Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Must Read: A retired teacher talks about Teacher evaluations


Courtesy of HuffPo:

Ostensibly, the policy of evaluating teachers on their students' performance is designed to improve public schools by holding teachers accountable. However, by refusing to take into account several factors which impede student learning and over which teachers have no control, this policy is, in essence, a punitive measure, a political weapon, a pre-emptive strike against teachers, intended to demoralize and drive them out of the teaching profession. 

Moreover, when linked to merit pay, a divide-and-conquer strategy to pit teacher against teacher, this evaluation attempts to destabilize and weaken the National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest labor union with its three million members, a development not unwelcome to corporate America. 

Why has this happened? Connect the dots: 

(1) Every year hundreds of billions in federal, state and local tax revenue support America's public schools and their teachers. 

(2) How divert those billions into the hands of privatizers, charter schools, and their corporate sponsors? 

The casual, idiotic racism of our American Conservatives


The Casual, Idiotic Racism of Modern American Conservatism

Many exhibit a worldview that is (whether consciously or not), white supremacist to the core.

A 12 Step Program to cure America of its war addiction


A 12-Step Program to Cure America of Its War Addiction

It's time to admit we have a problem.

Monday, June 29, 2015

President Obama is one of the most consequential Presidents in History after last week


From Vox.com:
After Thursday's Supreme Court ruling, there's no longer any doubt: Barack Obama is one of the most consequential presidents in American history — and he will be a particularly towering figure in the history of American progressivism.
...When you consider the (Affordable Care Act) law in the context of 100 years of progressive activism, and in the grand scheme of American history, it starts to look less like a moderate reform and more like an epochal achievement, on the order of FDR's passage of Social Security, or LBJ's Great Society programs. It is, to quote Harvard political scientist Theda Skocpol, "a century-defining accomplishment in the last industrial democracy to resist using national government to ensure access to health coverage for most citizens."  FDR failed, Truman failed, Nixon failed, Carter failed, Clinton failed — and Obama succeeded. He filled in the one big remaining gap in the American welfare state when all his forerunners couldn't.

5 Years of wrong predictions about Obamacare: Short and sweet by John Oliver


John Oliver combines 5 years of wrong predictions about Obamacare into one video

Since Oklahoma legalized POT for medical use: these kids have not had seizures


Since Oklahoma Legalized Cannabis Oil, These Two Children Have Been Seizure Free

Denying sick children and adults the potential to treat themselves is criminal

Media ignoring the news at POT medicinal benefits.


The people in state after state are voting to legalize POT and the medical benefits are becoming clearer and clearer but the media is silent on it.

Why the Media Can't Get Its Story Straight About the Amazing Medical Potential of Cannabis

The press reports on the JAMA meta-analysis of cannabinoid research were all over the place. Most of them missed the story.

I was at 6000 feet in Northern Nevada.

I spent time at Pole Creek, NV checking out my old stomping grounds.  I saw 4 antelope, the old FS buildings and the caretaker.

I lived up at this place for 2 or 3 weeks and helped scientists with their studies.  I even got to go out in the field and do various studies with them.  We would than relax at the fire and drink a beer when they left.  It is a pretty amazing place.  I am so very glad to go back and see it again.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Ignoring of Right Wing Terrorists continues


Does U.S. Ignore Right-Wing Terror? More Killed by White Extremists Than Jihadists Since 9/11

Non-Muslims have carried out 19 terrorist attacks since September 11, 2001.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A great response to a Bible Thumper. Well worth your time.


Jon Stewart did a skit recently that exposed the hypocrisy of Bible thumperslike Mike Huckabee. While his skit was epic and funny, Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlet was epic in his excoriation of the biblical hypocrisy of hate spewing Right Wing Evangelical Christians.
President Bartlet (of The West Wing fame), turns this talk show host’s weapon, the Bible, against her. He shows how presenting the truth in an unabashed objective fact based manner can stop perpetrators of hate in their tracks.
Of course they will regroup in an attempt to maintain their modus operandi. After-all, most of those leading and promoting these types of issues are not doing it out of conviction. They are doing it to enrich themselves on the ignorance of those that follow them.

Republican Inhumanity exposed with reaction to SCOTUS Obamacare ruling


GOP are a sad lot of people.

