House Representative from Tuscaloosa, whom has publicly announced his opinion that he will be re-elected during a tour of Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, where sexual assaults, and abuses of innumerable kind have become so rampantly commonplace that Alabama’s prison system is verging upon federal takeover.

It was during his tour of that prison that “Our kindly country doctor governor toured Tutwiler in early March and quietly said, “we are probably going to have to build some new prisons in my second term.””

Griffith’s greatest obstacle is his past. More specifically, the greatest mountain he must conquer is his decision to switch parties (from Democrat to Republican) while in his first term in Congress, which abruptly ended his political aspirations.

The nightmare of his actions still haunts Alabama voters, many whom have not forgotten – including those in his hometown, Huntsville & Madison County. Like the ghastly spectre in Charles Dickens’ classic fiction “A Christmas Carol,” Parker Griffith must come face-to-face with the Ghost of Election Past, and Bentley with the Ghost of Alabama Yet to Come.

And in this real-life play, Bob Cratchit is played by the people, while 18.1% of the state’s population (the state poverty rate) are cast as the sickly child, Tiny Tim. They and others are the ones whom are denied by the Scrooge, played by Governor Bentley and Republican-dominated state legislature.

In reality, Griffith and Bentley play dual roles in this real-life political /social /medical /economic drama.

Charles Dickens circa 1850: he ‘kept on going by taking on too much’. Photograph: Herbert Watkins

Is there salvation for Griffith?

Will Bentley expand Medicaid?

Can anyone really help the citizens of Alabama?

Tune in next time! when we hear _?_ say…

Griffith’s last foray into politics – as Representative for Alabama’s 5th Congressional District – did not bode well, for after the first full year of a two-year term, he announced he was changing political party affiliation, for which he was resoundingly criticized at home by his constituency, in the press for his actions, and then subsequently resoundingly defeated by GOP challenger “Mo” Brooks in the 2010 Republican primary.

When he represented Alabama’s 5th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, Parker Griffith voted against Read the rest of this entry »

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Cry Me A River

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Oh, PLEASE!!!

“The response claims that it would cost Sterling $300 million to $500 million in capital gains taxes if he is forced to sell now rather than pass the team to his heirs.”

According to Forbes magazine, Donald Sterling has a net worth of US$ 2BILLION, and the Value of the Los Angeles Clippers team, Read the rest of this entry »

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Secession: We Fought A War Over This

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 22, 2014

Secessionist billboard campaign by League of the South, as seen in Montgomery, Alabama

Secessionist billboard campaign by League of the South, as seen in Montgomery, Alabama

Hate, or Heritage?

Recent news reports indicate that a billboard campaign through Lamar Advertising by League of the South in the Southeastern United States of Florida, Alabama and Georgia, has met with opposition. The billboards prominently displayed one word – SECEDE – which almost completely filled the area, listed their group name, and a URL. The campaign billboard locations were in Montgomery, Alabama, Tallahassee, Florida with another one planned for Atlanta, Georgia in the summer. More specifically, League of the South and their 15,000 members have been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “a neo-Confederate group that advocates for a second Southern secession and a society dominated by “European Americans,” and since 2000, “the SPLC began listing the league as a hate group.”

Michael Hill, President, League of the South, a racist white supremacist neo-Confederate group headquartered in Killen, Alabama

Dr. J. Michael Hill, PhD, President, League of the South, a racist white supremacist neo-Confederate group headquartered in Killen, Alabama

It is a description to which Read the rest of this entry »

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Why the LGBT community should support Shirey Ice Cream in Florence, Alabama

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Edwin Markham, American poet,

Edwin Markham, American poet

Outwitted

He drew a circle that shut me out–

Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout.

But Love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle that took him in!

by Edwin Markham, April 23, 1852 – March 7, 1940

That brief poem, or epigram, by Edwin Markham summarizes succinctly the idea upon which I will expound in this entry.

