Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘education’

How Has the GOP Improved Alabama Quality of Life?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, August 31, 2018

In almost every measure of the quality of life, Alabama comes up short. Seriously short. Or, to couch it in somewhat Biblical terms (which most Alabamians of any political or religious stripe would understand… and, which most any reasonably well-read person would as well), “You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.” ref: Daniel 5:27 (NIV)

This is not a Republican thing, per se, nor is it a Democratic thing. It is an ongoing statement of the poor quality of of almost EVERYTHING in Alabama. The root of most every problem plaguing Alabamians lies with the state’s 1901 Constitution which, among other things, FORBIDS local self-governance known as Home Rule – the basic principle upon which our democratic republic was founded – which is that EVERY person has a voice, a vote, and a say-so in how things are run from the grass-roots level, and that all are equal under the law, which is no discriminator of persons.

That is in large part why on almost every statewide ballot there are questions pertaining to counties or cities, and why the entire state must vote on what people in the opposite sides of the state do, and why they have a say-so in other towns and cities governance. Think of it as allowing your nosy neighbors a say in how you do things in your house.

Yeah, I know… weird, isn’t it? Maybe “stupid” would be another, better, or more accurate choice of words.

In Montgomery, when the part-time Legislature with full-time pay convenes (total compensation for legislators approximates $50,000/year), they are constitutionally required and mandated to legislate local matters, because the constitution literally FORBIDS local people from making local decisions.

The legislature is further hamstrung, and the people are thereby harmed, by the inordinately short period of time to which they are similarly constitutionally constrained to meet – 30 meeting days in a  105 calendar day period. Who could get ANYTHING done for 4.8 million people in such a short period of time? Seriously… WHO?

Consider public corruption as an example of how problematic the 1901 Alabama State Constitution truly is. Most recently, the GOP-dominated Legislature, Governor’s office, individual legislators (predominately GOP), and other ancillary agencies (Alabama State Troopers/Department of Public Safety, later known as ALEA, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, etc.) were involved in corruption scandals, the likes of which the state hasn’t seen in, like… FOREVER! Seriously. The extent and degree of severity of corruption which has recently plagued Alabama is unparalleled.

Once the GOP-dominated Legislature was in power, they promptly set about improving the practically toothless Ethics Laws which many of them promised to change, if elected. Ordinarily, that’d be a good thing. Mike Hubbard became Speaker of the House, and the state’s top executive branch offices – Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Auditor, State Treasurer, and Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries – were all filled by Republicans.

Now, here’s where the problems begin.

All THREE branches of government – the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial – were touched by serious corruption. As a natural consequence, the people’s business was impeded and damaged, which also wasted the taxpayers time, money and resources to investigate and prosecute.

But perhaps the MOST costly price paid was continued damage to the state’s already tarnished image in the public eye, nationally and internationally… as if it could get any worse.

Governor Robert Bentley was the subject of Federal and State investigations over whether he misused public funds, and violated campaign finance law to further his extra-marital involvement with a female aide. Corollary to that, he was also facing impeachment… the first ever Alabama governor to face such serious public scrutiny and reprisal.

The Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and other legislators were facing investigations and indictments by the Attorney General for possible violations of ethics laws, and other related laws. Named as witnesses were many well-known, high-powered big business lobbyists, and their clients.

The State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was facing a SECOND investigation in his second elected term over his refusal to obey and uphold Federal Law, and a Federal Judge’s court order to obey the law, which meant he could face public trial by the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission (his peers), and a SECOND possible expulsion from the bench.

The Governor accepted a plea deal to two lesser misdemeanors, resigned from office, repaid monies, performed community service, and promised to never again hold public office.

The Chief Justice was found guilty and removed from the bench – a SECOND time.

The Speaker of the House and other legislators were all found GUILTY of violating the very Ethics Laws they passed – which were all felony violations.

As well, over a dozen current legislators and others (high-powered attorneys, former legislators, lobbyists, business owners, etc.) are STILL being found GUILTY of, or pleading GUILTY to violating Federal and/or state law, including bribery, mail fraud, Medicare fraud, misuse of public office, and various other forms of abuse of public trust.

And then, there’s the sheriff from Etowah County, Todd Entrekin, who was found to have LEGALLY redirected funds which were to have been used for feeding inmates (three-quarters of a million dollars), to his own personal use, to, with his wife Karen, purchase a luxurious beachfront house on the Gulf Coast.

All but one of those identified are Republicans.

But again, this is not an “Us versus Them” or “Republican versus Democrat” problem. It’s a corruption problem, the predominate root of which lies with the 1901 Alabama State Constitution. Consequently, the entire state suffers.

Harvard University’s Center for Ethics researched Legal and Illegal corruption in all 50 states three branches of government, and found Alabama wanting by most measures.

Of course, it neither helps that Alabama has a continuous and ongoing history of voting for one party, or the other – so that there’s rarely if ever a mix of parties in power. It’s quite literally, a bipolar type of operation, which goes from one extreme, to the other.

Alabama has had SIX constitutions, and the one under which it now labors is not even the best of the five which preceded it.

The state’s present constitution – the 1901 Constitution – has well over 900 amendments. That one thing alone makes it the most bloated and inefficient of any such type of governing document in the entire world – hands down, bar none.

