Saturday, May 7, 2011

Via JMG: Church Sign Of The Day


reposted from Joe

Bush: The Worst President of My Lifetime

Via JMG: Queen Elizabeth Sees The Internet


reposted from Joe

Via JMG: From Education to Action: Inside the Arizona Ethnic Studies Battle

Saturday 7 May 2011

From Education to Action: Inside the Arizona Ethnic Studies Battle
Mike Ludwig, Truthout: "Board members canceled their meeting after the nine students, all members of the local youth group United Non-discriminatory Individuals Demanding Our Studies (UNIDOS), made it clear they would not get up until they were guaranteed that the Mexican-American classes they love wouldn't be downgraded to voluntary electives that could be lost all together in the coming waves of state budget cuts. The action was a temporary victory for UNIDOS. The group postponed a vote on a resolution that they say would put their heritage second to a whitewashed version of history that so often ignores the achievements and struggles of immigrants and people of color."
Read the Article

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Via Natural News: 14 signs that the collapse of our modern world has already begun

(NaturalNews) A lot of people believe the world as we know it is going to end on December 23, 2012. Nonsense, I say. The far more honest answer is that the end of the world as we know it has already begun. And it doesn't mean the end of the world; it means the closing of one era and the birth of a new one. It is a transition between the ages. This particular transition, however, promises to be the most tumultuous and costly transition humankind has ever seen.

But don't wait around for December 2012 to look for the signs. Here are 14 signs that the world as we know it is unraveling right now. We are living through the end of one era and the birth of a new one. In the future, they'll look back and call this all one moment in history, but when you're living through it, it seems to move forward at almost a snail's pace. But make no mistake: We are living through the opening chapters of the end of the world as we know it, and on the other side of all this will emerge a new world that's very different from the one we know today.

Via Utne: Responses to Osama bin Laden's Death

Follow our ongoing coverage of the bin Laden story.

Read More >>

PFC 45

PFC 2 Trailer

We spent all of last year traveling the world, growing the family and creating PFC 2, a collection of 10 new Songs Around the World (audio and video) including over 150 musicians from 25 countries.

Check the PFC 2 Album Trailer.  These videos open the door and we all walk through together.  Music is our ammunition!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Via JMG: The Rise Of The Deathers

Spreading fast all over the wingnut-o-sphere.
A multitude of different inside sources both publicly and privately, including one individual who personally worked with Bin Laden at one time, told us directly that Osama’s dead corpse has been on ice for nearly a decade and that his “death” would only be announced at the most politically expedient time. That time has now come with a years-old fake picture being presented as the only evidence of his alleged killing yesterday, while Bin Laden’s body has been hastily dumped into the sea to prevent anyone from finding out when he actually died.
Among the prominent promulgators of this nonsense is GOProud backer Andrew Breitbart, whose Big Government site now features death conspiracy posts. Breitbart says he's not a "friggin' deather," he just wants to promote "open debate." Uh huh.

UPDATE: JMG reader Russ points out this Breitbart quote: "If anyone can prove that I believe American special forces did not kill Osama bin Laden, I will donate one million dollars to ThinkProgress." And yet there's this on Breitbart's Big Peace:
The free world, particularly the United States, has a right to make sure Osama bin Laden is really dead. Every American has a right to walk right up to bin Laden’s corpse and view it. We are entitled to know for a fact that the witch is dead. No shroud for dignity’s sake, please – bin Laden’s naked, bullet-riddled corpse should be put on display in lower Manhattan for all the world to see. The entire body should be digitally scanned, inside and out – and made available for everyone to take his or her own picture.

reposted from Joe

Daily Kos: While You Are Entitled To Your Own Opinions, You Are Not Entitled To Your Own Facts.

Lester and Charlie commented on I love it when I wake up in the morning and Barack Obama is President.'s link.
I had been seeing a meme popping up on Facebook from a few people on my friend list that simply had to be addressed. The first person it was addressed with quickly found them self on the end of the Unfriend button. A short while later, so did her sister.