In the past several days, it came to light that a Shoals area Alabama entrepreneur, Garrett Shirey – who, with his brothers Reese & Austin, are founders and co-owners of Shirey Ice Cream in the northwest Alabama town of Florence, population 39,447 – had Tweeted at least two uncharacteristic and very unbecoming messages. The specific dates and times they were made, and the content can be seen in the screen shot images of the Tweets, both which appear later in this entry.

First, some background.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Common Core Textbooks: Who Calls the Shots?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 5, 2014

Alabama continues to be the butt of every joke – from the psuedo state motto “Thank God for Mississippi,” to those which are more biting – every laughingstock must have its basis in truth.

And the truth is undeniable.

Alabama consistently ranks below practically every marker for achievement, success, well-being and health.

Alabama has been on the wrong side of history, which for many, dates back to the days of the Civil War… which ended in 1865.

One could hardly imagine that an event settled nearly 150 years ago would motivate so many to such an extent that they would behave so vociferously, so negatively so vehemently and violently. And yet…

To be certain, Alabama has wonderful people – people who are kindhearted, generous to a fault, loving, diligent, creative, honest, conscientious, forthright, compassionate, intelligent, and more. And yet, for all those positive character qualities, there is always at least one bad apple that spoils the whole bunch, that sours the deal, that gives the entire state a black eye. Such is the case with those naysayers whom oppose Common Core educational standards.

There are people who, when faced with evidence, continue to choose to believe a lie. For example, there is a “Flat Earth Society,” whose members state that their purpose (according to their website) is to establish “… a place for free thinkers and the intellectual exchange of ideas.” “Free thinking” and “intellectual exchange” must acknowledge the truth of facts. And the fact is, that Earth is NOT flat. Any assertion contrariwise is so preposterously absurd that is it is not merely asinine, it is psychotically deranged to so believe.

Such problems of belief contrary to the truth are among those which face Alabamians. From a scientific, factually valid perspective, a belief is an idea held to be true, even though there may be insignificant or no evidence to support the idea held to be true, or the outcomes which would naturally emerge from the same. From there, it’s a short step to conspiracy thinking, Area 51 space aliens and the loony bins that still walk among us. But those lunatic fringe elements exist in every state, not exclusively in Alabama.

Nevertheless, former Alabama Governor Bob Riley has again written of his support for the attainment of educational excellence in state public schools, his first OpEd – Why I Support Common Core Standards – having been published in the conservative digest National Review.

 

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RILEY: The truth about Common Core textbooks

In Alabama, final selections are made locally

By Bob Riley
Friday, May 2, 2014
Just about everyone is familiar with the old idiom “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” It’s a valuable metaphor, but as it turns out, it’s also very useful literal advice as it relates to the growing public policy debate over Core State Education Standards.

My wife Patsy and I are very lucky to have all our children and grandchildren living close to us. We love being part of their daily lives and watching our children raise families of their own.

A fifth-grade teacher helps students at Silver Lake Elementary School in Middletown, Delaware (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) Photo **FILE**

A fifth-grade teacher helps students at Silver Lake Elementary School in Middletown, Delaware (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) Photo **FILE**

A few weeks ago, one of our daughters shared with me a textbook belonging to her son, a public school student in Homewood, a suburb of Birmingham, Ala. Something on the cover of my fourth-grade grandson’s textbook alarmed her, and after she showed it to me, it triggered an investigative instinct in me as well. On the cover, in bright red letters, unmistakable, were the words “Common Core State Standards.”

“If you want to know why so many people do not like Common Core, there it is,” said my daughter. Parents are under the impression that a central, national entity is dictating what our children read and learn, she continued, and every time a parent disagrees with the subject matter or struggles with a new method of math, we do not have to look far to find where to place the blame.

Then she asked me: “If there is no required reading list, no required curriculum for Common Core, why are these books labeled as belonging to and adhering to Common Core?”

