Friday Bonus Cartoon Fun: This Place Sucks. Let's Stay Longer. Edition

Weed Is Basically Legal In California Now!

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) Thursday signed into law a bill that decriminalizes the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. The bill reduces simple possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction.

Currently, small-time pot possession is "semi-decriminalized" in California. There is no possible jail sentence and a maximum $100 fine. But because possession is a misdemeanor, people caught with pot are "arrested," even if that means only they are served a notice to appear, and they must appear before a court.

That has happened to more than a half million Californians in the last decade, and more than 60,000 last year alone. Every one of them required a court appearance, complete with judge and prosecutor. That costs the cash-strapped state money it desperately needs.

Under the bill signed today, SB 1449, by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), pot possession will be treated like a traffic ticket. The fine will remain at $100, and there will be no arrest record.

In a signing statement, Schwarzenegger said he opposed decriminalization for personal use—and threw in a gratuitous jab at Proposition 19, the tax and regulate marijuana legalization initiative—but that the state couldn't afford the status quo.

5 Things, Democrats...

Memo To: President Obama and the Democratic Party Leadership
Subject: 5 Things Dems Can Do to Turn It Around by November 2nd
1. Immediate Wall-to-Wall TV Ads, Internet Videos, and Appearances Hammering Who the Hell Put Us in the Misery We're In.
We Americans have very short attention spans (Quick: Who Won the Oscar for Best Picture last year? The World Series? Exactly.). People need to be reminded over and over that it was the REPUBLICANS who concocted and led the unnecessary invasion of two countries, putting us in our longest war ever, wars that will eventually cost us over $3 trillion. Bush and Co. also caused the biggest collapse of our economy since the Great Depression. I don't know a single person in Hollywood who wouldn't shoot and produce those spots for you for FREE. Dems: Do not pull a single punch on this. Quit being a bunch of wusses and let the bastards have it! The public will be astonished that you've found your courage and your spine. We expect you to be Muhammad Ali, not Ally McBeal.
2. Indict the Criminals.
Announce that the Justice Department will seek indictments against both those who caused the economic collapse and those who became war profiteers. Call it for what it is: organized crime. Use the RICO statutes. Use the basic laws that make fraud of any kind a crime. Get in the face of those who stole the billions, make them pay for it -- and the people will love you. We want Dirty Harry, not Dirty Dancing.
3. Announce a Moratorium on All Family Home Foreclosures.
Last month (August) there were more home foreclosures than in any month in U.S. history. Worse than any month in the worst year ever, 2009. The bleeding hasn't stopped -- it's only gotten worse. And now, this week, two of the largest crime organizations who are throwing hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes (GMAC and JPMorgan Chase) have been forced to momentarily stop doing this. It turns out, they don't really have the paperwork to prove they actually own these houses! It's madness. So if you do one thing for the middle class this week, do this. It will take an hour of your time to draw up the decree and issue it. We'd rather watch "It's a Wonderful Life" than "Poltergeist."
4. Announce a New 21st Century WPA.
"Who's hiring? THE GOVERNMENT IS HIRING!" Put together a simple plan to hire enough people to repair our roads, fix up our aging schools, and rebuild our infrastructure. Fund this by taxing the richest 1% who have more financial wealth than 95% of Americans combined! Unemployment will drop to 5%. Can you pass it? Well, you sure can't unless you try! And as you're trying, announce that you will force the Republican senators (who until now simply have had to say they "intended" to filibuster in order to kill a bill) to have to actually filibuster! Make them stand on the floor of the Senate and read from the phone book 24/7. They won't last a day. And America will see them for who they really are.
5. Declare That No Democrat Will Accept ANY Wall Street Money in the Next Election Cycle.
Pick a day in the coming week. Have all your fellow Democrats in Congress stand in front of the Capitol (with President Obama) and pledge that if America allows you to retain control of Congress, none of you will take a penny from Wall Street for the 2012 election. Instead, promise to accept donations of only $2, $5 and $10. You will also pledge not to take a job as a lobbyist or lawyer for ANY corporation for ten years after you leave Congress. The message will be a powerful one to the average American fed up with corrupt political hacks. Act like Honest Abe, not Fast Freddie -- and see what happens.
And here are two bonus suggestions: Use what sense of humor you have and go after these candidates and their agenda with all the hilarious ridicule they deserve. And quit complaining about "the base" not doing enough to help you. You want help? Do something this week to earn it. I've offered five suggestions. I'm sure the rest of "the base" has a few more.