The Dictionary of Alabama says this about Alabama’s 1901 Constitutional Convention:
“Called primarily to establish White supremacy by disfranchising Blacks, the Constitutional Convention of 1901 continues to shape Alabama politics in the twenty-first century. The convention also concentrated power in the state legislature, decreased opportunities for Home Rule, and established voter requirements that even many White men could not meet, reducing the political influence of the state’s many poor Whites. The 155 delegates to the Alabama Constitutional Convention of 1901 codified Black disfranchisement and increased the political power of the state legislature at the expense of local government.”

So when combined with the fact that it STILL contains racist language, and provisions which have been Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump: Who Voted For, And Supports Him?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 21, 2018

Formerly titled, “With Trump WYSIWYG: Who Voted For, And Supports Him?”

African leopard, Panthera pardus pardus, near Lake Panic, Kruger National Park, South Africa, 31 December 2013
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0), Derek Keats, https://www.flickr.com/photos/93242958@N00/19448654130M

One either loves, or loathes, Donald Trump.

One does not simply “tolerate” him.

He is a divisive political figure.

He is starkly contrasted to former POTUS George W. Bush, who in a May 6, 1999 interview with David Horowitz of Salon magazine, famously said, “I’m a uniter, not a divider.”

Trump is a divider, not a uniter.

For Trump, e pluribus unum means nothing, even though we are the United States of America.

And for those who voted for him thinking he’d change, that he was merely spouting hollow campaign rhetoric, they might as well have asked a leopard to change it’s spots.

With Trump, WYSIWYG.

Specifically, I mean to refer to him in his executive Presidential capacity.

And yet, strangely enough, he has coalesced support from diverse, divergent sub-groups within, and without the GOP. The importance of that feat cannot, and should not be underestimated, glossed over, or minimized, because understanding it is key to political success, especially for Read the rest of this entry »

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What Motivates #RoyMoore Supporters?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, December 5, 2017

I have asked many Roy Moore supporters why they support him.

As far as I can tell, their single unifying thread is that they seem to believe in, and surreptitiously advocate for some type of “theocratic” type government. And as far I can discern, or have observed, many Moore supporters, lack higher education, can neither think logically nor critically, and attempt to Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Will Not Progress Until #ALpolitics Has A New #Constitution

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 29, 2017

In her gubernatorial campaign bid, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb has a new ad referencing the state’s fouled budgeting, in an ostensibly humorous manner, citing repeated “borrowing” from the Educational Trust Fund as culprit.

Sue Bell Cobb’s new campaign video:

However… the ROOT of the EXCEEDING MAJORITY of the state’s problems lie with its bloated and unwieldy 1901 Constitution (now with 900+ amendments and counting, making it the world’s LONGEST, bar none), which in part FORBIDS “Home Rule,” which is the legal authority of local governments, i.e., counties and cities, to self-govern, and instead FORCES state legislators to micro-manage cities and counties, wasting precious time on exclusively local matters, rather than effectively steering the ship of state. If you’ve ever wondered why Read the rest of this entry »

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All Work Has Dignity -and- The Laborer Is Worthy Of Their Hire

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 23, 2017

A long-time & dear friend recently shared this thought: “If you’re going to say something about people lacking career aspirations, make sure you’ve created opportunities for advancement and not merely encouraged people to work from Engineer II to Engineer III.”

My thoughts follow:

While I am in an ethnographic & demographic majority, I am simultaneously in an educational & professional minority. However, for as long as I can remember, I have NEVER ceased advocating for educational attainment, either through Vocational Education – and that word, “vocation,” is one we have improperly derided, though it has ALWAYS had greatly esteemed meaning. So let us instead, use the OUTSTANDING and more descriptive term “Trades.”

Now… I have NEVER ceased advocating for educational attainment, INCLUDING Trades!

ALL work has dignity! And “the laborer is worthy of their hire.” And that is PRECISELY what those who purport to promote employment do NOT do by deriding & belittling Read the rest of this entry »

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Pass The torch With Loving Attention

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 6, 2017

Among the short list of most influential people in your life surely there is a teacher or two, most likely from your early years of education. Blessed Marie Rose Durocher, who founded an order in Quebec with a strong teaching ministry, was herself deeply influenced by those who taught her along the way. Her first teacher, in fact, was Read the rest of this entry »

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Build On A Loving Foundation

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, September 16, 2017

The third-century life of Saint Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, might have given rise to the comedy tag line: “It’s always something,” but his troubles and those of the church were anything but funny. If it wasn’t a heresy, it was bitter controversy over whether someone who had renounced the faith might be reconciled with the church; or it was exile, or the plague, or schism. Cyprian’s response was always generosity. During a terrible plague, for example, he Read the rest of this entry »

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Shed Some Light On The World

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Saint John Chrysostom (349-407), the archbishop of Constantinople from 398 to his death in 407, often reminded his subjects to offer prayers universally—that is, to pray for everybody in the whole world. “For [Jesus Christ] did not say ‘thy will be done in me or in us,’ but ‘on earth,’ the whole earth,” he wrote. Because of Read the rest of this entry »

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The Power Within

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Pity the poor substitute teacher who feels insecure. When a nervous sub enters a classroom the students will sense it, and chaos is likely to break out. On the other hand, pity the students when a teacher is authoritarian, lording it over them just because he or she can. What students are looking for is someone with true authority, whose authority comes from an inner certainty rather than Read the rest of this entry »