Via JMG: HomoQuotable - Glenn Greenwald

"Whenever America uses violence in a way that makes its citizens cheer, beam with nationalistic pride, and rally around their leader, more violence is typically guaranteed. Futile decade-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may temporarily dampen the nationalistic enthusiasm for war, but two shots to the head of Osama bin Laden -- and the We are Great and Good proclamations it engenders -- can easily rejuvenate that war love. One can already detect the stench of that in how Pakistan is being talked about: did they harbor bin Laden as it seems and, if so, what price should they pay? We're feeling good and strong about ourselves again -- and righteous -- and that's often the fertile ground for more, not less, aggression." - Glenn Greenwald, writing for Salon.

reposted from Joe

Monday, May 2, 2011

Five from truthout:

Monday 02 May 2011
Robert Naiman | The War Is Over. Start Packing!
Robert Naiman, Truthout: "We got our man. Wave the flag, kiss a nurse (or a sailor) and start packing the equipment. It's time to plan to bring all our boys and girls home from Afghanistan. When the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks rolls around, let the world see that we are on a clear path to bringing home our troops from Afghanistan and handing back sovereignty to the Afghan people."
Read the Article

William Rivers Pitt | My Alabama
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: "Let me tell you about Alabama. There is a street in my father's hometown of Decatur, up north next to the Tennessee River, where you will find a modest ranch house. In the yard of that house stands the biggest oak tree I have ever seen. Once upon a time, as a boy, I sat in a swing under that tree with my grandmother in the twilight and watched as the lightning bugs came out. My grandmother taught school out of that house for thirty years, and taught me to read and write almost before I could walk. Across the street was Mrs. Jenkins, a native of the Black Belt in south Alabama, with her ancient toy poodle, and when she called to me, I would run over and pick cherry tomatoes out of her garden.... Alabama for me is my lawyer father in his Atticus Finch suit, going to work in the Capitol building in Montgomery.... The air in Montgomery is so thick with history you have to wave it away from your face."
Read the Article

Chris Hedges Speaks on Osama bin Laden's Death
Chris Hedges, Truthdig: "I spent a year of my life covering al-Qaida for The New York Times. It was the work in which I, and other investigative reporters, won the Pulitzer Prize. And I spent seven years of my life in the Middle East. I was the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. I'm an Arabic speaker. And when someone came over and told Jean and me the news, my stomach sank. I'm not in any way naive about what al-Qaida is. It's an organization that terrifies me. I know it intimately. But I'm also intimately familiar with the collective humiliation that we have imposed on the Muslim world."
Read the Article

Bin Laden Raid Years in the Making, Minutes in Execution
Jonathan S. Landay, McClatchy Newspapers: "It took years for the US military to track Osama bin Laden down, finding him not in a cave in the inaccessible tribal regions of Pakistan, but in a sumptuous luxury compound built just six years ago in the same city that is home to Pakistan's most prestigious military academy. The raid that killed him lasted just 40 minutes. US officials briefing reporters here said the raid involved a helicopter assault on a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad by a small US team."
Read the Article

News in Brief: Clinton Tells Taliban to Cut Ties to al-Qaeda, and More ...
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the death of Osama bin Laden shows the Taliban that it cannot defeat the US in its war in Afghanistan; a new poll conducted for The Hill shows that 53 percent of likely voters say they do not want their existing or future Medicare benefits to be cut; since 2008, many non-emergency state workers in Utah have been fitting 40-hour workweeks into four days and enjoying three days weekends in an attempt to trim their deficit; in California, Native Americans protest development plans in burial ground, and More ...
Read the Article



Obama says bin Laden's death makes the world safer

Declaring the killing of Osama bin Laden "a good day for America," President Barack Obama said today the world was safer without the al-Qaida terrorist and mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. His administration used DNA testing to help confirm that American forces in Pakistan had killed bin Laden, as U.S. officials sought to erase all doubt about the stunning news.
More Latest News:

the Bookshelf Arrived! / Chegou a estante de livros!

almost seems like a house today... we'll let it dry, and then  add some glass, and its good to go!

Pages from a Taliban 2nd Grade Math Textbook

I was given a copy of a Pashtun math text a number of years ago... when 9/11 happened I took a fresh look, these are three activity pages from their text...

well worth a revisit... this represents pure nastiness.

