Hey, Republicans, ACORN's All Good, Fer Shizzle

This video is for the people who think ACORN is dismantling the fabric of Democracy. Actually, they are victims of fraud. Oh, and some of the people who work for them turn in fraudulent registrations.

Saturday Cartoon Fun

By Mr. Fish

Quote Of The Day: Abraham Lincoln

Hey Middle-Class! Lincoln and Obama got yer back! Go read the article at Newshoggers that shows how Obama will give America back to us workers!
It is not needed nor fitting here that a general argument should be made in favor of popular institutions, but there is one point, with its connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief attention. It is the effort to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor in the structure of government. It is assumed that labor is available only in connection with capital; that nobody labors unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of it induces him to labor.
Now there is no such relation between capital and labor as assumed, nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are groundless.

Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.

Don't Use The "L" Word

That "L" word would be "landslide". Here is a rather reasonable warning from tristero:
2 Things To Remember

by tristero

Even though the great Nate Silver projects 347 electoral votes for Obama versus 191 for Bush/Palin -I'm sorry, I meant McCain/Palin, an honest slip - there is no reason to celebrate yet.

1. The lead is narrowing. Poll-freaks will tell you that this is normal as the election grinds into its final weeks. I say poppycock. Especially after the last debate, this election should be a rout. I see no reason to deem a "normal" tightening of the race as "acceptable." It is not. Admittedly, Nate's latest posted analysis of the slip in the polls for Obama provides reason for my left brain not to be concerned, my right brain is starting to worry.

2. Even if you believe that 1, above, is silly, unsophisticated, and unrealistic - a not unreasonable position, says my left brain - I hope you will agree with this: It is not enough for Obama to win. Republicans must lose. Big time. The more the merrier.

Therefore, it is important that we do what we can, donate (through progressive groups) to Obama and other worthy candidates, participate in GOTV efforts and, of course, vote ourselves. As previous races have demonstrated all too clearly, Democrats are extremely gifted at wresting defeat from the jaws of victory. This time, let us take nothing at all for granted.

For my money, Obama has not won until he is sworn in and Bush has boarded the plane for his trophy ranch and sea-ment pond in Crawford.

Support The Troops

Some politicians try to heal, others just kill. Bush, take a lesson. Can't wait for Obama!

Krugman Of The Day

Where a dead guy calls Bush an idiot:
We are all dead

President Bush, this morning:
In the long run, the American people can have confidence that our economy will bounce back.
John Maynard Keynes:
But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again.

Some Joyful Noise!

Hey Sarah, We're All Americans, Bitch!

This is one of the many reasons I love Joe Biden. He does not let people get away with anything; he calls them out, like he is calling out Sarah Palin for calling certain places in America, well, not really America (Like Alaska?). She is an Ugly American!

All I Can Say Is, Wow!

Barack just concluded his speech underneath the Gatway Arch in St. Louis, in front of a record crowd of over 100,000 people. "All I can say is, wow," Barack said as he took the stage.
We need new priorities in Washington. I think it’s time to give a tax cut to the teachers and janitors who work in our schools; to the cops and firefighters who keep us safe; to the waitresses working double shifts, the nurses in the ER, and the plumbers fighting for their American Dream. These workers are the backbone of our country. They are the ones that Washington has forgotten. They’re the ones I’ll fight for. And while Senator McCain ignores the payroll taxes you pay to score a few political points, I’ll put a tax cut into the pockets of working people so you can pay the bills, put away some savings, and pass on a brighter future to your children.

So Senator McCain can keep trying to attack me and distract you – but it’s not going to work. Not this time – not now. Because while my opponent thinks this campaign is all about me – the truth is, this campaign is about you. Your jobs. Your health care. Your retirement. Your children’s future. That’s what this election is about. That’s what I’m fighting for. Because I can take two more weeks of these attacks from John McCain, but the American people can’t take four more years of the same failed policies and the same divisive politics. That’s why I’m running for President of the United States.
Read the full remarks of Barack's speech in St. Louis, as prepared for delivery . . .
H/T Barack Obama

Steven "F*cking" Pinker

Steven Pinker elucidates how fucking confusing it is swear. Go read it. Here is a taste...
Swearing is another kind of word magic. People believe, contrary to logic, that certain words can corrupt the moral order—that piss and Shit! and fucking are dangerous in a way that pee and Shoot! and freakin’ are not. This quirk in our psychology lies in the ability of taboo words to activate primitive emotional circuits in the brain.
Why Washington’s crusade against swearing on the airwaves is f*cked up

by Steven Pinker
Freedom’s Curse

A word is an arbitrary label that’s the foundation of linguistics. But many people think otherwise. They believe in word magic: that uttering a spell, incantation, curse, or prayer can change the world. Don’t snicker: Would you ever say “Nothing has gone wrong yet” without looking for wood to knock?

Swearing is another kind of word magic. People believe, contrary to logic, that certain words can corrupt the moral order—that piss and Shit! and fucking are dangerous in a way that pee and Shoot! and freakin’ are not. This quirk in our psychology lies in the ability of taboo words to activate primitive emotional circuits in the brain.

My interest in swearing is (I swear) scientific. But swearing is not just a puzzle in cognitive neuroscience. It has figured in the most-famous free-speech cases of the past century, from Ulysses and Lady Chatterley to those of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin. Over the decades, the courts have steadily driven government censors into a precarious redoubt. In 1978, the Supreme Court, ruling on a daytime broadcast of Carlin’s “Filthy Words” monologue, allowed the Federal Communications Commission to regulate “indecency” on broadcast radio and television during the hours when children were likely to be listening. The rationale, based on rather quaint notions of childhood and of modern media, was that over-the-air broadcasts are uninvited intruders into the home and can expose children to indecent language, harming their psychological and moral development.

In practice, the FCC recognized that the impact of taboo words depended on their context. So in 2003, when Bono said in a televised acceptance speech, “This is really, really fucking brilliant,” the FCC did not punish the network. Bono, they noted, did not use fucking to “describe sexual or excretory organs or activities.” He used it as an “adjective or expletive to emphasize an exclamation.” This usage differed from Carlin’s “patently offensive” routine, with its “repeated use, for shock value,” of taboo words.

But the Bush-appointed commissioners flip-flopped on that case and subsequently targeted the Fox television network after it broadcast awards ceremonies in which Cher said of her critics, “So fuck ’em,” and Nicole Richie asked, “Why do they even call it The Simple Life? Have you ever tried to get cow shit out of a Prada purse? It’s not so fucking simple.”