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A Common Calling To Care

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, August 25, 2017

St. Louis King of France with a Page, El Greco

 Two men quite unlike each other, both saints, and both revered for similar reasons: Their concrete love for the poor. In the mid-13th century, Saint Louis (1214–1270) embraced the way of Saint Francis of Assisi and cared for the poor even as King Louis IX of France. It is said that Louis had over 100 guests from among the poor to eat with him daily. He also established hospitals and houses of healing for lepers and the sick. Saint Joseph Calasanz (1557–1648) in the mid-16th century saw that the need to educate poor children was so important that he gave up a career in Read the rest of this entry »

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Mary & Martha Shake Hands

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The contest between action and contemplation in the spiritual life is an old one. Just think “Martha & Mary” and you get the picture. Saint Dominic (1170-1221) had the advantage of an early experience with contemplative life to shape his sense that the two impulses should be combined. When he founded his Order of Preachers, the idea was to Read the rest of this entry »

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Charter Schools Hoodwinking Hypocrisy 

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, August 6, 2017

Mark Weber, who blogs as “Jersey Jazzman,” is earning his Doctorate in Research and Statistics while teaching in a New Jersey public school. He is a sharp critic of shoddy research, especially of charter schools’ fantastical claims.

In his latest post, he asks why CREDO, the charter-evaluating institute at Stanford University run by Macke Raymond, continues to use an invalid metric – one which has never been scientifically sound – to evaluate charter schools’ performance.

Journalists, who have little expertise in evaluating research claims, eagerly, though ignorantly, promote such unsound claims by writing things like School X produces an additional “number of days of learning.”

That happened most recently in Texas, where charter schools finally matched the test scores of public schools – aka so-called “failing schools” for which charter schools are supposed to be the rescuers.

Continue learning…
http://wp.me/p2odLa-hSK

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You CAN!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 24, 2017

My late father, who grew up in abject poverty in rural West Alabama in Lamar County, escaped poverty by serving in the Navy during the Korean War. Daddy said he asked his father – who had at most, a 3rd Grade education, and who, like him was well-acquainted with the backside of a mule and a plough – if he thought it would be a good idea for him to join the Navy. Daddy said that his father replied, “I think it’s a good idea. Maybe you won’t have to work as hard as I have.”

Daddy completed High School, which was almost an unheard-of thing for many in that era, especially in that location, and then went to Navy Boot Camp at San Diego, which is now San Diego Naval Air Station, where he experienced culture shock. Though he never identified it as such, his stories to me about his time there clearly indicate it was.

The idiomatic phrase “everything but the squeal” was a very real thing for him. That phrase means Read the rest of this entry »

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Southerners Still Want Segregated Schools Because Hatred Runs Deep In The South

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Following is an excerpt to a soul-searching article about the resegregation of schools in the South. 

After the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, racial discrimination was prohibited in any federally funded program. But in 1964, there was very limited federal aid to schools. However, in 1965, Congress passed the Elementary and Zsecondary Education Act, and there was quite a lot of federal money for schools that enrolled poor children. The Office of Education in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare took the Brown decision seriously. Top officials in the Lyndon B. Johnson told Southern districts that they would lose federal funding unless they presented real data on the racial distribution of students and faculty. 

So did the federal courts. Southern districts, governors, and legislators offered “school choice” proposals. They were a farce. Federal officials rejected them. Federal courts rejected them. 

Within ten years after the passage of ESEA, the South had more integrated public schools than any other region. 

But then the great rollback began. With more conservative justices on the federal courts, the zeal to follow through on the promise of the Brown decision faded. The Department of Education, created in 1980, never had the energy and focus of the LBJ officials. 

The authors of this article write:

“As we continue our “anti-dumbass” campaign to champion and improve Southern public schools for all students, we maintain our focus on the influence poverty, race, and racism continue to play in schools. Within the current political and cultural climate, there looms a growing sense of separation, where private interests replace democratic interests and the rich and powerful profit while the poor and underserved continue to struggle. You might think we were living in the 1930s or 1940s. This is, however, 2017, and the resegregation of public schools is increasing at an alarming rate. 

“As parents and proud Southerners we constantly ask ourselves, Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Republican Legislator’s Bill Would Put State In Pornography Business

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 7, 2017

Republican Jack Williams represents Alabama House District 47 (Hoover and Vestavia Hills) in the Alabama House of Representatives, and is Chair of the Commerce and Small Business Committee.

Alabama Republican Legislator’s Bill Would Put State In Pornography Business

Jack Williams, a Republican Representative from Vestavia Hills, who represents portions of Jefferson county in Alabama House District 47 has filed HB 428 which would “prohibit the sale of a device that provides Internet access unless the device contains an active filter that blocks access to specified types of obscene material.”

Sounds good, right?

Of course, there are plenty of off-the-shelf subscription services to which anyone can subscribe which blocks such material. And some Internet browsers have such detection systems built-in. It’s not always perfect, and when Super Bowl XXX was played in 1995, it inadvertently created some problems because the Roman numeral X was displayed in triplicate, as if it were associated with some type of pornographic exhibition, and most porn-blocking software blocked the Super Bowl website, and news articles which mentioned “Super Bowl XXX.” That was in the “early days” of the Internet and filtering. Now, Google, and other Internet search engines have made milestones in filtering out objectionable, sexually explicit, and illegal material.

