Saturday Super Duper Bonus Cartoon Fun: Goldman Sachs Edition

Saturday Super Bonus Cartoon Fun: Public Works Edition

Saturday Bonus Cartoon Fun: Myth Busted Edition

Saturday Cartoon Fun: Not Very Original Edition

Data Driven To Madness

Data. The bane of teachers.
Your Data Dream. My Data Nightmare.

One of my greatest frustrations as a teacher is listening to those who work beyond the classroom dream up brilliant plans for reforming schools that are simply impossible to implement because they’re dependent on new resources that no one is willing to provide.

Take the constant drumbeat around “data informed decision-making” as a case in point.

Poke your nose into any conversation about teaching and learning and you’re bound to hear “how easy it would be to improve education” in our country if schools were just willing to “confront the brutal facts” about student achievement.

The best teachers and learning teams are “hungry for facts,” prognosticators will argue. They take an “action orientation” towards numbers, looking for “trends and patterns” that can inform their instruction.

And of course, someone is BOUND to throw out the ever-popular argument that our schools need to take a more “business-like approach to data.”

More at the link.


Slowly But Surely...

I am sure it is hard to be Catholic, especially these days. Andrew Sullivan has been struggling with the cognitive dissonance that is religion and reality for quite some time. Here it appears he has finally grasped something we free-thinkers have thought for a while: thinking is not allowed in the church.
The hierarchy cannot grapple with these obvious facts of life and human nature. Because it would require re-thinking the dogma in their bunker. And thinking is not allowed in Benedict's church - at least thinking not done by the Pope.
Time to abandon religion to the trash heap of primitivism, or something.



Well, It's About Time!

WASHINGTON (AP)- President Barack Obama is issuing a directive he says will make it easier for hospital patients, particularly gays and lesbians, to receive visitors and choose who will make medical decisions on their behalf.

Obama is asking the Health and Human Services secretary to begin the process of putting in place federal rules to ensure that hospitals respect the rights of patients to designate visitors. The order covers hospitals receiving Medicare or Medicaid.

Federal Judge: Day of Prayer Unconstitutional

Federal judge rules Day of Prayer unconstitutional

MADISON, Wis. — A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional Thursday, saying the day amounts to a call for religious action.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote that the government can no more enact laws supporting a day of prayer than it can encourage citizens to fast during Ramadan, attend a synagogue or practice magic.
"In fact, it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual's decision whether and when to pray," Crabb wrote.

Thursday Bonus Cartoon Fun: What Would Benedict Do? Edition

Thursday Bonus Cartoon Fun: Nuclear Security Edition

Crist Vetoes SB 6

Governor Charlie Crist has vetoed SB 6.  Jim Horn has the details.

Thursday Cartoon Fun: Arrest The Pope Edition

Don't miss out!  Join the Arrest The Pope Facebook page!


Federal Judge Orders End To Segregated Schools. Again.

Miss. county schools ordered to comply with desegregation order

A federal judge Tuesday ordered a rural county in southwestern Mississippi to stop segregating its schools by grouping African American students into all-black classrooms and allowing white students to transfer to the county's only majority-white school, the U.S. Justice Department announced.
More at the link.

Tuesday Bonus Cartoon Fun: Freedom Edition

Chicago Public Schools Lie And Cheat

Chicago public schools keep phantom students on their rolls:
Terrence Figures was enrolled as a senior last year at B.E.S.T. High School, formerly known as James H. Bowen High School, but he says he dropped out. That is when he became a "ghost student."

"I was never there," Figures said.

Spring 2009 attendance records for Figures show he was marked as "present" on days that he says he was not in school.

"That was a lie because I was off working," Figures said.
h/t MK

Tuesday Cartoon Fun: Nuclear Edition


"Private Affluence, Public Squalor"

From Tony Judt:
...To understand the depths to which we have fallen, we must first appreciate the scale of the changes that have overtaken us. From the late nineteenth century until the 1970s, the advanced societies of the West were all becoming less unequal. Thanks to progressive taxation, government subsidies for the poor, the provision of social services, and guarantees against acute misfortune, modern democracies were shedding extremes of wealth and poverty.

To be sure, great differences remained. The essentially egalitarian countries of Scandinavia and the considerably more diverse societies of southern Europe remained distinctive; and the English-speaking lands of the Atlantic world and the British Empire continued to reflect long-standing class distinctions. But each in its own way was affected by the growing intolerance of immoderate inequality, initiating public provision to compensate for private inadequacy.

Over the past thirty years we have thrown all this away. To be sure, “we” varies with country. The greatest extremes of private privilege and public indifference have resurfaced in the US and the UK: epicenters of enthusiasm for deregulated market capitalism. Although countries as far apart as New Zealand and Denmark, France and Brazil have expressed periodic interest in deregulation, none has matched Britain or the United States in their unwavering thirty-year commitment to the unraveling of decades of social legislation and economic oversight.