In 2007, after a federal court invalidated the FCC’s policy as “arbitrary” and “capricious,” the commission appealed to the Supreme Court. That’s when I got dragged in. The FCC claimed that “even when the speaker does not intend a sexual meaning, a substantial part of the community … will understand the word as freighted with an offensive sexual connotation.” A brief filed earlier this year by the solicitor general in defense of the commission’s position quoted from my book The Stuff of Thought as follows: “If you’re an English speaker, you can’t hear [words such as the F-Word] without calling to mind what they mean to an implicit community of speakers, including the emotions that cling to them.” In fact, the words elided in the brief were “nigger or cunt or fucking,” and the context was an explanation of why people are offended “when an outsider refers to an African American as a nigger, or a woman as a cunt, or a Jewish person as a fucking Jew.” I was certainly not arguing that when listeners hear “It’s not so fucking simple,” their minds turn to thoughts of copulation!

On the contrary, I noted that over time, taboo words relinquish their literal meanings and retain only a coloring of emotion, and then just an ability to arouse attention. This progression explains why many speakers are unaware that sucker, sucks, bites, and blows originally referred to fellatio, or that a jerk was a masturbator. It explains why Close the fucking door, What the fuck?, Holy Fuck!, and Fuck you! violate all rules of English syntax and semantics—they presumably replaced Close the damned door, What in Hell?, Holy Mary!, and Damn you! when religious profanity lost its zing and new words had to be recruited to wake listeners up.

The FCC was right that I think linguistic taboos aren’t always a bad thing. Fuck-peppered speech gets tedious, and malicious epithets can express condemnable attitudes. But in a free society, these annoyances are naturally regulated in the marketplace of people’s reactions—as Don Imus, Michael Richards, and Ann Coulter recently learned the hard way. It’s not clear why swearing on the airwaves should be the government’s business.

Indeed, given how language is interwoven with thought—the major theme of the book cited by the solicitor general—any ban on words will lead to absurdities. Take Carlin’s monologue. Carlin mentioned the word fuck not to describe sexual activities, nor to shock his audience. He mentioned it to show how people use taboo words and to advance the argument that the government should not regulate them. The ruling that restricted his language restricted public criticism of the ruling itself—mocking the very rationale for free speech.

And consider the press release issued by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin expressing his displeasure when his ruling was struck down:
Today the [court] said the use of the words ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’ by Cher and Nicole Richie was not indecent … I find it hard to believe that the New York court would tell American families that ‘shit’ and ‘fuck’ are fine to say on broadcast television during the hours when children are most likely to be in the audience.
Somewhere, George Carlin is still smiling.


Quote Of The Day: Me

I wrote this a month ago about principals. It bears repeating:
This screed by principal Hitch should be looked at as part of the problem in education; professional teachers being reviewed, retained, or fired by folks whose mission it is to foster conformity to a norm not yet affirmed, in a desire to wrest control of education away from those who provide it--teachers!

Monday, October 20, 2008: Last Day To Register To Vote In California

From my inbox to yours:
Register and Mail in Your Form Today


The voter registration deadline for California is Monday, October 20, 2008. Be sure you've registered to vote and mailed in your form by Monday, October 20, 2008, so you can vote in this historic election.

Remember, if you have changed your address or moved since you last registered, you need to re-register by Monday, October 20 as well.

If you have already registered to vote, then please forward this notice to all your friends.

-- The Rock the Vote Voter Registration Center

New Teacher: Find Other Work!

I am really frustrated. Everyday Math, Lucy Calkins, Words Their Way Spelling Inventory, and the rest are a waste of time and money, and they create frustration at the expense of educating the kids.

Here's what I mean. We teachers have to use these materials whether they are useful to us or not. We have to use them because of NCLB; accountability is now more important than education, joy, love, life, community and family.

Schools must show improvement, and new materials are almost never always the way to improve things. Indeed, we adopted Everyday Math because apparently we had to adopt something; it was time! Seriously! Not because EDM is better. Not because Scott Forseman was worse. It was just because it was adoption time.

I have mentioned my scores many times because they are at the core of my argument against forcing teachers to use certain materials. Most of the curricular materials a school uses have been produced for a huge market; many school districts nation-wide adopt identical materials. This nationalization of materials makes for watered down materials. They can't be rich and specific because some things may not go over well in certain places. So, we get lean materials, especially in history, social studies and science. Math, less so.

With math, because we all know if we do not lead the world in math and science we will not continue to lead the world, we adopt new materials--that are research based--hoping knowing they will improve scores. There is only one problem with this: Everyday Math was rejected by many school districts because of its spiraling sequence and overly complicated teacher guide, the plethora of silly materials that are embedded in the instruction making for less than rigorous lessons, and all the games of "math self-discovery". It is a bad program, and one that I do not need; look at my scores!

So, my high scores may go down if I have to implement Everyday Math. If my scores go down, and my candidate of choice is elected, I will not get my merit pay. However, if I refuse to use EDM, my scores will remain high, and I will get merit pay, unless I get fired for not using the curriculum provided, regardless of its lack of efficacy.

And don't get me started on Lucy Caulkins. We were given the writing assessment materials today. We were supposed to be teaching "How to" (the real words are "expository text") because that is what the first writing assessment will be on. Well, we have not been teaching what the assessment will be assessing because the assessment has a requirement in the rubric that is not a part of "How To" writing, except sometimes. Confused? I think the kids will be too.

This is the kind of negligence administration constantly foists on us, and then we look like the idiots. Teachers have complained about the lack of information this assessment provides for years. Each year our literacy leader (oxymoron) says they will be fixing it. They haven't, yet. It's only been my whole career, so, maybe they will get to it. Things take time, right?

Well, I cannot do it anymore. I sit in those damned meetings, make valid and important points by exposing the silliness, lies, or whatever else is being obfuscated by the principal and administration, then get a letter of reprimand in my personnel file for doing so.

I should be congratulated for my students' scores. I should be asked how I do it! But no, I am being told to shut up, regardless of the substance of my remarks (principal actually said that. My points are valid and substantive, but shut up). Shut up, sit down, be quiet, play dumb, and shut up again.

Well, fuck you. Got it!? Fuck. You.

I'm looking for other work. If you are a new teacher, or thinking of getting into teaching, you might want to think again. The future is not bright for teachers. Just like the taxpayers taking final responsibility for the greedy bastards, teachers are going to continue to take responsibility for the outcomes of kids they have no control over. If it seems unfair, and a little stoopid, well, you might be on to something.

Update: I forgot to mention that I cannot quit mid-year without being in danger of having my credential revoked. Teaching has changed, for the worse...

Colombia, Colombia!!