No parent wants their children subjected to such material, and every adult has the right to decide whether they want to view erotic or sexually explicit material, or not. After all, that’s what freedom means… the opportunity to make a decision, even if your neighbor doesn’t like your decision, or vice versa.

But no child should be subjected to exposure to pornography. And no rational adult would even consider doing such a thing, regardless of their personal opinion about erotica, or not. That’s a good parenting decision which rightfully belongs to parents, not the government, because no one wants the government telling them how they should raise their kids… especially in Alabama. And yet, that’s exactly what Vestavia Hills Republican Representative Jack Williams’ HB 428 does.

Federal laws protect those who decide to become involved in the production of sexually explicit material, and requires proof-positive identification of all participants being aged 18, or older, at the time of production – and has, for many, many years. In fact, Congress enacted the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1988 after it was discovered Read the rest of this entry »

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In Response to John Goodwin’s FaceBook Post

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 5, 2016

A man named John Goodwin made a public post on FaceBook, which also included a link to an OpEd published in the Washington Post on November 9, 2016, which was written by Charles Camosy (PhD, University of Notre Dame), and entitled “Trump won because college-educated Americans are out of touch.” Dr. Camosy is an Associate Professor of Theological and Social Ethics at Fordham University, and the author of a book entitled “Beyond the Abortion Wars: A Way Forward for A New Generation.”

Mr. Goodwin’s FaceBook profile is sufficiently ambiguous of himself, though in his public post which is time & date-stamped 9:45AM, November 10, 2016, and ostensibly geolocated from Washington, D.C., he wrote of himself that, “I haven’t posted about the election mostly because 1) I do this for a living and most of you don’t,” which would lead one to suppose that at some level, he works in or with public policy, or more likely, with politicians.

I do not.

However, suffice it to say, that for many, many, many years, I have remained immensely interested in public policy, though I do not now, nor have I ever made my living from it, or influencing, or attempting to influence others in elected office.

In other words, I have taken the high road.

Mr. Goodwin’s public post to FaceBook is linked herein, as is the article upon which he expounded.

https://www.facebook.com/goody37/posts/10154328123133884

In order to fully understand the matter of discussion herein, I encourage the reader to fully read this item following herein, as well as Mr. Goodwin’s post, and the OpEd upon which he opined

I have responded to Mr. Goodwin’s post as follows:
His words appear italicized, and in “quotation marks.”
My commentary follows immediately after.

“…not everyone lives in big cities.”
• That is correct. The United States Census Bureau says that 80.7% of American reside in urban areas. In fact, they report that “the population density in cities is more than 46 times higher than the territory outside of cities.” So that leaves a whopping 19.3% in rural areas.

“I didn’t grow up with money.”
• Money had been invented by the time I was born. But seriously, someone votes for Donald Trump as if the wealthy are advocates for the impoverished or even the average American? C’mon. Mr. Born-With-A-Silver-Spoon-In-His-Mouth? Really?

“…not everyone went to elite colleges.”
• According to the United States Census Bureau, “in 2015, almost 9 out of 10 adults (88 percent) had at least a high school diploma or GED, while nearly 1 in 3 adults (33 percent) held a bachelor’s or higher degree.” I’m in the 33%. So I’m an elite. Thanks!

“You think they (people who eat at Read the rest of this entry »

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Jeff Sessions: Suitable Or Not For United States Attorney General?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Is Republican Alabama Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III suitable to be United States Attorney General?

Some say “yes,” others say “no.”

Let’s examine his record – it should speak for itself.
The legal term for that concept is “res ipsa loquitur.”

1.) Sessions said of the SCOTUS decision in Shelby County v. Holder (570 U.S.___(2013)), an Alabama-based case which gutted important parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, that “Shelby County has never had a history of denying voters and certainly not now,” even though Shelby County’s history of discrimination is well-documented and ongoing when in 2008 the small town of Calera in Shelby County drew a gerrymandered voting map which excluded their only Black councilman out of office.

Gerrymandering Explained, by Steven Nass - original post here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203407721984998

Gerrymandering Explained, by Steven Nass – Each square represents a precinct. See original post here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203407721984998

Before Calera’s local elections in 2008 the town had redrawn its city boundaries which – even though the town’s Black voting-age population had grown from 13-16% – eliminated the only majority-Black district which had been represented by Ernest Montgomery since 2004, and decreased the voting-age Black population from 71-30% by adding three overwhelmingly White subdivisions while failing to include a large surrounding predominately Black-populated neighborhood.

The United States Department of Justice objected to Calera’s actions, and notified City Officials, who defied the DOJ’s orders and held the election anyway which caused Mr. Montgomery to lose the election by two votes, of which he said “they voted against me because of the color of my skin.”

2.) When Sessions was Alabama Attorney General he supported the “separate but equal” policy ensconced in Alabama’s 1901 Constitution in Amendment 111 which to this day deprives impoverished children in Alabama of a right to public education because public support for school funding collapsed after its passage, and since the early 1990’s created enormous funding disparities in school systems statewide which remain, despite legislative attempts to remedy.