Quite frankly, I did not know the answer. I was certain that no single organization in Washington D.C. or elsewhere dictates what children in the Homewood public schools read. I could not explain, though, why my grandson’s textbook made it appear that such a group does in fact exist.

I did what I always do when I don’t know the answer to something — I ask someone who does know.

Betty Winches is the assistant superintendent of instruction for Homewood City Schools, a top-rated public school system, and for years I have known her to be a world-class educator and academic leader in the schools. So I asked her the same question that my daughter asked me: “If there is no Common Core reading list or curriculum, why are the textbooks in Homewood’s schools labeled “Common Core?”

The answer, as Betty explained to me, is Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Teen Pleads Guilty to Racist High School Bomb Threat

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 2, 2014

How did all this unfold?

A teacher found a notebook left behind by the teen, in which he had written a detailed plot for bombing the school, and named students who he would kill.

“… apparently, not one faculty member or administrator at the racially mixed school intervened in the blatantly racist behavior until early January, when a teacher found one of Shrout’s notebooks left behind in a classroom. In it, the teacher discovered detailed plans for mass murder.

“Shrout allegedly named and targeted five black students and a black teacher for serious harm in a series of bomb attacks, using improvised hand grenades that authorities say he was assembling in his military family’s home. A white classmate, who Shrout suspected of being gay, was also on the alleged hit list.

“The authorities were alerted to the journal and Shrout was arrested and charged with felony attempted assault. “By his own admission, he is a white supremacist, but we haven’t been able to link him to any specific organization or any organization to him,” Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor told the Intelligence Report in an interview about Shrout and his plans, which Shrout had “obviously put a lot of thought into.”

“When sheriff’s investigators searched the teenager’s home they discovered a couple of dozen small tobacco cans and two larger metal containers marked “Fat Boy” and “Little Man.” The names are apparent references to the code names “Fat Man” and “Little Boy” used for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan by the United States during World War II. All of the containers were filled with pellets and had holes drilled in them. Sheriff Taylor said other ingredients needed to complete the devices, such as black powder and fuses, were not found. Read the rest of this entry »

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Right Wing Nuts in Amurka: Cliven Bundy speaks… GOP retreats.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, April 24, 2014

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro…”

Hey, hey, hey!

The GOP’s “Big Tent” has let in all sorts of krazees and they like it, they love it, and want more of it.

Not sure why they run away from the nutzos they attract.

After all, shit draws flies.

That’s just great!

Here’s to the GOP’s Radical Right Wing pseudo-Libtardtarians modern-day Wild, Wild West American hero… Cliven Bundy.

Yeah.

It’s not difficult to imagine a bunch of rabble-rousing, gun-toting freaks on horseback out in the Desert Southwest of Nevada saying stupid things like that. Dehydration will do strange things like that to a man.

Just in the case you’re not aware of the news, Cliven Bundy is a “rancher” in Nevada who has, to this point, defied several federal judge’s orders as far back as 1990, called together his misfit band of brothers in civilian arms to support his efforts to continue defrauding “we the people” of the United States government.

To wit, he has admitted owing over $300,000 in arrears of grazing fees – established by then-President Ronald Reagan – to the Bureau of Land Management, and against court order continues to allow his cattle free range forage on federal land, without paying for the privilege. In other words, he had admitted he is a thief.

***

A Defiant Rancher Savors the Audience That Rallied to His Side

By
APRIL 23, 2014

BUNKERVILLE, Nev. — Cliven Bundy stood by the Virgin River up the road from the armed checkpoint at the driveway of his ranch, signing autographs and posing for pictures. For 55 minutes, Mr. Bundy held forth to a clutch of supporters about his views on the troubled state of America — the overreaching federal government, the harassment of Western ranchers, the societal upheaval caused by abortion, even musing about whether slavery was so bad.