Hertzberg on McCain's Columbia fetish...
As you may remember, this is not a new obsession for McCain. Puzzlingly, the first thing he did after he clinched the Republican nomination, at the beginning of July, was to get on a plane and go to…Colombia. That’s where he chose to spend the Glorious Fourth. Or maybe not so puzzlingly. In the second paragraph of the New York Times story previewing the trip, Larry Rohter wrote:
Since 1998, the lobbying firm headed until recently by Charlie Black, one of Mr. McCain’s closest confidants, has earned more than $1.8 million representing the Occidental Petroleum Corporation, the leading foreign producer of gas and oil in Colombia. The lobbying firm, BKSH & Associates, has also represented Colombian textile and apparel manufacturers and a former foreign minister and presidential candidate who is also a prominent businesswoman.
Read it below...

Hail, Hail Colombia

Barack Obama may have gone to Colombia, but John McCain went to Colombia. Therein lies a tale.

One of the most curious, and little-remarked, features of this week’s Presidential debate was that the only foreign country to get more than cursory treatment was Columbia, known to most television-watching, non-García Márquez-reading North Americans as a land of rich drug lords, leftist guerrillas, rightist death squads, and ubiquitous coca plantations.

It was McCain who brought the subject up, after he and Obama had traded barbs about NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement:

McCAIN: let me give you another example of a free trade agreement that Senator Obama opposes. Right now, because of previous agreements, some made by President Clinton, the goods and products that we send to Colombia, which is our largest agricultural importer of our products, is—there’s a billion dollars that we—our businesses have paid so far in order to get our goods in there.

Because of previous agreements, their goods and products come into our country for free. So Senator Obama, who has never traveled south of our border, opposes the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. The same country that’s helping us try to stop the flow of drugs into our country that’s killing young Americans….

Free trade with Colombia is something that’s a no-brainer. But maybe you ought to travel down there and visit them and maybe you could understand it a lot better.

OBAMA: Let me respond. Actually, I understand it pretty well. The history in Colombia right now is that labor leaders have been targeted for assassination on a fairly consistent basis and there have not been prosecutions.

And what I have said, because the free trade—the trade agreement itself does have labor and environmental protections, but we have to stand for human rights and we have to make sure that violence isn’t being perpetrated against workers who are just trying to organize for their rights, which is why, for example, I supported the Peruvian Free Trade Agreement which was a well-structured agreement.

But I think that the important point is we’ve got to have a President who understands the benefits of free trade but also is going to enforce unfair trade agreements and is going to stand up to other countries.
Obama then talked for several minutes about the need to strengthen the U.S. automobile industry and induce it to build fuel-efficient cars. But McCain still wanted to talk about Colombia. As soon as he got the floor back, he returned to his strange preoccupation:
McCAIN: Well, let me just said that that this is—he—Senator Obama doesn’t want a free trade agreement with our best ally in the region but wants to sit down across the table without precondition to—with Hugo Chavez, the guy who has been helping FARC, the terrorist organization.

Free trade between ourselves and Colombia: I just recited to you the benefits of concluding that agreement, a billion dollars of American dollars that could have gone to creating jobs and businesses in the United States, opening up those markets.
As you may remember, this is not a new obsession for McCain. Puzzlingly, the first thing he did after he clinched the Republican nomination, at the beginning of July, was to get on a plane and go to…Colombia. That’s where he chose to spend the Glorious Fourth. Or maybe not so puzzlingly. In the second paragraph of the New York Times story previewing the trip, Larry Rohter wrote:
Since 1998, the lobbying firm headed until recently by Charlie Black, one of Mr. McCain’s closest confidants, has earned more than $1.8 million representing the Occidental Petroleum Corporation, the leading foreign producer of gas and oil in Colombia. The lobbying firm, BKSH & Associates, has also represented Colombian textile and apparel manufacturers and a former foreign minister and presidential candidate who is also a prominent businesswoman.
The Times went on to note that human rights groups have accused Occidental of complicity in the killing of peasants and labor leaders believed (erroneously, in the case of the labor leaders) to be affiliated with guerrilla groups.

The week before McCain left for Colombia, Carl H. Linder, Jr., who made billions as the C.E.O. of Chiquita Brands International, hosted a fundraiser for McCain at his home in Cincinnati, Ohio. It raised $2 million—a lot of money, though not much compared to the $25 million fine Chiquita paid for paying, under Linder’s leadership, more millions to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a bloodthirsty paramilitary group which the State Department officially classified as a terrorist organization. But, as Nico Pitney pointed out at the time in a well-documented report at the Huffington Post, Chiquita was an equal-opportunity terror funder in Colombia: it also made payments to leftist guerrilla groups, including the notorious FARC. Nothing to do with ideology, of course. Just a routine business expense.

Besides Black, at least four other McCain staffers or major fundraisers, including the campaign’s finance director and a former national finance chairman, have earned tidy sums lobbying for the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

But John McCain is an honorable man. Therefore, it is inconceivable that any of these “associations,” to use one of his favorite words, had anything to do with the Republican nominee’s extraordinary solicitude for the Colombia trade pact, let alone the way he rolled his eyes when Obama spoke of the murder of Colombian labor leaders.

Washington Post Endorses Obama!

Mr. Obama is a man of supple intelligence, with a nuanced grasp of complex issues and evident skill at conciliation and consensus-building. At home, we believe, he would respond to the economic crisis with a healthy respect for markets tempered by justified dismay over rising inequality and an understanding of the need for focused regulation. Abroad, the best evidence suggests that he would seek to maintain U.S. leadership and engagement, continue the fight against terrorists, and wage vigorous diplomacy on behalf of U.S. values and interests. Mr. Obama has the potential to become a great president. Given the enormous problems he would confront from his first day in office, and the damage wrought over the past eight years, we would settle for very good.

Any presidential vote is a gamble, and Mr. Obama's résumé is undoubtedly thin. We had hoped, throughout this long campaign, to see more evidence that Mr. Obama might stand up to Democratic orthodoxy and end, as he said in his announcement speech, "our chronic avoidance of tough decisions."

But Mr. Obama's temperament is unlike anything we've seen on the national stage in many years. He is deliberate but not indecisive; eloquent but a master of substance and detail; preternaturally confident but eager to hear opposing points of view. He has inspired millions of voters of diverse ages and races, no small thing in our often divided and cynical country. We think he is the right man for a perilous moment.
H/T swimming freestyle


Caption Contest

Cartoon Fun

Quote Of The Day: Yglesias

When John concluded by reflecting on the “long line of McCains” that have served the country, I thought he was finally going to bust out the big guns — “my dad was an admiral, his dad was a Muslim” would, unlike most of what he says, actually true.
What? McCain's grandpappy was a Muslim? Do the research someone and comment!

Update: It's tough being stoopid. I oughtta know!

My Powell Prediction

picture from TP

One month ago I predicted that Colin Powell would endorse Obama. I still think he will.

Update: I don't think he'll endorse because of this picture. I just think he will.