3.) Sessions voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (Public Law 103–322).

4.) Sessions is a fierce opponent of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 1973(a)) and called it a “piece of intrusive legislation.”

5.) Sessions voted against Read the rest of this entry »

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The Great Unknown… Or Not: Separating #Fact From #Fiction: @realDonaldTrump’s First 100 Days – Realistic, Or Idealistic?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 12, 2016

November 11, 2016
Day 3: Still thinking

Yesterday, President Obama met with Donald Trump at the White House. It was the first time either of them had met. According to brief remarks made to the Press afterward, their collegial meeting lasted about one and a half hours.

The erudite will recall that “the first 100 days” is taken from a radio address given by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first term in office, in which during his first 100 days , and modeled after his plan to get Americans back to work, protect their savings and create prosperity, provide relief for the sick and elderly, and get industry and agriculture back on their feet.

Having read Trump’s goals for his first 100 days in office, it seems to me that there are some ideas I can support. Yet, there’s some pure bluster and ignorance designed for purely emotional appeal. I’ll separate fact from fiction, and we’ll have to wait and see how it all pans out.
See: donald-trumps-contract-w-american-voter

Trump’s objectives are in bold, my comments follow.

—/—

First: Constitutional Amendment for Congressional Term Limits – I have long supported that idea. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (R), however, opposes them – as, presumably, do some others. Whenever their income source or security is potentially challenged, they’ll fight. Which is probably all the more reason it ought to enacted. A Lifetime Limit of Eight terms in the House of Representatives (2 years x 8 terms=16 years), and a Lifetime Limit of Two terms in the Senate (2 terms x 6 years=12 years) for a combined total of 20 years Lifetime Total ought to be enough for anyone.

Second: Federal Hiring Freeze, to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health) – I can understand that, and could go along with that for a period of time. Realize also that whenever any public action is required to be taken – such as “extreme vetting,” it is done by Federal Employees. So if their numbers are reduced, as a natural result, expect slow-downs and delays in any actions undertaken.

Third: Require that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated – That’s unrealistic, and impracticable. It may be nice to think about, but as a blanket statement, it’s simply unrealistic.

Fourth: A 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service – TOTALLY in favor of this idea.

Sixth: Lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government – Totally in favor of, and the ban should extend to ALL former Federal Employees.

On the same day, I will begin taking the following 7 actions to protect American workers:

FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205 – I have long advocated for changes to NAFTA, and other Free Trade deals to which the United States is a party.

SECOND, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership – TOTALLY in favor of this idea.

THIRD, I will direct my Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator – Some say “yes,” some say “no,” but there is no disagreement China has bought American currency on the FOREX (Foreign Currency Exchange Market), and has purchased American indebtedness (T-bills, and other bonds). Mr. C. Fred Bergsten, Senior Fellow and Director Emeritus at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, put it this way: “Currency manipulation occurs when Read the rest of this entry »

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How TRUE is “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command”? You’d be surprised… or, maybe not.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, November 3, 2016

Remember how ANGRY some folks got when Michael Weisskopf (b.1946) of the Washington Post wrote on February 1, 1993 (link to original article with the WaPo’s editorial addendum) that the simple-minded evangelical groupies of Jerry Falwell (who himself died in 2007), Pat Robertson (b.1930), et al, that:
The gospel lobby evolved with the explosion of satellite and cable television, hitting its national political peak in the presidential election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

“Unlike other powerful interests, it does not lavish campaign funds on candidates for Congress nor does it entertain them. The strength of fundamentalist leaders lies in their flocks. Corporations pay public relations firms millions of dollars to contrive the kind of grass-roots response that Falwell or Pat Robertson can galvanize in a televised sermon. Their followers are largely poor, uneducated and easy to command.

“”The thing that makes them powerful is they’re mobilizable,” said Seymour Martin Lipset (d.2006), professor of public policy at George Mason University. “You can activate them to vote, and that’s particularly important in congressional primaries where the turnout is usually low.”

“Some studies put the number of evangelical Americans as high as 40 million, with the vast majority considered politically conservative.”

[ed. note: The excerpt, which has frequently been distilled to “largely poor, uneducated and easy to command,” is provided here in full proper context with leading and following sentences, not merely excerpted, in order to thoroughly show proper context.]

It’s true.

Folks don’t get mad because of falsehoods.

They get mad because of truth.

It’s true.

According to the United States Census Bureau (USCB), in 2015 (22 years AFTER that was written), 32.5% of the American public aged 25, or older, have a Bachelor’s Degree (Table 1.), which is CLEARLY a minority. Thus, we see automatically the “largely” part of “uneducated.”

The USCB has also performed research on income, which is similarly delineated and categorized by education. For the year 2011 (18 years AFTER the remarks were made), and those aged 25+ with at least a Bachelor’s Degree, the average income was Read the rest of this entry »

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Even With #ALpolitics @ALGOP & @GovernorBentley’s Iron-Fisted Control, Alabama STILL Thanks God for Mississippi

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Fraud, waste, and abuse are rampant in Sweet Home, and it’s KILLING the state.

Cronyism and corruption remains alive and well, despite claims to the contrary as asserted by the GOP, which now rules Alabama with an Iron Fist.