Finland Is Fundamentally Different: They Are Far Less Brutal

Looking to Finland for answers to America's education situation is like looking to Beverly Hills for answers to our poverty problem.
When the rubes fly off to Finland [to learn how Finland became so educationally successful], there are certain basic questions they can’t get answered there! They can’t learn how Finland dealt with the types of challenges American school systems face. They can’t learn how Finland dealt with such issues, because Finland hasn’t dealt with such issues. Reason? The Finns never spent four hundred years brutalizing a racial minority. And Finland has no immigration.
The Daily Howler

Alan Grayson Explains Rampant Foreclosure Fraud

Friday Cartoon Fun: So Long, Rahm Edition


Tony Curtis, R.I.P.

From dressing in drag to posing nude for his 80th birthday, Tony Curtis truly was a defiant one.

He overcame early typecasting as a lightweight pretty boy to become a serious actor in such films as "Sweet Smell of Success," "Spartacus" and "The Defiant Ones," the latter earning him an Academy Award nomination.

He resisted obsolescence, continually reshaping himself and taking lesser roles to find steady work in a business that prizes youth. He subdued alcohol and drug addictions, lived through six marriages and five divorces, and found peace with a new art as a painter.

Greg Giraldo, R.I.P.

Comedian Greg Giraldo died today at the age of 44 -- five days after he was hospitalized for an overdose.

Greg had been hospitalized in New Brunswick, NJ after he overdosed on prescription pills last weekend. A source said the overdose was not a suicide attempt.


Hey Arne....

Atheists Know More About Religion Than You

A new Pew survey on religion in America finds that atheists and agnostics are more likely to be well-versed about different religions' beliefs and practices than people who profess a belief in those religions. For example, atheists and agnostics are more likely to know that during Communion (Catholicism's central rite), the wafer and wine are meant to transubstantiate into the literal flesh and blood of Christ -- they aren't merely symbolic, as 40% of Catholics believe. Atheists and agnostics are also more likely than Protestants to know that Martin Luther sparked the Protestant Reformation (the majority of Protestants could not identify him).

TFA Teachers Not "Highly Qualified"

A federal court has struck down a regulation that allows Teach for America teachers and others working towards alternative certification to count as “highly qualified” teachers under NCLB. Joshua Dunn and Martha Derthick wrote about the case in the Summer 2008 issue of Ed Next. “When a law and social realities are seriously at odds, as in this case, administrators must employ flexibility and ingenuity to make the law ‘work,’ or appear to,” they wrote.
Education Next

NBC Rivals FOX For Least Honest Media Outlet: Updated

Education Nation has reset their Facebook Page default view to be that of EN only. In my conversation with NBC a week ago (I am thinking of publishing the email exchange, even though it's not too exiting) they said they would change that, and to their credit, they did. But now they have reverted back to censoring the site. The default view is back to EN only, they are blocking and banning people again, and they are removing posts.  Maybe it's because I refused to take down Miseducation Nation.  With 230 members, I am sure we present a threat to their 10,000 strong propaganda effort.  Or not.

It is painfully clear that NBC had a chance to provide all kinds of information to the public to counter the many misconceptions about tenure, unions, and what it's like on the ground in an impoverished school that doesn't have the backing of rich dude.  Instead it was a teacher-bashing extravaganza where the voice of teachers was represented by near-children who have 1 year of teaching under their belt, yet are portrayed as the voice of millions.  No, we experienced teachers cringed when we heard these young, naive newbies claim they don't want tenure because with it they can't stay late to help kids.  Seriously, she said that.  And she is the solution?

Education Nation won't return my emails. They know they have power, and they are using it to silence me and those who agree with me.

They are too big to care. They don't want a punk like me, or Anthony Cody, posting anything on their page that counters the narrative they have bought into--teachers create poverty, or something.

NBC has screwed this pooch. They are now as bad as FOX.

Update:  Here is a screenshot of their excuse:


"A Red Herring, A Diversion" Says Diane Ravitch

Los Angeles Teacher Commits Suicide

SOUTH GATE, Calif. (KABC) -- An elementary school teacher from South Gate who mysteriously disappeared last week was found dead about 9 a.m. Sunday in the Angeles National Forest, authorities have confirmed.

The Coroner confirmed the body found by a search and rescue team near Big Tujunga Canyon Road is that of Rigoberto Ruelas, 39, a fifth grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary School.

Authorities said it is a suicide, but did not say how he killed himself. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

A car matching the one driven by Ruelas was parked nearby.

Ruelas' family became concerned when he failed to show up to work last week.

A teacher ratings report by the Los Angeles Times did not score Ruelas well. Family members said the teacher evaluation scores may have caused him to go missing.
I am very sensitive to teachers and suicide. Got both in the family. My heart goes out to the family and friends of Mr. Ruelas.  And good luck to all you teachers during this difficult time.  You should join us at Miseducation Nation where we are trying to convince the world that poverty is the disease, failing schools are just a symptom.

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