McCain Takes Pride In Mob Hate

McCain is proud of his mob?!
It was kind of strange, dintcha think, that John McCain came to the defense of his supporters last night after Barack Obama pointed out that people at McCain/Palin rallies were shouting out "terrorist" and "kill him!" in reference to Obama.

Now an Al Jazeera camera crew caught the honest sentiments of McCain/Palin supporters at an Ohio rally:
“I’m afraid if he wins, the blacks will take over. He’s not a Christian! This is a Christian nation! What is our country gonna end up like?”

“When you got a Negra running for president, you need a first stringer. He’s definitely a second stringer.”

“He seems like a sheep - or a wolf in sheep’s clothing to be honest with you. And I believe Palin - she’s filled with the Holy Spirit, and I believe she’s gonna bring honesty and integrity to the White House.”

“He’s related to a known terrorist, for one.”

“He is friends with a terrorist of this country!”

“He must support terrorists! You know, uh, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. And that to me is Obama.”

“Just the whole, Muslim thing, and everything, and everybody’s still kinda - a lot of people have forgotten about 9/11, but… I dunno, it’s just kinda… a little unnerving.”

“Obama and his wife, I’m concerned that they could be anti-white. That he might hide that.”

“I don’t like the fact that he thinks us white people are trash… because we’re not!”
Yep, McCain must be so proud.

The rest of us, well ... let's just say those polls should tell the story.

Joe The Plumber And Keating

From Hullabaloo:
Oh. My. God.

by tristero

We can't be this lucky:
Joe the Plumber, the star of tonight's debate, may have a very interesting connection to John McCain. In fact, Joe the Plumber (Joe Wurzelbacher) of Cincinnati, Ohio may be related to one Robert Wurzelbacher of Cincinnati, Ohio, who happens to be Charles Keating's son-in-law.

Robert Wurzelbacher was implicated in the Keating 5 scandal, and sentenced to 40 months in prison in 1993.

Wurzelbacher is also a huge Republican donor.

So, let's find out a bit about Joe Wurzelbacher.
Update: Nope!

Voter Fraud & ACORN: Sounds Suspicious

Just in case you still want to claim ACORN is involved in perpetrating voter fraud, Hertzberg has something to tell you. For example:
Sounds suspicious—unless you know that groups like ACORN are required by law to submit them, even if they’re obvious fakes. This is to prevent funny business, such as trashing forms that look like they might be Republican (or Democratic, as the case may be).

Sounds suspicious—unless you know that ACORN normally sorts through forms, flags those that look fishy, and submits the fishy ones in a separate pile for the convenience of election officials.
The McCain lies and misrepresentations aren't working....
Voter-Fraud Fraud

The idea that Democrats try to win elections by arranging for hordes of nonexistent people with improbable names to vote for them has long been a favorite theme of Rove-era Republicans. Now it’s become a desperate obsession.

Consider today’s fund-raising e-mail from Robert M. (Mike) Duncan, chairman of the Republican National Committee. Some snippets:
Every election, it’s the same old song and dance from the Democrats and their liberal allies when it comes to donor and vote fraud.

They will soon be trying to pad their totals at ballot boxes across the country with votes from voters that do not exist. From Ohio and Florida to Wisconsin and Nevada, there are reports of fraudulent voter registration forms being submitted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a liberal group that is dedicating its resources to electing the Obama-Biden Democrats.
The e-mail climaxes with this pledge, which one hopes is delivered with a Sarah Palin wink: “We will not stand for the stealing of the election—the tainting of our democracy—by those who wish to subvert the rule of law.”

ACORN has become the 24/7 story on Fox News, too, on account of reports that it has submitted several thousand phony registration forms to local boards of elections. These reports appear to be true. Nevertheless, the “scandal,” as Fox calls it, is itself on its face as phony as Mickey Mouse’s social security number.

During this election cycle, the Times reported today, ACORN has deployed thirteen thousand mostly paid workers, who have registered 1.3 million new voters. One or two per cent of these workers turned in sheaves of forms that they filled out themselves with fake names and bogus addresses, and, even though at least a hundred of these workers have already been fired, the forged forms have been submitted to election boards.

Sounds suspicious—unless you know that groups like ACORN are required by law to submit them, even if they’re obvious fakes. This is to prevent funny business, such as trashing forms that look like they might be Republican (or Democratic, as the case may be).

Sounds suspicious—unless you know that ACORN normally sorts through forms, flags those that look fishy, and submits the fishy ones in a separate pile for the convenience of election officials.

Sounds suspicious—until you reflect that the motivation of the misbehaving registration workers is almost always to look like they’ve been doing more work than they really have, and that the victim of the “fraud” is actually the organization they’re working for.

Sounds suspicious—unless you know that even if one of these fake forms results in a nonexistent person actually being registered, now under the Help America Vote Act of 2002, “any voter who has not previously voted in a federal election” must provide identification in order to actually cast a ballot. This will make it tough for Mickey Mouse, even if registered, to vote, no matter how big, round, or black his ears. Likewise, members of the Duck family (Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey, and Louie) who turn up at the polling place will have a hard time getting into the voting booth. (Uncle Scrooge might be able to bribe his way in, but he’s voting Republican anyway.)

Sounds suspicious—unless you know that despite all the hysteria, from 2002 to 2005, only twenty people in the entire United States of America were found guilty of voting while ineligible and only five of voting more than once. By contrast, consider the lede on this story, published a week ago today:
Tens of thousands of eligible voters in at least six swing states have been removed from the rolls or have been blocked from registering in ways that appear to violate federal law, according to a review of state records and Social Security data by The New York Times.
And take it from Sarah Palin: the Times is “hardly ever wrong.”


A Teacher's Truth

This is how teachers feel:
Things Nice People Already Know: Any Teacher Can Tell You Why So Many Are Leaving The Profession

Mamacita says: It’s been pretty quiet around here lately, so I thought I’d stir things up by re-running a post from September 2007. It created quite a stir when it first ran; let’s see if anything happens this time around.

Oh, and I still stand by what I’ve said here. That includes labeling a bratty kid a “brat.”

Most teachers who leave the profession leave because almost all of the attention, most of the perks, most of the privileges, and most of the allowances are given to the students who least deserve it: the disruptive kids. In other words, these loud, bratty, obnoxious kids are being rewarded for their disgusting behavior, so why should they clean up their act? I wouldn’t. Not if doing my own thing meant I’d still get to have and do everything little goody two-shoes next to me got to have and do.

Secondly, many of the parents who are involved with the school are the parents of these same brats. School administrators fear negative PR, and to a principal or superintendent, negative PR is when a loud-mouthed parent with a shitty kid calls the newspaper office. Entitlement is the bane of our society’s existence, and it’s alive and well in our public schools.