Republicans and conservatives spend no small amount of their time preaching that America is a Christian nation, or trumpeting their own Christian bona fides at every opportunity to whomever is unfortunate enough to have to listen to them. For any reasonable human being who has rudimentary knowledge of the Christian religion and more specifically the teachings of the faith’s namesake Jesus Christ, it is an abomination that people that are innately cruel and inhumane would have the temerity to claim they are followers of a historical figure who preached to do anything possible, including selling all their belongings, to care for other human beings.
That idea of compassion, or humanity for other human beings, particularly American human beings, has become anathema to Republicans and conservatives over the past six years and of all the various ways it has been made manifest is a burning desire to deny basic medical care to tens of millions of Americans. On Thursday after the Supreme Court ruled that about 8 million Americans can continue getting pathetically-minimal tax credits to help purchase health insurance, Americans were treated to the true measure of Republican and conservative inhumanity and cruelty towards American citizens.

Pro Life and Abstinence Spokesman, Bristol Palin is pregnant again and NOT MARRIED.


So yesterday we learned that Bristol has learned absolutely NOTHING about birth control in the six and a half years since Tripp's birth. (Wow! Are there really over 700 comments on that post?)

Sometime after the initial spate of giggles died down people began focusing on the fact mentioned in the above graphic of Bristol's almostshocking hypocrisy. (Some of the best comments can be found here onthis comment thread from Reddit.)

Columnist Dan Savage also mentioned the hypocrisy of the Right Wing and in particular Fox News:

If Bristol Palin's last name was "Obama" the whole Hee Haw gang at Fox News would spend half of every day for the next nine months telling us that Bristol Obama has terrible parents—"Maybe Michelle should be less concerned with what your kids are eating and more concerned with what her kids are doing!"—and the other half of the day pretending to fret over the terrible example that Bristol Obama was setting for other African American women and girls. But unplanned pregnancies and kids in fatherless homes and two different children by two different fathers? 

There are some great comments on the Immoral Minority blog.

DEBUNKED: 6 Myths pushed by FOX on why Billionaires should not pay higher taxes


6 Myths Pushed by Fox News to Ensure Rich Don't Pay Fair Share: Debunked

Obama's proposal to let tax cuts for wealthy Americans expire will grow the economy and is supported by a majority of Americans. So of course Fox News is in frantic spin mode.

Maher rips Republicans: new GOP saying should be: EAT SHIT AND DIE


Bill Maher closed Real Time on Friday by ripping GOP lawmakers — and Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe in particular — for their efforts to stifle not only research, but basic food labeling information.
“Remember this a*shole?” Maher said before displaying a picture of Inhofe and explaining that Inhofe threatened to convene hearings he said would counter NASA’s “bias” regarding climate change research.

Colbert roasts Justice Scalia then dares him to be a guest on the Late Show


“Wow, history moves fast,” Colbert said. “It’s hard to believes that gays achieved full constitutional personhood just five years after corporations did.”

Taking a vacation - then back to work.

I have not worked (volunteered quite a bit) since June of 2014.

I start back to work in a remote village in Alaska on June 30, 2015.  I fly from Oregon to Barrow, AK on July 29.

In a village, there is no driving of a car.  So, I like to take a long winding trip before I start the village adventure.  I take off some time today with some general destinations in my mind,  I spend the time getting used to being alone.  I will be going to the Pole Creek area of Nevada and then wander around before I get on a train back to Portland.

I also have to spend a day or two in a hotel to work on my paperwork for Alaska.  I have been putting it off.  There is not a lot of comparisons to city living to village living.  I will be among people I do not know.  I will be a minority.  I will be seen as wealthy.  In Emmonak, AK, when I was there, I found out that I lived in luxury which only a few in the village knew.  I had hot water on demand, shower, indoor toilet, unlimited heat (a biggie at 30 below) and a washer and dryer.  It was toward the end of my stay at Emo that I found out that most people don't have indoor plumbing.

Before I move on to village living, I am just taking out to drive, see and prepare for the time away.

What do I pack, go buy food and box it up and send it off.

I am amazed at how quickly this summer is passing.

I am meeting folks for the 4th of July in the desert.

Wishing you well.

PS:  Once I get to the village, there will be regular, (maybe daily) pictures and stories of my village experience.

Start Your Day with President Obama singing Amazing Grace, a great start to a day


What a wonderful tribute to the fallen by our President.
President Obama attended Rev. Clementa Pinckney's funeral in Charleston, South Carolina on Friday and delivered a moving version of "Amazing Grace" in the middle of his touching eulogy. 

Rev. Pinckney was a state senator and one of the nine victims of the tragic shooting that occurred in the church where his funeral took place. "If we can find that grace, anything is possible," Obama stated to the congregation. "If we can tap that grace, everything can change." 

