Ellsberg And Hoh On Afghanistan

Brave New Conversations:

Ted Sorenson On JFK

JFK died from an assassin's bullet 46 years ago today. Ted Sorenson writes at The Washington Note how JFK would perceive America today.
He would be gratified that the little daughter whom he adored had grown into a brilliant author, mother, and keeper of his flame; but disappointed that the Democratic Party, which he led and cherished, had become virtually as dependent as its opponents upon what Eisenhower called the "military-industrial complex" for campaign contributions, and the lobbying pressures that accompany them.

He would be disappointed, even astounded, that, despite his assassination and the crushing blows that followed - the assassinations of his brother Robert and his friend Dr. King, as well as the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan - this country is still awash in handguns easily available to terrorists, the criminally inclined, and the mentally impaired.
More at Ted's link.

The Washington Teacher Exposes Rhee. Again.

From The Washington Teacher
If you haven't read this already it is a 'must read' Examiner Exclusive by Byron York with Bill Myers contributing to the report. It reads like an episode from Dominick Dunne's TV show Power, Privilege and Justice. It confirms my belief that no 'reign of terror' lasts forever. I'd be interested to hear how you think this drama will play out. The Wash. Post has not covered this story in their newspaper not surprisingly to most of us. The story is only featured in their online blog while all other major newspapers worth their salt across the US are featuring this story as a head liner. I have posted the Examiner story in its entirety as well as links (below) from an article on this same subject by David Lipscomb of The Washington Times newspaper, Mike Debonis of the Washington City Paper, The Hill News, The NY Times, Sacramento news, Sacramento Bee, SCUSD Observer and L.A. Times.
Click her link for more (Link in quote is mine).

Bill Moyers Journal: LBJ's Path To War

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A Chart For Saturday

h/t Sully


Senator Feingold: "NCLB...Causing Problems In Schools"

GAO Study Shows Problematic Practices Like Teaching to the Test and Curriculum Narrowing Happening More Frequently in High-Poverty and High-Minority Schools

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Washington, D.C. – A government study released earlier this week, originally requested by U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, has found that problematic educational practices are occurring more frequently in some high-poverty and high-minority schools across the country. Feingold requested the report to examine teaching practices related to the No Child Left Behind education law. The report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was the result of legislation Feingold successfully passed through the Senate in 2007 requiring the GAO to study the techniques being used to prepare students to meet state standards and achieve on state standardized tests. Feingold released the following statement after the report was issued:

“This report reaffirms my concern that the No Child Left Behind Law’s one-size-fits-all approach and heavy focus on high-stakes testing is causing problems in schools, particularly schools that serve our most disadvantaged students. The study found that problematic teaching practices like teaching to the test and spending more time on test preparation are happening more frequently in high-poverty and high-minority schools, many of which already have less access to high-quality teachers and resources than more affluent schools. While responsible testing is an important part of measuring achievement and holding schools accountable, it should not come at the expense of providing students a well-rounded education that prepares them for success later in life.

“GAO did find that some schools have responded to NCLB in more positive ways such as lengthening the school day and creating more opportunities for parental involvement in schools. As Congress prepares to undertake the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind, we should support these more positive interventions. But Congress should also look seriously at the troubling findings in this report about the toll that high-stakes testing is taking on disadvantaged students. That is why I am pushing two key reforms of the federal testing mandate - supporting the development of higher quality tests and ensuring students and schools are measured by more than test scores. These are objectives the Obama administration supports and ones I will work to include in whatever education reform legislation Congress passes.”
h/t Mike Klonsky


Wednesday Cartoon Bonus Fun: Going Rogue Edition

Wednesday Cartoon Fun: Gitmo Detainee Edition

Reich On The Wall Street Mirage

From Bob Reich:
Caterpillar earned $404 million in the third quarter, or 64 cents a share. Analysts had expected only 5 cents. Caterpillar’s stock is up 165 percent since March. How did Caterpillar do it? Not by selling more bulldozers. It did it by cutting over 37,000 jobs.

The result, overall, is an asset-based recovery, not a Main Street recovery. Yes, the economy is growing again, but the surge in productivity is a mirage. Worker output per hour is skyrocketing because companies are generating almost as much output with fewer workers and fewer hours.

The Fed, meanwhile, has become an enabler to all this, making it as cheap as possible for companies to axe their employees. Money costs so little these days it’s easy to substitute capital for labor. It’s also easy to buy up foreign assets with cheap American money. And it’s now blissfully easy for Wall Street to borrow money almost free and buy all sorts of interests in foreign assets, especially commodities. That's why we're seeing the prices of foreign commodities and other assets go through the roof.

At the same time, the Treasury continues to be fixated on keeping banks afloat. The Administration's mortgage mitigation efforts are lagging. Small businesses are starved of credit. The White House has announced a "jobs summit," which is better than nothing but not nearly as good as pushiing immediately for a larger stimulus, a new jobs tax credit, and a WPA-style jobs program.

The Fed and the Teasury have, in effect, placed a huge bet on a recovery driven by asset prices. That’s a bad bet. The great disconnect between the stock market and jobs is pushing stock prices way out of line with the real economy. This isn't sustainable.

Corporate America's Answer To Everything: Re-Brand It!

Peter Cunningham, an assistant to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Duncan's communications manager in Chicago, is all nice and cozy with WaPo's Jay Mathews (for the record, Melinda Gates is on the board of the WaPo Co.). Peter, Jay claims, has asked him about soliciting ideas for renaming No Child Left Behind. Not changing the law, just re-branding it.

h/t Ken Libby

If You're Getting Raped, Don't Fight It; Work With It!

From Jim Horn:
Speaking to a student who had asked whether it's fair to use test scores to measure schools when some students don't speak English well, Mrs. Obama said the tests are "part of the system" and can't be avoided.

"You can fight the tests, or you can work with them and turn them into an advantage," she said.
So, then, Mrs. Obama, there is nothing we can do as a society about the testocracy we have created, but there is something that children can do to turn these abusive and unethical sorting instruments into "an advantage."

Please do say more about that, because I do not know and I do not know anyone who knows what you are talking about. What we do know, if we were to believe the stupidity to which you subscribe, is that all the poor, black, brown, immigrant, and disabled children in America will be proficient in reading and math by 2014, which is a full year ahead of your husband's pledge to eliminate hunger in America by 2015. Perhaps we should set that proficiency target back by a year so the two will coincide, and then we can have one big celebration together.


Facts? He Don't Need No Stinking Facts

I'm with Fred:
A study out of Arizona, a state where %10 percent of the students attend charter schools and where a quarter of the schools are charters demonstrates once again that, on the whole, they do not perform as well as traditional public schools.

That’s it. I’m done with these reports.

It is clear that facts don’t matter. Arne Duncan, the US Department of Education, the Race to the Top are committed to charter school expansion and no report is going to change it.


War Creates Foster Children

I can't believe this story:
US Army Specialist Alexis Hutchinson, a single mother, is being threatened with a military court-martial if she does not agree to deploy to Afghanistan, despite having been told she would be granted extra time to find someone to care for her 11-month-old son while she is overseas.

Hutchinson, of Oakland, California, is currently being confined at Hunter Army Airfield near Savannah, Georgia, after being arrested. Her son was placed into a county foster care system.

Sunday Cartoon Bonus Fun: Don't Ask Edition

Sunday Cartoon Fun: Need Work Edition

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