“You WILL accept my child and you WILL give him/her a special lunch and you WILL treat him/her on a different level than all these other peon kids and you WILL hold his/her hand and you WILL allow him/her to break any rules we as a family do not believe apply to us. . . .” Lovely mentality, yes?

Or this:

“Trailer for sale or rent, or possibly just someone else’s the family is mooching, no phone, no pool, lots of pets, chain smokin’ beer-guzzlin’ shacked-up, in and out of jail, booze, grass, if that damn school tries to call me one more time I’m goin’ down thar and kick me some ass. . .” Lovely mentality, yes?

Or this:

“My kid will play in that basketball game tonight and I don’t CARE that the rules say a kid who’s failing any subject is ineligible. Your rules are stupid, because that game is more important that a stupid subject like English or science, and I’ll go straight to the superintendent and school board if I don’t get my own way with this issue.” Lovely mentality, yes?

What’s even worse is the fact that more often than not, going over the heads of the teacher and principal will all too often give these people their own way.

Me, personally, I think that if there are any perks to be handed out, they should go only to students who have earned them. No earn? No get. Ever.

Why should a student bother to behave himself if he knows he’s going to get a limo ride and a Pizza Hut lunch for bringing a pencil three days in a row? I wouldn’t.

Why would a student exert himself to do any work, or allow anyone else in the classroom to do anything either, if he knows he’s going to be passed to the next grade anyway? Yes, I am a firm believer in holding back any student who can’t do it, won’t do it, or any combination thereof.

I don’t want my tiny second-grade-size daughter seated next to a hulking ballistic cursing disruptive 15-year-old, but if everyone is REQUIRED to behave properly, there wouldn’t be any problems even then, now would there? Because while a student can’t help the “hulking,” there are no viable excuses for being ballistic, cursing, or disruptive. EVER. Any person of any age who behaves in such a way should be removed immediately, not at the end of the day but IMMEDIATELY, escorted out by the police if the parent can’t be reached, and locked away where he/she can no longer deny other children their right to an education. That our schools have lowered themselves to becoming daycare centers for kids who are not required to behave themselves is a national disgrace. The schools who allow it are a disgrace, the parents who allow it are a disgrace, and the kids themselves are a disgrace. That’s right; I’m labeling children. After a certain age, they know how nice people behave. Life is full of choices. CHOICES. Door #1: Thank you for being a nice person who behaves properly. You may stay and be educated, that your life’s choices might increase. Door #2: Are you sure you want this door? Absolutely sure? Very well. Get out and do not set foot near the school grounds ever again. You are bringing down the entire population of students. Good riddance. Billy Madison speech. Door #3: Whine. Scream. Curse. Threaten. Hire a lawyer. Make promises. We don’t care. Get out. And take your obnoxious kid with you.

If only.

In other words, disruptive bratty obnoxious kids are mostly a product of their home.

Teachers who say things like this are few and far between. Not because they aren’t thinking such things 24/7, but because it’s dangerous to speak out. Ethnicity, race, gender, and social levels have nothing whatsoever to do with this issue, but teachers who recognize the actual problem and try to do something about it are often accused of being racist, sexist, un-PC, heartless, “in possession of inappropriate knowledge,” etc. And often the biggest brats belong to the parents with the most political pull. Just as often, the biggest brats belong to. . . . nobody. In either case, brats are brats.

In other words, somebody screams “prejudice,” when the truth is, these teachers are speaking truth.

Until the bullies and the disrupters and the violent and the kids who have no respect for learning are removed from our schools, our schools can not be what the free public schools were meant to be: places where all who wish to learn, may learn all they wish.

It’s hard to learn when 25 of the 38 kids in your classroom have important Letters of the Alphabet in their files, prohibiting the teacher from requiring any work or proper behavior. It’s hard to learn when it’s so loud you can’t hear yourself think, and that awful boy next to you keeps stealing your stuff and hitting you on the arm and laughing. He can’t help it, poor thing, it’s in his IEP that nobody may do anything that would lower his self-esteem. I do not believe that ANY child who is disruptive or violent for any reason should be allowed to prevent other children from learning. Inclusion will only work for students who work at it.

On the first day of school, let the few simple rules be known and let the penalties for disregarding the rules be known. Let there be no exceptions to these penalties. Require a signed document from every family, admitting understanding of these policies. Require an additional signature under the paragraph that spells out the “no exceptions” policy. From Day One, Period One, expect and require good behavior from all students. Instantly remove any kid that chooses to be an ass. Ass-behavior is always a personal choice.

No document from home? No privileges for the kid. Not until it’s signed and filed in the office. Several copies, and one to the superintendent. Why should the child be penalized because the parents can’t get their act together for thirty seconds to sign a damn paper? Because that’s the only way some people can be persuaded to do much of anything. Life is hard. What if some parents don’t LIKE some of these rules? Enroll your overprivileged kid somewhere else then, losers.

Where should these kids be removed to? To be perfectly honest, I don’t care. Just get them away from the good kids. Don’t good kids have rights, too? I’m sick and tired of disruptive kids having the most rights. SICK AND TIRED of it. It’s long past time to give the majority of attention and all things positive to kids who choose to behave properly and kids who want to learn.

This is why most teachers who leave while still young, leave. If you are not a teacher, it’s hard to comprehend the heartbreak these teachers feel: they love their students; they love teaching; they love every single thing about their jobs. . . except for the fact that they are required to endure what nobody else in any other profession would ever consider enduring. They’re required to watch the bright and promising students injured and taunted and threatened by “other kinds” of students, and they’re required to see those “other kinds” of students rewarded for things the nice kids do daily. They’re required to give exceptions to the undeserving and nothing to the deserving. After a while, their nerves are shot and their own self-esteem is in the dirt. Decisions they make are overturned, their authority is questioned and shot full of holes. Daily. They’re not paid enough to put up with this crap. Nobody is. This kind of thing should not even EXIST in our public schools. In the olden days, students were expected to behave and required to behave, and any kid who chose to “act up” got punished at school and punished again at home for disgracing the family. Kids who continued to “act up” were expelled. Life is full of choices.

I taught public school for 26 years and my salary peaked out at 49,300. After 26 years. It became sooo not worth it. A hundred thou a year would not have been worth it. The constant disruptions, the constant expectations that certain kids would not be held accountable, the constant accusations of favoritism and wrongdoing and the 23-minute lunch at 10:30 a.m. and the study hall with 48 non-participatory boys, many of whom had to sit on the floor because the room was too small for that many desks, the indignant parents who demanded. . . actually, demanded ANYTHING. Nice people do not DEMAND. And if someone is DEMANDING an exception, he/she is not a nice person. Teachers don’t leave because of the money. People don’t become teachers for the money. People become teachers because of the dedication and the love, and teachers leave because there is absolutely no support any more.