Osama Bin Laden Killed - Phillies & Mets Fans Live at the Game

Via JMG - W quotes of the Day:

"I don't know. I don't really think about him very much. I'm not that concerned." --George W. Bush

Or this one:

"And, again, I don't know where [Osama] is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." --George W. Bush

Via Becker: The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries

From The New York Times, Saturday, April 30, 2011. See
Op-Ed Contributor
The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries
By Dave Eggers and Ninive Clements Calegari

WHEN we don't get the results we want in our military endeavors, we don't blame the soldiers. We don't say, "It's these lazy soldiers and their bloated benefits plans! That's why we haven't done better in Afghanistan!" No, if the results aren't there, we blame the planners. We blame the generals, the secretary of defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff [ ]. No one contemplates blaming the men and women fighting every day in the trenches for little pay and scant recognition.

And yet in education we do just that. When we don't like the way our students score on international standardized tests, we blame the teachers. When we don't like the way particular schools perform, we blame the teachers and restrict their resources.

Compare this with our approach to our military: when results on the ground are not what we hoped, we think of ways to better support soldiers. We try to give them better tools, better weapons, better protection, better training. And when recruiting is down, we offer incentives.

We have a rare chance now, with many teachers near retirement, to prove we're serious about education. The first step is to make the teaching profession more attractive to college graduates. This will take some doing.

At the moment, the average teacher's pay is on par with that of a toll taker or bartender. [] Teachers make 14 percent less than professionals in other occupations that require similar levels of education. In real terms, teachers' salaries have declined for 30 years. The average starting salary is $39,000; the average ending salary - after 25 years in the profession - is $67,000. This prices teachers out of home ownership in 32 metropolitan areas, and makes raising a family on one salary near impossible.

So how do teachers cope? Sixty-two percent work outside the classroom to make ends meet. For Erik Benner, an award-winning history teacher in Keller, Tex., money has been a constant struggle. He has two children, and for 15 years has been unable to support them on his salary. Every weekday, he goes directly from Trinity Springs Middle School to drive a forklift at Floor and Décor. He works until 11 every night, then gets up and starts all over again. Does this look like "A Plan," either on the state or federal level?

We've been working with public school teachers for 10 years; every spring, we see many of the best teachers leave the profession. They're mowed down by the long hours, low pay, the lack of support and respect.

Imagine a novice teacher, thrown into an urban school, told to teach five classes a day, with up to 40 students each. At the year's end, if test scores haven't risen enough, he or she is called a bad teacher. For college graduates who have other options, this kind of pressure, for such low pay, doesn't make much sense. So every year 20 percent of teachers in urban districts quit. Nationwide, 46 percent of teachers quit before their fifth year. The turnover costs the United States $7.34 billion yearly. The effect within schools - especially those in urban communities where turnover is highest - is devastating.

But we can reverse course. In the next 10 years, over half of the nation's nearly 3.2 million public school teachers will become eligible for retirement. Who will replace them? How do we attract and keep the best minds in the profession?

People talk about accountability, measurements, tenure, test scores and pay for performance. These questions are worthy of debate, but are secondary to recruiting and training teachers and treating them fairly. There is no silver bullet that will fix every last school in America, but until we solve the problem of teacher turnover, we don't have a chance.

Can we do better? Can we generate "A Plan"? Of course.

The consulting firm McKinsey recently examined how we might attract and retain a talented teaching force. The study compared the treatment of teachers here and in the three countries that perform best on standardized tests: Finland, Singapore and South Korea.

Turns out these countries have an entirely different approach to the profession. First, the governments in these countries recruit top graduates to the profession. (We don't.) In Finland and Singapore they pay for training. (We don't.) In terms of purchasing power, South Korea pays teachers on average 250 percent of what we do.

And most of all, they trust their teachers. They are rightly seen as the solution, not the problem, and when improvement is needed, the school receives support and development, not punishment. Accordingly, turnover in these countries is startlingly low: In South Korea, it's 1 percent per year. In Finland, it's 2 percent. In Singapore, 3 percent.

McKinsey polled 900 top-tier American college students and found that 68 percent would consider teaching if salaries started at $65,000 and rose to a maximum of $150,000. Could we do this? If we're committed to "winning the future," we should. If any administration is capable of tackling this, it's the current one. President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan understand the centrality of teachers and have said that improving our education system begins and ends with great teachers. But world-class education costs money.