After a moment of solemn silence, Obama began singing "Amazing Grace" a cappella before the choir, attendees and musicians joined in for the performance. Afterwards, the president stated that each of the victims had "found that grace," naming all nine individually. "May God continue to shed his grace on the United States of America," he concluded. 

A black man and white woman switch microphones - Amazing


We live in a world where we talk at each other.  This is fast paced but quite good and hopefully it will get you to think.

Constant Childhood Trauma can cause serious health problems in later years


I found this study to be very interesting.

The science is clear: Early adversity dramatically affects health across a lifetime. Today, we are beginning to understand how to interrupt the progression from early adversity to disease and early death, and 30 years from now, the child who has a high ACE score and whose behavioral symptoms go unrecognized, whose asthma management is not connected, and who goes on to develop high blood pressure and early heart disease or cancer will be just as anomalous as a six-month mortality from HIV/AIDS. People will look at that situation and say, "What the heck happened there?" This is treatable. This is beatable. The single most important thing that we need today is the courage to look this problem in the face and say, this is real and this is all of us. I believe that we are the movement.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Is Calif going to legalize marijuana? May happen. Game Changer in the Drug Wars


Drug War Game Changer: Is California Going to Legalize Marijuana?

Momentum is building for 2016 -- and an impressive coalition of reformers, advocates and industry leaders are working together.

How the GOP took over the Gun Control meme after the Charleston Church Shootings


How Republicans Hijacked the Gun-Control Conversation After the Charleston Massacre

By ranting and raving about "politicizing a tragedy," GOP contenders served their own craven political purposes.

Mom has medical marijuana: State takes son, mom may get 30 years in prison: This is just wrong.


Mom Has Son Snatched by Gov't and Faces 30 Years in Prison for Medical Marijuana

What's happened to Shona Banda shouldn't happen to anybody.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

GOP Presidential Candidates infuriated at the crushing defeat on Obamacare Ruling


Kentucky Senator Rand Paul blasted the ruling complaining:
This decision turns both the rule of law and common sense on its head. Obamacare raises taxes, harms patients and doctors, and is the wrong fix for America’s health care system.
I am disappointed by today’s Supreme Court ruling in the King v. Burwell case. But this decision is not the end of the fight against Obamacare … I will work with Congress to repeal and replace this flawed law with conservative reforms that empower consumers with more choices and control over their health care decisions.
I disagree with the Court’s ruling and believe they have once again erred in trying to correct the mistakes made by President Obama and Congress in forcing Obamacare on the American people. Despite the Court’s decision, Obamacare is still a bad law that is having a negative impact on our country and on millions of Americans.

278 Fires Burning in Alaska


278 Fires burning in Alaska as G7 study says Climate should be Top Priority in Foreign Policy

ACA is upheld by the Supreme Court: President Obama Speaks


The President Just Celebrated Obamacare’s Historic Victory at the Supreme Court Like Only He Can

"This was a good day for America."

New Study: Higher Rates of Gun Ownership translates to more violent crime.


New Study Is Latest to Find That Higher Rates of Gun Ownership Lead to Higher Rates of Violent Crime

Data shows that states with the top rates of gun possession have nearly three times the rate of gun murders compared to states with the fewest guns.

Donald Trump fined over a million dollars for his wig


I guess The Donald used an endangered species on that rag on his head, so Trump got a Big Fine.  It sounds like the wig cost $800,000 to buy.  Poor Donald

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

This is beautiful: Michael Moore nails every war-monger, right wing christian, racist , and gun entremist in one tweet


Filmmaker, director, writer, and Liberal activist, Michael Moore took to his Twitter page last week to give his thoughts on the Charleston shooting. The acclaimed filmmaker of many award-winning documentaries, including the anti-gun violence, Bowling For Columbine.tweeted a sentence that put the full scope of Right Wing extremism into its proper place of chronic, historical hypocrisy.

One proud White American, in less than 2 minutes, has killed TWICE as many Americans as ISIS has in 2 years. White Terrorists. .

Alaska is on fire: Many Wild Fires going on.


Hey, you know when I said that we were on fire? Yeah, that might have been an understatement.

This is a current map of the fires now raging all over Alaska.

You know it is actually almost harder to find a place that is NOT on fire.