When teachers walk out the door, they don’t usually do it because they hated teaching. They do it because the peripherals made it impossible to be a teacher. In some schools, administrators don’t even call their instructors “teachers” any more. It’s “facilitators” now. That’s because we are no longer allowed to really teach. We spend most of our time trying to maintain order in overcrowded rooms full of disruptive kids who don’t want to be there and don’t want to learn and don’t intend to allow YOUR child to learn, either. Why do we put up with it? WHY?

I make not quite 16,000 now, and even though we’re one sheet of cardboard away from living in a cardboard box under a bridge, I’m far, far better off. Why is that? Because teaching is what I love, eager students are who I love, and now I can do what I was meant to do without putting up with disruptive students or parents who demand exceptions. And when a student gives us any kind of disruptive behavior at this level and refuses to leave, we call the cops.

It took me almost a full year to ‘catch on’ to the fact that I no longer had to ‘deal’ with that kind of behavior any more. It comes as quite a surprise to some students that after a certain level, disruptive behavior is no longer allowed. After a certain level, the facilitators no longer allow it on the facility.

Perhaps if our students were taught that lesson in fourth grade, we wouldn’t have any obnoxious hoods keeping our good kids from learning in any of the higher grades.

In a perfect world.

Yes, I mean every word of this post. Some of you will find fault with the fact that I do not believe our nation’s schools and our nation’s children should be required to put up with disruptive and violent behaviors. After all, some of those kids can’t help it. And so they can’t. Get them away from the other kids because frankly, anything that prevents the good kids from learning doesn’t belong there. Tolerance? I’m all for it. How about some of that for the good kids, too!

I do not believe that all of the disruptive students are Special Education material, either. Our Special Ed programs are usually excellent, taught by the most dedicated teachers of all, overcrowded, underappreciated, and too full of kids who don’t belong there, which takes those teachers’ time and attention away from the kids who DO belong there.

An IEP does not take the place of discipline. Sure, it’s easier to claim that your child has Authority Defiance Syndrome than to require good behavior and enforce the rules yourself. Quick fix for Mom and Dad, huh. These people are taking time and attention away from kids who genuinely need and deserve special treatment.

We as a nation had better be very, very careful about what kind of behaviors we tolerate and even encourage with stupid reward systems for behaviors that ALL students should be practicing daily, because it’s already happening that many people are trying to enter the workforce without the necessary skills. Some of these people were busy texting and checking their email on their cell phones instead of paying attention, sure; I hate those people, too. But some of these people graduated with good grades that mean almost nothing because their teachers were so busy trying to corral the wild animals in their classrooms and keep them from actually harming the good kids, so busy trying to placate parents who expected the schools to not only feed, clothe, and babysit before and after hours but also to teach the behaviors and manners that are actually the responsibility of the parents, that at the end of the long, long day, there simply wasn’t time to teach anything. The schools should not be responsible for teaching your child to behave properly. If that is what you’re counting on, forget it. It’s not going to happen, parents. That’s YOUR job. I know you’re busy, but if you’re too busy to raise your child, perhaps you’d best be thinking about letting somebody else do it, not the school.

I’ll say this again: If an adult can afford cigarettes and beer and DOG FOOD, that adult should be able to buy socks and jeans and a hot lunch for his child. I’d say, the child should come before ANY of those other things. When those free-lunch, free books, free before-and-after-school-care parents would stand before me, reeking of smoke, whining with their beer-breath that they just plum couldn’t afford no shoes for the child, cough cough cough reek, it was all I could do not to tell them off for being just generally bad, bad people. Bad people who bought cigarettes, beer, dog food, and shoes for themselves instead of taking decent care of their child.

There are no exaggerations in this post. If your child’s classroom is a place of calm, peace, cool, and learning, please fall on your knees and thank God or your lucky stars, whichever one rows your boat, because your child’s school is an exception.

I’m not kidding, either. I only wish I were.

PLEASE do not assume that I am attacking special students here; that is NOT the case at all. I am merely saying that no student who keeps another student from learning should be allowed placement in a regular education classroom. Our public schools, bad as so many of them are, are still one of the main reasons many immigrants come to our country; it’s too late for them, but they have hopes for their children. Without education, there can be no hope. Without education, people are easily fooled, easily led, and somehow less of a person. Educated people are the hope of everyone’s future.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure that our public schools are places where students can be educated, without disruption, without fear, without “putting up with” anything that interferes with that education. That so many students fear for their very lives when they go to school is a sad commentary on our society. That those who give other students just cause to be afraid are tolerated is a disgrace. Those who sanction it are the biggest disgrace of all.

Are we really so afraid of harming the self-esteem of a thug, or a bully, or anyone who puts another at risk or in any way prevents another from advancing forward in knowledge, that we have shunted the deserving to the back burner, and expect them to be content with the dregs of our energy and resources?

Apparently we are.

The following is from “Scripts for Schools;” it’s a Reader’s Theater script, and it looks pretty good to me! The picture above is from this site, also. Thank you, Lois Walker.

Pushing, pulling, picking on,

Hitting, holding, sitting on,

Punching, poking, spitting on,


And sometimes they invade your space

And sometimes grab your pencil case

And leave you feeling out of place.


And we are putting up with this nonsense. . . why? I don’t know. Does anybody? A GOOD reason, I mean?

I think we are so busy paying attention to bad people that we ignore the nice people. Villains have more rights than their victims. This is unacceptable, and unethical.


Hate Speech Almost Killed TR!

The Edge Of The American West is a great blog. The post below is a great example of why. I mentioned how dangerous the words McCain and Palin have been using are, and then Eric Rauchway provides the following...
“I am all right, and you cannot escape listening to my speech either.”

On this day in 1912, outside the Hotel Gilpatrick in Milwaukee, a would-be assassin rushed up to Theodore Roosevelt, then campaigning for the presidency on the Progressive Party ticket, and shot him on the right side of his chest.

Slowed by passing through the manuscript of the speech Roosevelt was to give that night, the bullet nevertheless pierced his flesh, and blood covered his shirt.

But he went to the hall and gave the speech anyway, going on for almost an hour.

Because Theodore Roosevelt was entirely made of top-grade triple-refined USDA-inspected 100 percent purest awesome.

And this is what he said:
Now, I would not speak to you insincerely within five minutes of being shot. I am telling you the literal truth when I say my concern is for many other things. It is not in the least for my own life….

I don’t know who the man was who shot me to-night…. He shot to kill me. He shot the bullet. I am just going to show you (Col. Roosevelt then unbuttoned coat and vest and showed his white shirt badly stained with blood)….