If it could be said that states have personalities, Alabama’s would be bipolar, and schizophrenic. Reeling from fear – though they deny it – they continue to perpetuate and indeed, cultivate the very worst of the very worst in human behavior.

It’s not that Alabama or its people are bad, it’s that fear rules their hearts, and fearing that want and poverty will overtake them (ALERT! It already has.), they continue to elect those who pander to their fears. As a result, they get what they deserve.

It’s HIGH TIME – as was said in the Star Trek television series – “to BOLDLY go where no man has gone before!”

No one praises cowards, or cowardice. And yet, so many praise Alabama’s politicians, who are veritable Cowardly Lions.

Alabama has had – and continues to have Read the rest of this entry »

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Alpha Phi Recruiting Video In Alabama Sets Off Firestorm Of Criticism

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Alpha Phi Sorority at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa has come under intense scrutiny recently after a 4 minute “recruiting” video was released on YouTube and promoted through other Social Media (SoMe) venues and sites.

Controversy erupted following publication of an OpEd entitled “‘Bama sorority video worse for women than Donald Trump,” on the AL dot com website by A.L. Bailey.

News of the wretched video quickly went “viral,” and made national and international news in numerous news outlets, from television, to radio, and the Internet.

A.L. Bailey was recently interviewed by representatives from the Alabama Media Group division of Advance Publications and a condensed version of the hour-long interview was published on their website AL dot com.

The video, which was quickly removed after having been posted (though once posted on the Internet, nothing really ever “disappears”), according to some sources, had at least 500,000 views in the day or two in which it was first available.

Following is commentary of a D.C.-based attorney friend and native Southerner whom viewed it, along with the video following the commentary.

This is at once an impressive and an appalling intro to one of those ugly interracial porn videos. At first you think it might actually be a genuine recruiting video for the University of Alabama chapter of the Alpha Phi sorority. There is a clever use of Read the rest of this entry »

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If Alabama Was A Loaf Of Bread

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, May 31, 2015

If Alabama was a loaf of bread, candy canes and root beer floats.

Pineapple ice cream cotton candy, pecan pies, Festhalle chicken, eggs ample, cinco de mother may I?

Johnny Monkeyshines, Goat Hill Hamburger Helper, largely poor, uneducated and easy to barbecue.

W.C. Keller, Bellingrath Handyman, Werner von Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama State Legislature Could Undo DOJ-ADOC Tutwiler Agreement & Force Federal Takeover

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 29, 2015

To The Reader:
If you are not a regular follower of Alabama politics, some, or perhaps most, of the items mentioned herein may very well be alien to you. Yet even if you are – even to a small extent – an adherent of the same, it very well may still be strange to you. It’s strange to most… save for those who wallow in such mire, namely, the Alabama Legislature and politicians in Alabama.

What I write herein this blog, and this entry in particular, contains fact, and opinion. It’s difficult to NOT have opinion when faced with facts… particularly when innocent lives are at stake. And innocent lives ARE at stake in Alabama.

I ask your indulgence.

From Day One of his first term in office (January 17, 2010) Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s administration has been pockmarked with allegations of corruption, wrong-doing, violations of Federal Law, incompetence, lies, thefts, and deceptions.

I have written and opined about Governor Bentley’s bald-faced lies from his first campaign for governor (Alabama Governor Bentley Broke 20 Promises From 2010 Campaign), and his propensities and predilections toward falsehoods are well-documented in other news media from his campaign for a second term as governor, and after his re-election.

Examples include:
23-Felony Ethics Count indicted Rep. Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) re-elected GOP Speaker of the House
Rep. Greg Wren (R-Montgomery) plead guilty to misdemeanor Hubbard-related ethics charge and resigned his House seat
Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) charged with perjury and false statements related to Lee County grand jury in January in Hubbard case
Moles in GOP Attorney General Luther Strange’s office attempting to corrupt Hubbard’s prosecution
Prison rapes & long-term cover-up of criminal wrongdoing at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, and Alabama Department Of Corrections (ADOC)
ADOC purchased on the black market medicines to be misused for execution, which the FDA seized
ADOC neglected prisoners’ minor healthcare problems, which lead to their death
Legislature reneged repayment on money “borrowed” from Alabama Trust Fund

Facing an immediate General Fund Budget shortfall of $250 Million, and a projected $750 Million long-term deficit, shortly after re-election to a second term, Governor Bentley reneged on a campaign promise to not raise taxes. The most fearfully pressing of the concerns remains the prospects of a Federal take-over of the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC). At 200% capacity, and grossly understaffed, the ADOC is still teetering upon the precipice of a Federal take-over by the Department of Justice. The DOJ took over California’s Prison System with with much less overcrowding, approximately 140%.

The DOJ sent Governor Bentley a 36-page “love letter” dated January 17, 2014 which was entitled Investigation of the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women and Notice of Expanded Investigation in which they detailed numerous counts of prisoner abuse, sexual abuse of prisoners, criminal activity by guards upon inmates, and other horrific crimes against humanity.

USDOJ Tutwiler ADOC Findings 1-17-14

Only today, Governor Bentley crowed about reaching a 65+ page Settlement Agreement with the DOJ in which ADOC and the State of Alabama promised to “implement all policies and procedures required by the agreement within nine months of the effective date of the Agreement,” and which “will terminate when Defendants have achieved substantial compliance with each provision of the Agreement, and have maintained substantial compliance for three consecutive Court-filed compliance reports.”