Bundy Rancher

Bundy speaks as Sympathizers & armed White Supremacists surround him – (Cliven Bundy, flanked by supporters, has become a celebrity, drawing hundreds of sympathizers. Credit John Locher/Las Vegas Review-Journal, via Associated Press)

Most of all, Mr. Bundy, 67, who was Read the rest of this entry »

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Perspective – By the Numbers: How has Job Loss under Governor Bentley & the GOP affected Alabama?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 14, 2014

It’s easy to talk about “the jobs situation” in Alabama. It’s especially easier to talk about it when it doesn’t affect you… directly. It’s like armchair quarterbacking.

There’s probably much truth to the statement that Alabama’s legislators aren’t directly affected by job loss in the state. They have jobs. As musician Steve Miller sang in his song “Take the Money and Run,” they make their “living off other people’s taxes.” That goes for Republicans AND Democrats. Such an observation, of course, is not to demean those who do “make their living off other people’s taxes,” because our military, public safety and others vital to our local, state and national well-being are among them. It is however, an acknowledgment of, and call to responsibility – not merely accountability – because accountability is the only remnant once responsibility has departed. And that is how the “Blame Game” is played.

In the previous entry entitled “Analysis – Examining the Record: Is Alabama Governor Bentley a “Jobs Creator” or a Drag on the State Economy?,” we looked at facts & figures about job loss & job creation during Governor Bentley’s administration.

In this entry, we examine some details on the extent of the damage done to families & individuals under his administration.

And so, let’s again refer to some previously-mentioned facts & figures, and introduce some new ones so that we can better understand the nature, scope and and extent of the situation, and corresponding problems Read the rest of this entry »

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Historical Audio: Reagan supported increased wages & labor protection

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 11, 2014

Seems as if everything old is news again.

Of course, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

GOP Panics As Audio Emerges Proving Their Hero Reagan Would Oppose Current GOP Policies

Author: April 9, 2014 6:49 pm

A 1948 audio recording of Ronald Reagan shows that he would have opposed the GOP’s policies today. In fact, if the GOP actually knew anything about Reagan’s history, they’d wonder how he even ended up in the party to begin with. The right-wing lunatic fringe runs today’s GOP. Back when this recording was made, Ronald Reagan sounded far more like one of today’s liberal Democrats than a Republican. The difference is astonishing.

Ronald Reagan on the 1946 GOP’s plan to increase people’s real incomes:

“The profits of corporations have doubled, while workers’ wages have increased by only one quarter. In other words, profits have gone up four times as much as wages. And the small increase workers did receive was eaten up by rising prices, which also bored into their savings.”

Gee, that sounds an awful lot like what’s happening now. Soaring corporate profits should mean that workers’ wages go up, also. Instead, more people than ever live paycheck to paycheck, and fewer have any savings to speak of, let alone enough to pay six months of living expenses in case of an emergency. But the stock market has reached record highs several times. So everything’s cool, at least as far as the GOP is concerned.

Ronald Reagan on the “free market” and rising prices:

“High prices have not been caused by higher wages, but by bigger and bigger profits. The Republican promises sounded pretty good in 1946. But what has happened since then? Since the 80th Congress took over? Prices have climbed to the highest level in history, although the death of the OPA was supposed to bring prices down through ‘the natural process of free competition.’”

So, even back then, the Republican ideal of the free market didn’t work the way they insisted, and Ronald Reagan could see that. These days, they still want the government to stay out. They want competition to work for lowering prices and creating jobs. However, the so-called “free market” that they want tends toward monopolies and/or price collusion, which both drive prices up. These two situations prevent new businesses from entering the market to compete, and hurt consumers and workers, while driving profits sky-high.

Ronald Reagan on working Americans: Read the rest of this entry »

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Butter really IS better!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How Food Marketers Made Butter the Enemy

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 3:00 AM PDT

James McWilliams—a historian who has made a name for himself in prestigious publications like the New York Times and The Atlantic for his contrarian defenses of the food industry—is back at it. In an item published last week in the excellent Pacific Standard, McWilliams uses the controversy over a recent study of saturated fat as a club with which to pummel food industry critics like the Times‘ Mark Bittman.