Now, I wish to say seriously to the speakers and newspapers representing the Republican and Democratic and Socialist Parties that they cannot, month in and month out, year in and year out, make the kind of slanderous, bitter, and malevolent assaults that they have made and not expect that brutal and violent characters, especially when the brutality is accompanied by a not too strong mind; they cannot expect that such natures will be unaffected by it….

Don’t you pity me. I am all right. I am all right, and you cannot escape listening to my speech either….

I wish to say that the Progressive Party is making its appeal to all our fellow citizens without any regard to their creed or to their birthplace….

In New York, while I was Police Commissioner, the two men from whom I got the most assistance were Jacob Riis, who was born in Denmark, and Oliver von Briesen, who was born in Germany, both of them as fine examples of the best and highest American citizenship as you could find in any part of this country….

At one time I promoted five men for gallantry on the field of battle…. two of them were Protestants, two Catholics, and one a Jew. One Protestant came from Germany and one was born in Ireland. I did not promote them because of their religion, it just happened that way. If all of them had been Jews, I would have promoted them, or if all had been Protestants I would have promoted them, or if they had been Catholics….

I ask that in our civic life that we in the same way pay heed only to the man’s quality of citizenship—to repudiate as the worst enemy that we can have whoever tries to get us to discriminate for or against any man because of his creed or his birthplace…. in the same way I want our people to stand by one another without regard to differences of class or occupation. I have always stood by the labor unions…. It is essential that there should be organization of labor…..

Now, the Democratic party in its platform and through the utterances of Mr. Wilson has distinctly committed itself to the old flintlock, muzzle-loaded doctrine of States’ rights, and I have said distinctly we are for people’s rights. We are for the rights of the people. If they can be obtained best through National Government, then we are for national rights. We are for people’s rights however it is necessary to secure them.

Mr. Wilson has made a long essay against Senator Beveridge’s bill to abolish child labor. It is the same kind of argument that would be made against our bill to prohibit women from working more than eight hours a day in industry. It is the same kind of argument that would have to be made; if it is true, it would apply equally against our proposal to insist that in continuous industries there shall be by law one day’s rest in seven and three-shift eight-hour day….

I ask you to look at our declaration and hear and read our platform about social and industrial justice and then, friends, vote for the Progressive ticket without regard to me, without regard to my personality, for only by voting for that platform can you be true to the cause of progress throughout this Union.
Roosevelt recovered from the shooting, and his campaign lumbered to the most respectable losing third-party finish in presidential history.

He was right about the man who shot him. John Schrank probably was of weak mind, and influenced by the strong language common in 1912 casting Roosevelt as a messianic madman reaching for an unprecedented third term (Roosevelt had served almost all of McKinley’s second term; you can of course read more about this here).

Such people—such violent and pliable people—were out there, Roosevelt supposed; the thing to do was to conduct politics so that they did not think their violence wanted in the nation’s public affairs.

Not too long ago the Exceptional Case Study Project of the Secret Service compiled data on assassination and attempted assassinations in the United States; you can find it here. They defined “principal incidents”—assassination, attack, or approach with a lethal weapon—as the primary unit of analysis. They found 25 cases, or around one every two years, in which such an incident occurred involving the president.

Assume, as Roosevelt did, a population in which there are some weak-minded people, prone to violence. What makes such people fixate on a public figure? Roosevelt thought it could only be the language, bordering on incitement, with which it had become acceptable to attack public figures.

Today's Poll From 538

Palin's House NOT Built On The Up & Up

You are aware that Todd Palin suggested he built their house with some contractor friends. And remember Ted Stevens got some help with his house from contractor friends. Yes, they are apparently the same friends. And yes, it was not okay. Read it below....

The House That Todd Palin’s ‘Buddies’ Built


Posted on Oct 13, 2008

McCain's Guy Helped Saddam

Jay McDonough has the goods on McCain's transition cheif, William Timmons, who apparently helped Saddam Hussein. Glorious! Read it below...
McCain transition chief aided Saddam Hussein lobbying effort

by Jay McDonough

Following up on Cernig's post below:

It's no big secret John McCain has filled his campaign with lobbyists, and some have engaged in peddling influence for some pretty nefarious foreign entities. But the individual John McCain chose to head his transition team may take the prize.

William Timmons, along with two other lobbyists, worked on behalf of former Iraq president, Saddam Hussein, to ease international sanctions levied against the Saddam regime.
The two lobbyists who Timmons worked closely with over a five year period on the lobbying campaign later either pleaded guilty to or were convicted of federal criminal charges that they had acted as unregistered agents of Saddam Hussein's government.

During the same period beginning in 1992, Timmons worked closely with the two lobbyists, Samir Vincent and Tongsun Park, on a previously unreported prospective deal with the Iraqis in which they hoped to be awarded a contract to purchase and resell Iraqi oil. Timmons, Vincent, and Park stood to share at least $45 million if the business deal went through.

A U.N commission headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker conducted an exhaustive investigation of the oil-for-food program, in which various individuals were found to have paid illegal kickbacks to Saddam Hussein. The findings of the Volcker Commission detail the roles of Vincent, Park and Timmons in trying to ease the sanctions.

...when Timmons pressed the case even more aggressively that sanctions against Saddam's regime be eased, he, Vincent and Park hoped to profit as well, according to the Volcker report. "Continuing through 1994 and 1995, Mr. Vincent and Mr. Park, along with Mr. Timmons and others, persisted in their efforts to establish a foothold in the Iraqi oil business," the report stated.

At one point, Timmons even boasted to investigators that it was his ideas that later became the basis for the United Nations' oil-for-food program. (Link)
John McCain has hired William Timmons to work on his campaign staff. John McCain has hired a number of lobbyists with questionable work histories. John McCain casts a blind eye towards lobbyists who have been employed by some vile characters.

Kind of puts the whole William Ayers thing in a different perspective, doesn't it?

In The End It's The Means

Are we living beyond our means? Reich says yes, but...
Since the year 2000, median family income has been dropping, adjusted for inflation. One of the main reasons the typical family has taken on more debt has been to maintain its living standards in the face of these declining real incomes.
Read it
Post-Meltdown Mythologies (I): Americans Have Been Living Beyond Their Means

What brought on the economic meltdown of 2008? Besides the bursting of the housing bubble, Wall Street's malfeasance and non-feasance, and Washington's massive failure to oversee Wall Street, fingers are also being pointed at average Americans. Some of them took on mortgages they couldn't afford, of course, but we're also hearing a more basic theme that goes something like this: For too long, Americans have been living beyond our means. We went too deeply into debt. And now we're paying the inevitable price.