In 2005, 21.2 percent of US national income accrued to just 1 percent of earners. Contrast 1968, when the CEO of General Motors took home, in pay and benefits, about sixty-six times the amount paid to a typical GM worker. Today the CEO of Wal-Mart earns nine hundred times the wages of his average employee. Indeed, the wealth of the Wal-Mart founder’s family in 2005 was estimated at about the same ($90 billion) as that of the bottom 40 percent of the US population: 120 million people...

An Oldie But Goodie: F#ck The South

There are more rants here.
November 3, 2004

Fuck the South. Fuck 'em. We should have let them go when they wanted to leave. But no, we had to kill half a million people so they'd stay part of our special Union. Fighting for the right to keep slaves - yeah, those are states we want to keep.

And now what do we get? We're the fucking Arrogant Northeast Liberal Elite? How about this for arrogant: the South is the Real America? The Authentic America. Really?

Cause we fucking founded this country, assholes. Those Founding Fathers you keep going on and on about? All that bullshit about what you think they meant by the Second Amendment giving you the right to keep your assault weapons in the glove compartment because you didn't bother to read the first half of the fucking sentence? Who do you think those wig-wearing lacy-shirt sporting revolutionaries were? They were fucking blue-staters, dickhead. Boston? Philadelphia? New York? Hello? Think there might be a reason all the fucking monuments are up here in our backyard?

No, No. Get the fuck out. We're not letting you visit the Liberty Bell and fucking Plymouth Rock anymore until you get over your real American selves and start respecting those other nine amendments. Who do you think those fucking stripes on the flag are for? Nine are for fucking blue states. And it would be 10 if those Vermonters had gotten their fucking Subarus together and broken off from New York a little earlier. Get it? We started this shit, so don't get all uppity about how real you are you Johnny-come-lately "Oooooh I've been a state for almost a hundred years" dickheads. Fuck off.

Arrogant? You wanna talk about us Northeasterners being fucking arrogant? What's more American than arrogance? Hmmm? Maybe horsies? I don't think so. Arrogance is the fucking cornerstone of what it means to be American. And I wouldn't be so fucking arrogant if I wasn't paying for your fucking bridges, bitch.

All those Federal taxes you love to hate? It all comes from us and goes to you, so shut up and enjoy your fucking Tennessee Valley Authority electricity and your fancy highways that we paid for. And the next time Florida gets hit by a hurricane you can come crying to us if you want to, but you're the ones who built on a fucking swamp. "Let the Spanish keep it, it’s a shithole," we said, but you had to have your fucking orange juice.

The next dickwad who says, "It’s your money, not the government's money" is gonna get their ass kicked. Nine of the ten states that get the most federal fucking dollars and pay the least... can you guess? Go on, guess. That’s right, motherfucker, they're red states. And eight of the ten states that receive the least and pay the most? It’s too easy, asshole, they’re blue states. It’s not your money, assholes, it’s fucking our money. What was that Real American Value you were spouting a minute ago? Self reliance? Try this for self reliance: buy your own fucking stop signs, assholes.

Let’s talk about those values for a fucking minute. You and your Southern values can bite my ass because the blue states got the values over you fucking Real Americans every day of the goddamn week. Which state do you think has the lowest divorce rate you marriage-hyping dickwads? Well? Can you guess? It’s fucking Massachusetts, the fucking center of the gay marriage universe. Yes, that’s right, the state you love to tie around the neck of anyone to the left of Strom Thurmond has the lowest divorce rate in the fucking nation. Think that’s just some aberration? How about this: 9 of the 10 lowest divorce rates are fucking blue states, asshole, and most are in the Northeast, where our values suck so bad. And where are the highest divorce rates? Care to fucking guess? 10 of the top 10 are fucking red-ass we're-so-fucking-moral states. And while Nevada is the worst, the Bible Belt is doing its fucking part.

But two guys making out is going to fucking ruin marriage for you? Yeah? Seems like you're ruining it pretty well on your own, you little bastards. Oh, but that's ok because you go to church, right? I mean you do, right? Cause we fucking get to hear about it every goddamn year at election time. Yes, we're fascinated by how you get up every Sunday morning and sing, and then you're fucking towers of moral superiority. Yeah, that's a workable formula. Maybe us fucking Northerners don't talk about religion as much as you because we're not so busy sinning, hmmm? Ever think of that, you self-righteous assholes? No, you're too busy erecting giant stone tablets of the Ten Commandments in buildings paid for by the fucking Northeast Liberal Elite. And who has the highest murder rates in the nation? It ain't us up here in the North, assholes.

Well this gravy train is fucking over. Take your liberal-bashing, federal-tax-leaching, confederate-flag-waving, holier-than-thou, hypocritical bullshit and shove it up your ass.

And no, you can't have your fucking convention in New York next time. Fuck off.

