"We should primary Obama, even if it's with a piece of fruit, a garden trowel, or Jane Hamsher."

Do You Know This Kid XXV? Updated


This young lady was born in Ukraine one year before my maternal grandmother (who was born in the 19th century). She moved to America, but became famous neither in America nor Ukraine. She was Jewish. She was loved. She was feared.

Update: Golda Meir was the 4th Prime Minister of Israel, and was considered "the best man in government" by David Ben-Gurion. Yeah, Jews are funny.  My good friend, Pat, who used to blog but now has a life, got this one.  And, as a good Jew (not by birth or choice, rather, he was married to one) all he said in his email to me was, "Golda."

Golda Meir

Do You Know This Kid XXIV? Updated

This famous American kid was born in 1858 and went on to great things. He is still regarded as totally awesome, and one of the coolest, toughest Americans ever.  If you can't get it by tonight, I will post another photo of him, a bit older, and looking much tougher.

Teddy Roosevelt

Update:  This mean looking dude is none other than Teddy Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States. As usual, Althea got it in about 4 seconds.


Captain Beefheart, R.I.P.

Don Van Vliet (pronounced /væn ˈvliːt/; born Don Glen Vliet,[2] January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American musician and visual artist best known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work was conducted with a rotating ensemble of musicians called The Magic Band, active between 1965 and 1982, with whom he recorded 12 studio albums. Noted for his powerful singing voice with its wide range,[3] Van Vliet also played the harmonica, saxophone and numerous other wind instruments. His music blended rock, blues and psychedelia with free jazz, avant-garde and contemporary experimental composition.[4] An iconoclastic mix of complex instrumentation, atonal melodies, and often humorously surreal lyrics, it was crafted through dictatorial control over his musicians and creative vision.

Friday Cartoon Fun: American Edition

Quote Of The Day: Chuck Rhee Cheese Edition

It's like Michelle Rhee scribbled for an hour on a tablecloth at Chuck E Cheese, and then Michael Madigan used the tablecloth as the agenda for this committee.
Tim Furman


DFER: The Real Billionaire Boys Club

L to R: David Einhorn, another hedge-funder on DFER’s advisory board, is president of Greenlight Capital, LLC; Board member Whitney Tilson is chief of T2 Partners and Tilson Funds and vice chair of New York’s KIPP Academy Charter Schools; Hedge-fund manager John Petry, a DFER board member, co-founded the Harlem Success Academy Charter School with Eva Moskowitz; DFER advisory board member Joel Greenblatt is a protégé of fallen junk-bond icon Michael Milken; Joe Williams heads Democrats for Education Reform and its sister organization, Education Reform Now.    
Who are these people? They don’t sound like Democrats.

If party registration and political donations indicate political allegiance, these DFER deep pockets are blue-blood Democrats. The group’s financial records show board members, advisers and the organization itself contributing heavily to Democratic campaigns as well as to the Democratic National Committee and its Senate and House election committees. However, when it suits their anti-union agenda, DFER leaders are only too happy to cross party lines and endorse Republicans, as DFER’s Whitney Tilson did in supporting Republican-Conservative Harry Wilson for New York State Comptroller against the victorious Democratic incumbent, Tom DiNapoli.

Can you name names?

Certainly. Among the group’s eight-person board is hedge-fund manager John Petry of Gotham Capital, who with Eva Moskowitz co-founded the Harlem Success Academy Charter School. The board also includes Tony Davis of Anchorage Capital, the board chair of Brooklyn’s Achievement First East New York school; Charles Ledley of Highfields Capital Management; and Tilson, chief of T2 Partners and Tilson Funds and vice chairman of New York’s KIPP Academy Charter Schools. Tilson alone gave $50,000 to the New York branch of DFER in the first half of 2010.

Of DFER’s seven-person advisory board, five manage hedge funds: David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital, LLC; Joel Greenblatt, founder and managing partner of Gotham Capital and past protégé of fallen junk-bond icon Michael Milliken; Vincent Mai, who chairs AEA Investors, LP; Michael Novogratz, president of Fortress Investment Group; and Rafael Mayer, the Khronos LLC managing partner and KIPP AMP charter school director.