The "living beyond our means" argument, with its thinly-veiled suggestion of moral terpitude, is technically correct. Over the last fifteen years, average household debt has soared to record levels, and the typical American family has taken on more of debt than it can safely manage. That became crystal clear when the housing bubble burst and home prices fell, eliminating easy home equity loans and refinancings.

But this story leaves out one very important fact. Since the year 2000, median family income has been dropping, adjusted for inflation. One of the main reasons the typical family has taken on more debt has been to maintain its living standards in the face of these declining real incomes.

It's not as if the typical family suddenly went on a spending binge --- buying yachts and fancy cars and taking ocean cruises. No, the typical family just tried to keep going as it had before. But with real incomes dropping, and the costs of necessities like gas, heating oil, food, health insurance, and even college tuitions all soaring, the only way to keep going as before was to borrow more. You might see this as a moral failure, but I think it's more accurate to view it as an ongoing struggle to stay afloat when the boat's sinking.

The "living beyond our means" argument suggests that the answer over the long term is for American families to become more responsible and not spend more than they earn. Well, that may be necessary but it's hardly sufficient.

The real answer over the long term is to restore middle-class earnings so families don't have to go deep into debt to maintain what was a middle-class standard of living. And that requires, among other things, affordable health insurance, tax credits for college tuition, good schools, and an energy policy that's less dependent on oil, the price of which is going to continue to rise as demand soars in China, India, and elsewhere.

In other words, the way to make sure Americans don't live beyond their means is to give them back the means.


McCain And Liddy: They Share Principles

I think I mentioned this before, but McCain actually does pal around with terrorists. G. Gordon Liddy is a domestic terrorist and McCain joined him on his show in May of 2007 (not when McCain was 8, which is pre-history). Go read Carl Bernstein's post.
LIDDY: Your experience in the Hanoi Hilton is remarkable. I mean, I put in five years in a prison [for masterminding the Watergate burglary, and associated crimes], but it was here in the United States, and they didn't torture - the only torture that I had was being forced to listen to rap music from time to time.

McCAIN: Well, you know, I'm proud of you. I'm proud of your family. I'm proud to know your son, Tom, who's a great and wonderful guy. And it's always a pleasure for me to come on your program, Gordon. And congratulations on your continued success and adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great.
Care to expand on these principles and philosophies, John?

Well, I'll Be....

Ralph Stanley, old hillbilly-redneck and flatpicker endorses Obama.

Hitchens Endorses Obama

It's not glowing, but it's an endorsement! Here is the headline...
Vote for Obama
McCain lacks the character and temperament to be president.
And Palin is simply a disgrace.
By Christopher Hitchens

Krugman Wins Nobel

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - U.S. economist Paul Krugman, a fierce critic of the Bush administration for policies that he argues led to the current financial crisis, won the 2008 Nobel prize for economics on Monday.

The Nobel committee said the award was for Krugman's work that helps explain why some countries dominate international trade, starting with research published nearly 30 years ago.


Today's Poll From 538

Palin's People

A video report from the church where Gov. Sarah Palin was baptized.

This is the first original, on-the-ground video report from inside the church where Gov. Sarah Palin was baptized and spent over two decades as a member, the Wasilla Assembly of God. The video features the only known footage of the man who publicly anointed Palin for higher office, the Kenyan witch hunter Bishop Thomas Muthee, during his return to Wasilla this September. Though filming was not allowed, I managed to capture through hidden cameras Muthee's violent invocations against "The Enemy" and the "python spirits.” I also spoke with Rev. Howard Bess, whose book, "Pastor, I Am Gay," was removed from Wasilla's public library after Palin personally pressured the librarian. Those who embrace spiritual warfare see Palin as nothing less than the Anointed One, a modern day Queen Esther, as one anti-abortion protester told me on a rainy night in Anchorage. See for yourself.

I Made "Cool Teacher Of The Month"

This Brazen Teacher has decided to honor me and my blog by naming The Frustrated Teacher cool teacher of the month over at her blog.

I was honored to be interviewed, and now that I see it up, I am even more honored by Brazen's kind words. She has a way with words, uses more of them than me, and uses them better.

Go check out her blog, not just for my honorific presence there, but for Brazen's brazenness!

Bailout Blame: Not Fannie Or Freddie

Those who would like to blame poor people for the financial crisis need to read this from swimming freestyle. Maybe we can focus on the fix, instead of blame (since the blame is so misdirected)?
One more time; it wasn't Fannie and Freddie

On the campaign trail, or at least the one being traveled by the Republicans, the current economic crisis is all about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie and Freddie are singled out because it fits the narrative; "Hey, this mess isn't our fault. It's those Democrats who resisted regulating Fannie and Freddie". There's plenty of blame to go around here, both for Republicans and Democrats, especially as it relates to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But, as noted before, the two mortgage finance companies aren't the root of the problem.

A new McClatchy article places the blame for the mortgage financing debacle primarily within the private sector:
Subprime lending offered high-cost loans to the weakest borrowers during the housing boom that lasted from 2001 to 2007. Subprime lending was at its height vrom 2004 to 2006.

Federal Reserve Board data show that:

_ More than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions.

_ Private firms made nearly 83 percent of the subprime loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers that year.

_ Only one of the top 25 subprime lenders in 2006 was directly subject to the housing law that's being lambasted by conservative critics.
In fact, Fannie and Freddie weren't even as involved in the secondary mortgage market as has been assumed:
Between 2004 and 2006, when subprime lending was exploding, Fannie and Freddie went from holding a high of 48 percent of the subprime loans that were sold into the secondary market to holding about 24 percent, according to data from Inside Mortgage Finance, a specialty publication. One reason is that Fannie and Freddie were subject to tougher standards than many of the unregulated players in the private sector who weakened lending standards, most of whom have gone bankrupt or are now in deep trouble.

During those same explosive three years, private investment banks — not Fannie and Freddie — dominated the mortgage loans that were packaged and sold into the secondary mortgage market. In 2005 and 2006, the private sector securitized almost two thirds of all U.S. mortgages, supplanting Fannie and Freddie, according to a number of specialty publications that track this data.

Fannie and Freddie...struggled to keep pace with their private sector competitors. In fact, their regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, imposed new restrictions in 2006 that led to Fannie and Freddie losing even more market share in the booming subprime market.
It continues to be about at least some modicum of regulation. I can't think of a time in history when human greed went unchecked and things worked out well in the end.

From My Mother

This was forwarded to me from my mother. She's hip!

Official Announcement:

The federal government today announced that it is changing its emblem from an Eagle to a CONDOM because it more accurately reflects the government's political stance. A condom allows for inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, protects a bunch of pricks, and gives you a sense of security while you're actually being screwed!

Sunday Cartoon Fun

h/t Slate

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