Lewis Black gives some whoop ass to GOP Conservatives


Lewis Black opens a can of whoop ass on GOPers pandering to Confederate flag lovers — so CNN cuts his mic

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

First Mass Extinction since Dinosaurs happening now


The Earth has entered its sixth mass extinction phase, a new study warns, and the time we have to avoid dramatic consequences is rapidly running out.
Vertebrates -- which include mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish -- are disappearing at a rate 114 times faster than normal, according the study published Friday in the journal Science Advances. The study, led by Stanford, Princeton and the University of California-Berkeley, stated the number of vertebrate species that have gone extinct in the last century normally take 800 to 10,000 years to disappear under natural extinction rates.
"These estimates reveal an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last few centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way," the researchers wrote. The last such extinction was 65 million years ago, The Telegraph noted, when dinosaurs were wiped off the face of the planet.
Human activity related to development and climate change are exacerbating the problem, the study argued.
"Our analysis emphasizes that our global society has started to destroy species of other organisms at an accelerating rate, initiating a mass extinction episode unparalleled for 65 million years," the researchers wrote. "Avoiding a true sixth mass extinction will require rapid, greatly intensified efforts to conserve already threatened species and to alleviate pressures on their populations -- notably habitat loss, overexploitation for economic gain, and climate change ... However, the window of opportunity is rapidly closing."

Alaska Fires causing Glaciers to melt


Climate change has caused Alaska’s glaciers to melt so quickly that a one-foot thick layer of water could completely cover the entire state of Alaska every seven years, according to a new study.

LA Gang Members gold plates genitals - dies.


Los Angeles | An L.A. gang member, Nazario Conchuza Gonzalez, who is part of the infamous Ms-13 gang, also called Mara Salvatrucha, has died of medical complications after attempting to gold plate his own genitals to celebrate his 17th anniversary.
The young man that is originally from El Salvador and is an active member of the MS-13 crime family is believed to have attempted to gold plate his own genitals with a 
professional automotive gold plater stolen from a local garage after first painting his genitals with a lead-based paint, believe experts

. The 17-year old man who was allegedly a fan of the 
2002 American

Poor: 20 things that Rich People never have to worry about and poor worry about daily


1. Search for affordable housing. Especially in urban areas, the waiting list for affordable housing can be a year or more. During that time, poor families either have to make do with substandard or dangerous housing, depend on the hospitality of relatives, or go homeless. (Source: New York Times)
2. Try to make $133 worth of food last a whole month. That’s how much the average food stamp recipient gets each month. Imagine trying to eat well on $4.38 per day. It’s not easy, which is why many impoverished families resort to #3…
(Source: Kaiser Family Foundation)
3. Subsist on poor quality food. Not because they want to, but because they can’t afford high-quality, nutritious food. They’re trapped in a food system that subsidizes processed foods, making them artificially cheaper than natural food sources. So the poor are forced to eat bad food — if they’re lucky, that is. (Sources: Washington Post; Journal of Nutrition, March 2008)
4. Skip a meal. One in six Americans are food insecure. Which means (among other things) that they’re sometimes forced to go without eating. (Sources: World Vision, US Department of Agriculture)
5. Work longer and harder than most of us. While it’s popular to think people are poor because they’re lazy (which seems to be the whole point of Ramsey’s post), the poor actually work longer and harder than the rest of us. More than 80 percent of impoverished children have at least one parent who works; 60 percent have at least one parent who works full-time. Overall, the poor work longer hours than the so-called “job creators.” (Source: Poverty and Learning, April 2008)
6. Go to bed 3 hours before their first job starts. 

FOX wants restraint after shootings: Jon Stewart will have none of it


The Daily Show's Jon Stewart on Monday called out Fox News on its hypocritical response to the mass shooting of a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Environmental Movement started with Religious Roots


Uncovering the Religious Roots That Led to Environmental Movement

An expert debunks the preconception that conservation and religion are inherently hostile toward each other.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Confederate Flag symbolizes White Supremacy and always had


The American flag and the South Carolina state flag are flying at half-staff at the state's capitol after a gunman murdered nine people at a Bible study at the historic Emanuel AME church Wednesday night.
The Confederate flag on the capitol grounds, on the other hand, is still flying at its usual height, 30 feet in the air, lighted at night. And it isn't going anywhere. A compromise that took the flag down from over the statehouse in 2000 did all it could to make sure it didn't budge any further from the seat of state government. Moving it requires a two-thirds vote from the state's general assembly.
A mass murder apparently motivated by white supremacy has sparked yet another debate about what the Confederate flag really symbolizes. Yet the facts of the matter are clear: from the Civil War through the Civil Rights Movement, the flag has always been about white supremacy. It's always been embraced hardest when white Southerners felt most threatened. Fights over the South Carolina Capitol's Confederate flag have been going on for more than 40 years.