Orbiting the group is billionaire “venture philanthropist” and charter school funder Eli Broad, whose foundation gave upwards of $500,000 to plug advocacy related to the documentary “Waiting for Superman,” and another charter-touting film, “The Lottery.” Though not himself a DFER board member, Broad is a major funder of Education Reform Now, DFER’s nonprofit sister organization, also headed by Joe Williams.

Meanwhile, Andrew Rotherman, recently retired DFER director and EduWonk blogger, is co-founder of and a partner in for-profit Bellwether Education, described as “offering specialized professional services and thoughtful leadership to the entrepreneurial education reform field.” Rotherman sits on the Broad Prize Review Board, while DFER board member Sara Mead is a senior associate partner at his Bellwether Education and sits on the Washington, D.C., Public Charter School Board.

Birds of a feather.

Blake Edwards, R.I.P.

Blake Edwards (July 26, 1922 – December 15, 2010) was an American film director, screenwriter and producer. In 2004, he received an Honorary Academy Award in recognition of his writing, directing and producing an extraordinary body of work for the screen.

Thursday Cartoon Fun: Yummy Edition

Hans Rosling's 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes

A very cool video that graphically shows the results of 200 years of imperialism, war, and peace. It's really good!

Charts Of The Day

Unicef issued a report (pdf) that pretty much shows that the U.S. is failing its most vulnerable, and that is why education is in the privateers' sights.


Tuesday Cartoon Fun: Scumbag Edition

Bernie Sanders, Hero, Writes Letter To DOJ In Opposition Of NBC/Comcast Merger

Doj Comcast/Sanders letter

Song Of The Day: Loser

Barton Hall, Cornell, 5-8-1977.  Jerry playing his Travis Bean.

Barton Hall, Cornell, 5-8-1977

If I had a gun for every ace I have drawn,
I could arm a town the size of Abilene
Don't you push me baby, because I'm holdin' low
And you know I'm only in it for the gold

All that I am asking for is ten gold dollars
And I could pay you back with one good hand
You can look around about the wide world over
And you'll never find another honest man.

Last fair deal in the country,Sweet Suzie,
Last fair deal in the town
Put your gold money where your love is baby,
Before you let my deal go down

Don't you push me baby, cause I'm holdin' low
And I know a little something you won't ever know
Don't you touch hard liquor, just a cup of cold coffee
Gotta get up in the morning and go

Everybody's prayin' and drinkin' that wine
I can tell the Queen of Diamonds by the way she shines
Come to daddy on the inside straight,
Well I got no chance of losin' this time

Last fair deal in the country,
Last fair deal in the town
Put your gold money where your love is baby,
Before you let my deal go down

Everybody's prayin' and drinkin' that wine
I can tell the Queen of Diamonds by the way she shines
Come to daddy on the inside straight,
Well I got no chance of losin' this time.


Richard Holbrooke, R.I.P.

Veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke, a special U.S. envoy on the Afghanistan war, died Monday after falling ill Friday from what doctors said was a tear in the large artery that moves blood from the heart.

His death came just hours after President Barack Obama had called Holbrooke "a towering figure in American foreign policy" who was a critical player in developing the administration's policy on Afghanistan.

Teachers Are Losing The Reform Battle

There. I said it. We are losing. As I read the blogs, newspaper articles, and comments left, I am seeing many folks resigned to the fact that reform, in the guise of charters, longer days, paternalistic pedagogy, and bribery, will continue until the last ounce of professional dignity among teachers is ground into bits by the boots of the oligarchs and their puppets in government.

I have no faith in the intelligence of those in charge. Look what they have done so far--hired a publisher as an educational leader for the largest school district in the country, published the names and rankings of teachers in L.A. of a widely regarded as crap measure of competence, fired hundreds of teachers, closed schools and replaced them with schools that are no better (how could they be?), and all led by a former b-baller turned top education officer in the richest country in the world(?).

I am finished with the reform movement. It is a scam, just like everything else rich people control.

It's time to take our schools away from those who are destroying them. It's time for a national strike.

I propose that no teacher return from Winter Break until some conditions are met:

1. End RTTT and NCLB.

2. Replace Arne Duncan with an educator.

3. Require charter schools to find their own buildings and not take them away from existing schools.

4. End high-stakes testing in favor of portfolios judged by teachers.

5. Raise starting pay of teachers to attract a better pool of talent--pay for it by taxing billionaires.

You with me?

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