For those who say, "How do we pay for this?" - well, how are we paying for three concurrent wars? How did we pay for the interstate highway system? Or the bailout of the savings and loans in 1989 and that of the investment banks in 2008? How did we pay for the equally ambitious project of sending Americans to the moon? We had the vision and we had the will and we found a way.
Dave Eggers and Nínive Clements Calegari are founders of the 826 National tutoring centers and producers of the documentary "American Teacher."
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Correction: May 1, 2011. An earlier version of this article misstated one finding from a McKinsey poll of 900 top-tier American college students. The poll found that 68 percent would consider teaching if salaries started at $65,000 and rose to a maximum - not a minimum - of $150,000.

Via JMG:

Via Utne: Where Silence Is Sacred

Giant figures are talking and strutting and singing on enormous screens above me, and someone is chattering away on the mini-screen in the cab from which I just stepped. Nine people at this street corner are shouting into thin air, wearing wires around their chins and jabbing at the screens in their hands. One teenager, I read recently, sent 300,000 text messages in a month—or 10 a minute for every minute of her waking day, assuming that she was awake 16 hours a day. There are more cell phones than people on the planet now, almost (ten mobiles for every one at the beginning of the century). Even by the end of the past century, the average human being in a country such as ours saw as many images in a day as a Victorian inhaled in a lifetime.

Via Political Loudmouth:

Here is an interesting way to test if a birther you know is a racist or simply has an insane fascination with verifying birth locations:

Ask them where John McCain was born.

The answer is (surprise!) Panama.

If they didn't know this before you told them, then they don't really care where presidential candidates were born. And that means you are talking to a racist.

Thanks to Bob Dobbs for this post.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

This Teacher Is 'Mad as Hell'

From Education Week [American Education's Newspaper of Record],  Wednesday, April 27, 2011,  Volume 30, Issue 29, p. 33. See 
This Teacher Is 'Mad as Hell'

By Angela Beeley

I am a public school teacher and a member of a union. Contrary to popular political rhetoric at play in Wisconsin and elsewhere, I am not, however, a leech on society, nor am I a lazy incompetent who shows up to collect a paycheck, not caring whether my students learn. I am a teacher and, in the words of Howard Beale in the film "Network": "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

I am an English teacher who wakes up in the middle of the night, puzzling over how to engage 37 students in my third-period in an upcoming lesson. I am a teacher who gives up part of almost every evening and weekend to grade the never-ending deluge of papers. I am a teacher whose job performance is judged on scores from a test that counts for nothing for the students and their parents. I am a teacher of children who have been coldly molested, beaten, ignored, neglected, left hungry, and might not know where they are going to sleep that night. I am a teacher who cries at the end of every school year because, as they leave me, I am reminded of the basic goodness of the students I teach.

I am also a mother, a mother who shops for her family's clothes, including her own, at Target. I have a coupon file that embarrasses my older daughter. I drive a 10-year-old car that my parents helped me purchase. We coexist with termites eating away at the foundation of our house because we don't have the thousands of dollars it would take to rid ourselves of them. My husband and I aren't wearing Prada sunglasses or jetting to St. Tropez on this outrageous salary my union has negotiated for me.

This misdirected anger at unions and public employees is a sad, cynical manipulation. Are there waste and hypocrisy in unions and public administration? Of course there are! Please name for me one sector of society that doesn't have these problems. These are human failings, not union failings. And can states spend money they don't have? No, they can't and shouldn't, and hard times call for sacrifice from all in both the public and private sectors. We must contribute, but we must never give up the right of the American worker to bargain collectively.

The outcry against unions and collective bargaining is a complete red herring. The unspoken message is: Let's make the average American forget that Wall Street crooks set up our economy for a meltdown and that, not only are they not in jail, they made money on the deal. Let's make them forget that the richest 400 people in the United States make more than the entire bottom half of all earners. Let's hide the fact that CEOs today make several hundred times what their employees make, rather than the 20 to 30 times more they used to earn. Let's snicker as the workers rip each other's throats out, scrabbling for the privilege of going to the doctor when they're sick.