Here’s what happened: A group including Harvard and Cambridge researchers analyzed 72 studies and concluded that there’s no clear evidence that ditching saturated fat (the kind found mainly in butter, eggs, and meat) for the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated kind (found in fish and a variety of vegetable oils) delivers health benefits.

Bittman responded to the study’s release with Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s all about the money… says Hobby Lobby Store Lawyer Paul D. Clement to SCOTUS.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 28, 2014

Here, all along, we’ve been made to believe that Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. – a privately held firm headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which boasts themselves “as a major private corporation in Forbes and Fortunes list of America‘s largest private companies,” – objects on religious grounds (even though their owners are Protestant) to providing insurance coverage to their employees, which insurance includes coverage for female contraceptives.

Here is their attorney – Paul D. Clement, himself the 43d former Solicitor General of the United States – arguing their case:

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
Docket Number: 13-354
Date Argued: 03/25/14 Read the rest of this entry »

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Could Climate Change help the Global Economy?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Raise a Glass of Scottish Wine to Global Climate Changes

By Rudy Ruitenberg Mar 25, 2014 11:00 PM CT

Thanks to climate change, Christopher Trotter will make history later this year by pairing a Scottish white wine with the local spoots.

The razor clams harvested from the nearby shores of the North Sea will go down nicely with the first bottles from Trotter’s vineyard north of Edinburgh. The 2014 vintage will be special for Scotland, where Highlanders have distilled whisky and brewed ale for centuries.

“Scotland has probably been more of a beer-drinking nation than anything else,” said Trotter, a chef and food writer. Wine hasn’t been part of the culture, he said, “until now.”

Chris Trotter, Scottish Chef & Vintner, stands in his vineyard

Christopher Trotter, Scottish Chef, Vintner and food writer, stands in his vineyard in Fife, Scotland
- Source: Christopher Trotter via Bloomberg

Trotter might as well pour a splash on the ground in memory of a vanishing world. Climate change, which scientists say is caused by heat-trapping gas accumulating in the atmosphere, is transforming dinner tables and scrambling traditions in the $270 billion global wine industry. In Europe, warmer seasons are chasing Italian and Spanish vintners up hillsides, making a winner of Germany, encouraging growers in Poland and spreading the cultivation of wine grapes to latitudes friendlier to belly-warming whiskies and ales. And it’s raising the alcohol content, and altering the flavors, of famous wines in France.

Vitis vinifera, the common grape vine, is a finicky crop. Vineyards flourish where average annual temperatures range from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit). Too much dry weather, hail or too much rain can downgrade or wreck a vintage.

“Scotland has probably been more of a beer-drinking nation than anything else,” said Trotter, a chef and food writer. Wine hasn’t been part of the culture, he said, “until now.”

Trotter might as well pour a splash on the ground in memory of a vanishing world. Climate change, which scientists say is caused by heat-trapping gas accumulating in the atmosphere, is transforming dinner tables and scrambling traditions in the $270 billion global wine industry. In Europe, warmer seasons are chasing Italian and Spanish vintners up hillsides, making a winner of Germany, encouraging growers in Poland and spreading the cultivation of wine grapes to latitudes friendlier to belly-warming whiskies and ales. And it’s raising the alcohol content, and altering the flavors, of famous wines in France.

Vitis vinifera, the common grape vine, is a finicky crop. Vineyards flourish where average annual temperatures range from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit). Too much dry weather, hail or too much rain can downgrade or wreck a vintage.

Fine Wine

“Wine is very responsive to climatic factors,” said Karl Storchmann, a professor of economics at New York University and managing editor of the Journal of Wine Economics. “This is especially true for fine wine, when weather-induced vintage-to-vintage price variations can exceed 1,000 percent.”

Over centuries, growers in the top producing countries — France, Italy and Spain — selected grape varieties that now account for 75 percent of the world’s wine plantings, according to a database prepared by the University of Adelaide in Australia.

Read the rest of this entry »

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