Senate Confirmation Rules



- - - -

1. Whenever the name of a nominee shall be submitted, its introduction shall, if objected to, be postponed for one day or, if there are no objections, for two days.

2. (a) When the name of a nominee has been introduced, the Presiding Officer, having taken the chair, and a quorum being present, shall immediately bring the chair back from wherever he has taken it, unless by motion the return of the chair shall be waived, the question being, "Shall the Presiding Officers bring back the chair he took?" which question shall be deemed privileged and proceeded with until disposed of, i.e. the question, not the chair, excepting as provided for in subparagraph (b).

(b) The chair itself can also be disposed of, too, sure, in the event that the Presiding Officer's doctor said this might be better for his back.

3. (a) The 'chair question' having been satisfactorily resolved, the Senate shall proceed immediately to an up or down vote on the nominee, excepting as provided for in subparagraph (b).

(b) Just kidding, the Senate will not proceed immediately to a vote. First, the President must submit the recommended forms, 'recommended' in this case meaning whatever forms each Senator happens to request. The recommended (i.e. required) forms may include but are totally totally not limited to:

• Certificate of Appointment of Nominee

• Certificate of Authenticity of Certificate of Appointment of Nominee

• Certificate of Authenticity for At Least Two Items of Sports Memorabilia (e.g. Significant Home Run Ball and Lock of Athlete's Hair)

• Certificate of Deposit of Monies into Coffers of Requesting Senator's Home State

• Certificate of Ownership of a 1991 Mazda Protégé

• Photo of the President Shaking Hands with a Firefighter

The President may, if he so chooses, divide his staff into two teams to complete the scavenger hunt. The winning team shall receive a pizza party.

(c) The required recommended forms having been duly submitted, their introduction shall immediately, and without delay, be postponed indefinitely until such time as everyone sort of has the sense that it's been long enough. Whatever. It's not a science. You sort of know it when you feel it.

4. Vacay! Everyone takes six weeks off.

5. Okay. So. Each member of the Senate having used the forms as they see fit, for instance as kindling, or to write reminders on the back of to themselves of stuff they might otherwise have forgotten to do, the Senate shall now at long last proceed, immediately, to an up or down vote on the, haha, no, but really, they are nowhere near voting at this point, just relax, okay? So, no, seriously guys, next this happens:

6. (a) The Nominee having been brought before the Senate for questioning, and having answered three riddles of increasingly fiendish complexity, and thus not having been devoured by the Manticore, shall immediately, and without any delay whatsoever, begin counting to fifty million billion trillion. During which counting, the Presiding Officer shall announce, "And if you mess up, guess what, you get devoured by the Manticore."

(b) In absence of a Manticore (like, say, if they've been hunted to extinction, because someday it will be a long time from now and we, the Founding Fathers who are writing these Rules and Regulations, have a lot of foresight, and let's face it anything can happen) the Presiding Officer may simply smite the Nominee with his cutlass blade. If people aren't even using cutlasses anymore, well, then, we're at a loss. Next you'll be telling me that one of the Presidents coming up a long time from now will be Ronald Reagan. The actor.

7. Roll the dice. If you roll a six, return to step 2. If you roll anything other than a six, return to step 1.

8. Seriously, what are things like in the future? Like, if you're not using cutlasses anymore, then how the heck do people kill each other? Probably with some kind of laboratorium scientifico freeze ray, right? And I bet you don't even walk from place to place anymore but rather fly around on the backs of your slaves. Actually, slightly more than half of us are pretty sure that slavery is wrong, so we're assuming that we eventually found the courage to abolish it, probably with little or no fuss, but in case we pussed out and it's still around, I guess you could make good arguments on both sides. Well, that's not true, but who knows? Like we said before anything is possible. We still have freaking Manticores back here

9. Thusly, with all of the above rules having been correctly followed and all requirements having been met, the Senate shall, at that very instant, pausing neither for breath nor something alliterative with 'breath' that we'll add in later when we think of it... bone, maybe? No, that doesn't make sense. But anyhow, right away, and for real this time, the Senate shall vote on the Nominee. And they shall vote 'No.' Better luck next time, Mr. President.

Blame The Neo-Liberals For School Privatization

Doug Noon at Borderland is one of my favorite edubloggers. He's up there in Alaska, near Russia.

Doug posts about once a week, maybe more, maybe less. He has two posts up this week that I think are pretty important.

This post is a must read. In it he quotes Lois Weiner's response to Diane Ravitch's new and important book. Lois has a different take on how we got here. She blames neoliberals, those free-market lovers who think the market can solve all our ills. She has a point, and you need to hear it. I have embedded the video that Doug transcribed--Lois begins at about 22 minutes in, after Diane Ravitch.

The second post Doug has up discusses the RTTT/ESEA nonsense through the Weiner-inspired lense now available to us, thanks to Doug.

Total Pageviews