I have a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, a master's degree from the Claremont Graduate University, and I am a National Board Certified Teacher. I am a professional. And I don't think it's too much to ask to make a salary commensurate with my education, to be able to take my daughters to the doctor, and to retire with a small measure of security after choosing to devote my life to educating America's children.

I love my students, but who on earth does the public-which is accepting these political shenanigans-think will choose to become a teacher now? No one in his or her right mind would go into this profession. After seeing teachers beaten up in the media for our society's failings and being portrayed by our elected officials as lazy fat cats when we are working our butts off to having to "teach" to a test, no student with two brain cells to rub together is going to want to become a teacher. I would challenge anyone-including Wisconsin's governor-who thinks that teaching requires little effort, no summer break, or no decent salary to spend a year in the classroom. Get in there, Governor Walker. You wouldn't last a week.
PHOTO SIDEBAR:  Peter Finch portrays the angry Howard Beale in the 1976 movie "Network."-MGM Studios/Getty images
Angela Beeley has taught at Alta Loma (Calif.) High School for 18 years. She currently teaches 10th grade English. She earned certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards for the first time in 1999 and for the second time in 2009.

Tim Wise - First Church of Boston - 4/20/11 - Reflections on the "Beached White Male"

Via ClimateChange: Tornado forecasting saved countless lives this week. Too bad Congress, including Alabama’s entire delegation, voted against maintaining forecast quality

Posted: 01 May 2011 05:30 AM PDT
An aerial view of damaged homes in Alabama.

Buildings in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, lie in ruins on April 28, a day after a tornado demolished the city (via Reuters)
We reported in March that NOAA said GOP’s proposed satellite funding cuts could halve the accuracy of precipitation forecasts.  Michael Conathan, CAPAF’s Director of Ocean Programs, updates the story.
On Thursday, as the search for survivors continued in devastated communities across Alabama and other southern states pummeled this week by massive, terrifying tornadoes,  President Obama said “we can’t control when or where a terrible storm may strike, but we can control how we respond to it.” Unfortunately, thanks to the spending bill orchestrated by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, he couldn’t say we are doing everything in our power to protect Americans from future extreme weather events. Events that are becoming ever more frequent, as CAP’s Daniel J. Weiss and Valeri Vasquez pointed out in a report and interactive map released Friday.
The Associated Press characterized the number of fatalities from these storms –more than 340 as of Saturday — as something that “seems out of a bygone era, before Doppler radar and pinpoint satellite forecasts were around to warn communities of severe weather. Residents were told the tornadoes were coming up to 24 minutes ahead of time, but they were just too wide, too powerful and too locked onto populated areas to avoid a horrifying body count.”
It is precisely those “pinpoint satellite forecasts” that Congress, including every member of Alabama’s delegation, decided were luxuries America cannot afford when it passed the continuing resolution to keep the government operating for the remainder of the fiscal year.
As we have discussed in previous posts, this action eliminated funding to replace the environmental satellites that help make our forecasts a reality. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has stated in no uncertain terms that these aging satellites will fail, and our failure to buy new ones this year will cause at least an 18 month gap in coverage.
Clearly, Congressional Republicans were more interested in protecting the $5.5 billion in subsidies and foregone royalty payments for Big Oil—which collectively reported a total of more than $30 billion in first quarter profits this week—than they were in spending the $700 million necessary to literally save the lives of their constituents.
This week’s news stories about these disasters are full of harrowing accounts of narrow escapes made possible by timely, accurate forecasting that provided nearly half an hour’s advance warning that these massive tornadoes were on the way. And still, at least 340 people have been killed and countless others injured.
“It is sobering to us to see that tornadoes in the 21st century can still cause so many deaths,” said Joshua Wurman, the president of the Center for Severe Weather Research. “We had hoped that through increased warnings, better buildings and increased public awareness, the years of these events had passed.”
We now know that the events themselves have not passed—on the contrary, it is more likely that these events will only continue to grow more intense and more frequent. Apparently, the only thing that has passed is our willingness to pay the cost of the accurate predictions that saved innumerable lives across the south earlier this week.
Michael Conathan
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