ADOC-DOJ-Settlement-Package-05-28-15

While there is a nine month implementation time line, there is a possibility of Read the rest of this entry »

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How To Get Elected In Alabama: Convince the “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command” to vote for you.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 14, 2015

It’s a classic variation upon the theme of a “straw man argument.”

But if you’re like most folks in Alabama, you’re probably so “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command” to know what that is.

So, I’ll tell you.

You cite an example of thing you oppose (and which many others would oppose) – even though it’s false (example: “The air in our city has killed thousands of babies!”) – and hammer on it, until you beat it up. Never mind that the example you use is pure bullshit and a total lie. That way, you get your opponent distracted from the REAL issues by responding to your bullshit lies. Studies have shown that when you repeat a lie – even if you are repeating it to refute it – the repetition can reinforce the lie in the minds of some people.

Read on.

Insight: How To Get Elected In Alabama

By Hardy Jackson

In my more than half-a-century of following politics — state, local and national — I cannot recall such a general disgust with the quality of the folks who govern us.

How, I hear it asked repeatedly, did these people get elected?

The answer, of course, is that they got the most votes.

But that is not the answer most people want.How to Get Elected in AL politics

What they want to know is how these politicians were able to convince a majority of Alabama voters to cast a ballot for them.

Well, I’m gonna tell you.

Today, politicians in Alabama get elected because they have mastered a strategy that has gotten Alabama politicians elected as long as there have been politicians and elections in this state.

Here is how it works.

First, a candidate must convince voters that Read the rest of this entry »

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Science Versus Science Fiction In Alabama Education

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 7, 2015

I find it strangely fascinating that so many are so fearful… particularly in the South, and in Alabama especially.

Two days ago many celebrated Cinco de Mayo – the 5th of May – by eating out at Mexican-themed restaurants, quaffing a few margaritas, or by making Mexican-styled eats at home. It’s a way, in part, to acknowledge solidarity with our Mexican brothers and sisters and commemorating Mexico’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. A turning point in Mexican struggle for independence, the firefight pitted 2000 ragtag, poorly equipped Mexicans against 6000 well equipped, battle-tested French soldiers. By the time the French retreated from the all-day battle, 500 French, and 100 Mexican lives were lost.

Alabama State House, 11 South Union Street, Montgomery, Alabama

Alabama State House
11 South Union Street, Montgomery, AL

But May 5 also marks another significant event, largely unknown – and certainly unrecognized – by many, if not most.

On May 5, 1925 John T. Scopes was arrested in Tennessee for teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

It certainly seems Southerners have had it out for Science for quite some time.

Now, like hogs wallowing in mud, Alabama politicians want to meddle even more in the stinking pot of their own making by… well, here’s the news item: Read the rest of this entry »

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How Inefficient Is The Alabama Legislature?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What’s wrong with Alabama?

How much time do you have?

That’d be an entirely accurate response, of course.

How much bad does it take before the sweet turns sour?

How much bad does it take before the sweet turns sour?

To be certain, criticizing the machinations and politics of Alabama is somewhat like criticizing one’s family – only family members can do it with complete immunity. Outsiders stand the risk of getting punched out.

Here’s one well-known complaint: The Legislature.

Sure, even Washington politicians get lambasted, as, I suppose, does every other politician in our union, at every level – federal, state, county, and local.

But here’s the rub: In Alabama, the legislature takes great pride in calling themselves “part-time” legislators, and boast of having full-time jobs “back home” in the community of their residence. Sure, that sounds nice, but what does it really look like?

By law, in Alabama, the Legislature can meet for NO MORE than 30 days Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama As A Third World Country: How True Is It?

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

Editor’s Note, Saturday, 15 October 2016: Since Sunday, October 26, 2014, the date of this original publication, Yellowhammer News blog has thought to create their own entry (herein linked) obliquely contradicting the data supplied and referenced in this entry, which has now been published for over two years. Though they do not refute the data cited herein, instead, they refer to an Alabama-based data analysis company, and present data exclusively from the United Nations’ Human Development Index to support their assertion. In stark contrast, we use source citation and and references to the variety of sources used to compare Alabama to Third World Nations.

Also entitled as: How does Alabama compare with Third World Countries?

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 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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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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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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Is a college education ~really~ all it’s cracked up to be… anymore? Or, why has tuition increased 300% in 30 years?

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

College costs expose the false meritocracy of the American dream

The cost of an education in America has risen so much that only the wealthy and indebted can attend. The system doesn’t work

Post by Chris Arnade Photography.