Ugly Racist Views of SC Shooter. His Manifesto


According to The New York Timestwo Twitter users using the handles @henrykrinkle and @EMQuangel, uncovered a web site containing a cache of photos of Dylann Roof, as well as a racist manifesto allegedly penned by the South Carolina church shootings suspect.
The web site, called lastrhodesian.com, which was first registered to Dylann Roof in February 2015,  opens with a bloodied image of an apparently dead white man laying on the ground. The image appears to be from the 1992 Australian movie “Romper Stomper”, which featured a violent Neo-Nazi gang and was loosely inspired by the real life story of Melbourne Neo-Nazi skinhead Dane Sweetman.
The web site contains multiple photos of Roof, as well as a chilling manifesto that outlined the author’s racist views. The website has not yet been officially verified as belonging to roof, but it was registered in his name in February and it contains photos of him surrounded with racist imagery. In one photo he is shown burning an American flag.

6 evil Right Wing Moments this past week. FOX denies Charleston shooting as Racism


6 Evil Right-wing Moments: Fox News' Staggering Denial of Charleston Reality Tops the List

We're at a loss to explain this network-wide brain dysfunction.

Dylann Roof radicalized by Right Wing Racist Web Site


Dylann Roof May Have Been Radicalized By the Website Of a Group Associated With Southern GOP politicians

The website is a hodgepodge of re-written media stories designed to give the reader the impression there's a barrage of black-on-white crime.

Bernie Sanders beats up Wall Street Goon Allen Greenspan


Unlike hack candidates who change their politics to win elections, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has been fighting the good fight for decades. In this video, Sanders attacks former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan about the plight of the American middle class.
The conservation happened in 2003, when Sanders was warning everyone about income inequality and the economic woes that are major talking points today.

Personality Differences: Conservative vs Liberal - Interesting


The Fascinating Differences Between the Conservative and Liberal Personality

Evidence suggests that differences between the two groups begin to emerge at an early age.

Friday, June 19, 2015

A great paragraph about mass killings in the USA

Maybe something will change; maybe this time we will manage to act. But it's difficult to be anything but pessimistic, and when I think about why that is, my mind goes back again to Virginia Tech and 2007, when the New Yorker's Adam Gopnik wrote what is, to me, the single most powerful paragraph I have read on the subject.
The cell phones in the pockets of the dead students were still ringing when we were told that it was wrong to ask why. As the police cleared the bodies from the Virginia Tech engineering building, the cell phones rang, in the eccentric varieties of ring tones, as parents kept trying to see if their children were OK. To imagine the feelings of the police as they carried the bodies and heard the ringing is heartrending; to imagine the feelings of the parents who were calling — dread, desperate hope for a sudden answer and the bliss of reassurance, dawning grief — is unbearable. But the parents, and the rest of us, were told that it was not the right moment to ask how the shooting had happened — specifically, why an obviously disturbed student, with a history of mental illness, was able to buy guns whose essential purpose is to kill people — and why it happens over and over again in America. At a press conference, Virginia's governor, Tim Kaine, said, "People who want to ... make it their political hobby horse to ride, I've got nothing but loathing for them. ... At this point, what it's about is comforting family members ... and helping this community heal. And so to those who want to try to make this into some little crusade, I say take that elsewhere."

Glenn Beck lawsuit continues... He could lose Millions... Poor guy - guess he needs to quit calling people terrorists


In 2013, Beck falsely accused Saudi national Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi of being a “terrorist” who helped plan and carry out the Boston Marathon bombing. Even after law enforcement cleared Alharbi of any wrongdoing, Beck continued to paint him as a perpetrator, thus putting a stigma on Alharbi’s reputation and a target on his back.
So Alharbi filed a defamation lawsuit against Beck and his company, The Blaze, seeking damages. Of course, Beck and his attorneys fought to have the lawsuit tossed, but U.S. District Judge Patti Saris slapped Beck down and allowed the lawsuit to proceed. Beck “made numerous false statements about Alharbi on his radio show, even after he was cleared,” Saris wrote in her ruling late last year.
“As a private figure, Alharbi is not required to allege actual malice in order to make out a claim for defamation. Instead, the level of fault required on the defendants’ part is merely negligence… The facts alleged in Alharbi’s complaint easily permit an inference that the defendants were negligent as to the truthfulness of their reports after the authorities cleared his name. The Court need not determine whether the allegations create a plausible claim of actual malice.”