 Chris Arnade received his PhD in physics from Johns Hopkins University in 1992. He spent the next 20 years working as a trader on Wall Street. He left trading in 2012 to focus on photography. His "Faces of Addiction" series explores addiction in the south Bronx neighbourhood in New York City. Follow him on Twitter: @Chris_arnade


Chris Arnade received his PhD in physics from Johns Hopkins University in 1992. He spent the next 20 years working as a trader on Wall Street. He left trading in 2012 to focus on photography. His “Faces of Addiction” series explores addiction in the south Bronx neighbourhood in New York City. Follow him on Twitter: @Chris_arnade

theguardian.com, Wednesday 18 June 2014 07.30 EDT

watermelons

As a college student, Chris Arnade picked Florida watermelons to pay for school. His daughter can’t do the same.
Photograph: Alamy

When I entered Wall Street in 1993 with a PhD, I was an anomaly. One of my bosses was a failed baseball player, another a frustrated jazz musician. One of the guys running one of the most profitable businesses, in both my firm and all of Wall Street, was a former elevator repairman. Their college degrees – if they even had them – were from all sorts of schools, not simply the Ivy leagues.

By the time I left Wall Street a few years ago, the only people being hired were the “play it safe kids”. The ones with degrees from Princetons and Harvards. You know, the ones who had organized a soup kitchen in eighth grade (meaning, really their parents had) to load their resumes. The ones who had gone to the state science fair (meaning their parents or nannies had spent many weekends and nights helping with a science project).

 Few of these hires where rags-to-riches stories. Most had parents very much like those already working on Wall Street – wealthy and dedicated to getting their children whatever they needed, regardless of cost. Many were in fact the children of Wall Street parents.

It is not just Wall Street. Most of the best paying jobs now require a college degree, or post-college degree, and still rarely hire from state schools. They want Ivy schools, or similar. That feels safe.

This is a problem. Businesses have abdicated their primary role in hiring, handing it over to colleges, which have gladly accepted that role, and now charge a shit-load for it. Want a job kid? Pay $60,000 a year for four years. Then maybe pay for another two to get a MBA.

Yet, those best schools do not teach kids anything radically different from what the average colleges do. They do not prepare them better for the day-to-day work of Wall Street. Those finance skills are learned with experience and instinct after two years of training – on the job.

Rather, a prestigious education is a badge given to students who can follow the established rules, run through the maze, jump through hoops, color between the lines, and sit quietly. It shows that they really, really want to be a grown-up. For that, they pay $60,000 per year.

It has become a test. Are you part of the meritocracy?

It also has become a barrier of entry to professionalism – a very costly barrier of entry.

Harvard University
A rigid system of ‘feeder’ schools is in place for parents who want their children to attend schools like Harvard, which have a reputation for then ‘feeding’ major Wall Street firms. Photograph: Porter Gifford/Corbis

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*!* ATTENTION ALABAMA RESIDENTS *!*

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 14, 2014

ATTENTION ALABAMA RESIDENTS:

Please continue to fund out-of-state K-12 schools, and send Tennessee, Georgia & Florida kids to college by purchasing Tennessee, Georgia & Florida Lottery tickets.

• Today, in Tennessee, over 100,000 students benefit annually, and Republican Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill written by Republican TN legislators which will pay for 2 years of community/junior/technical college education for every Tennessee high school graduate.

• In Georgia, over 1,600,000 students have benefited from Georgia Lottery.

• In Florida, over 650,000 students have received over $4,290,000,000 since 1986 to attend higher education.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Common Core Math

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 29, 2014

According to Dr. Tommy Bice, Alabama State Superintendent of Education, high schools in the state have achieved an 80% graduation rate. While that sounds impressive, there is an underlying problem, which is this:

How do we know that the children being graduated are competent?

Competency is exemplified as being able to do something successfully. So if merely graduating high school was sufficient demonstration of competence, everyone with a high school diploma would be competent. But sadly, we know that is NOT the case. For example, one need only look to private high schools to so illustrate. Very few private high schools have any such problems. And, it is not to say that all public schools suffer problems. And yet, it is evidence as well that many courses taught in 1960, or even 1860 at the “high school” level are more advanced than those taught today.

For example, consider the following courses of study were required for a diploma of graduation from Middletown City High School, Connecticut in 1848: Read the rest of this entry »

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Teaching Jobs Lost Under Alabama Governor Bentley

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 8, 2014

Yet more bad news from Governor Bentley’s incompetent, do-nothing administration.

Chalk up more jobs lost.

This is a DIRECT RESULT of the closure of the International Paper manufacturing facility in Courtland.

And the best worst part is, he’s playing with our children’s lives.

Be certain to thank him at the ballot box this November.

And the bad, sad news is undeniable: Alabamians are “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.”

When will Alabamians learn?

Wait… if the residents are “largely poor” they’re certain to be “uneducated, and [therefore] easy to command.”

Remember the cheer” We like it, we love it… we want some more of it!

Or if not, how about the line in the Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist?

Please, sir… I want some more“.

Alabama obviously likes it, and hasn’t gotten a bellyful yet.

Again… apply the circular logic of:

“largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.”

(Board Of Education) BOE cuts local funded teacher units

Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014 6:00 am

The Lawrence County Board of Education continued to take steps to solidify the county’s financial footing Monday night, eliminating five certified positions in an effort to cut the number of locally funded teacher units.

Superintendent Heath Grimes said more cuts could be on the horizon.

“We have to start focusing on building our financial reserves and this is one step in doing that,” he said. “We’ve been working closely with the state Board of Education to get a plan in place to build a one-month operating reserve and this is one of the suggest measures.”

Lawrence County’s one-month operating cost is roughly $3.2 million. Grimes said the board has $1.5 million in reserve.

“It’s important to understand that, yes, we are Read the rest of this entry »

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