Saturday, December 17, 2011
"I hold a biblical view of law. If you look at the original constitution and the founding documents of our country, it was clear that the founders wanted to separate power, they wanted to separate the presidency from the Supreme Court and from the Congress, because they thought that the Congress should be the most powerful of all the people’s voices because the people would have the ability to change out the members of the House every two years, originally the state legislatures would chose the Senators and they would have the state’s interest in mind, and the President was meant to execute the laws that Congress would put into place. The courts had a relatively minor function, it was to take current facts and apply it to the law that Congress had passed. So it was really a beautiful system that set up but it’s been distorted since then, and that’s what we need to do, get back to the original view of the Founders because it worked beautifully." - Michele Bachmann, promising to gut the federal judiciary.reposted from Joe
Friday, December 16, 2011
The dark, inner shadow of planet Earth is called the umbra. Shaped like a cone extending into space, it has a circular cross section most easily seen during a lunar eclipse. For example, last Saturday the Full Moon slid across the southern half of Earth's umbral shadow, entertaining moonwatchers around much of the planet. In the total phase of the eclipse, the Moon was completely within the umbra for 51 minutes. Recorded from Beijing, China, this composite eclipse image uses successive pictures from totality (center) and partial phases to trace out a large part of the umbra's curved edge. Background stars are visible in the darker eclipse phases. The result shows the relative size of the shadow's cross section at the distance of the Moon, as well as the Moon's path through Earth's umbra.
Rebecca Goldin PhD and Cindy Merrick, December 13, 2011
Mathematics has become the target of a witch-hunt led by Florida school board administrator Rick Roach.
Last week in The Washington Post’s online education blog “The Answer Sheet,” guest writer Marion Brady retold the recent experience of Florida school board administrator Rick Roach, who volunteered to take a set of standardized tests administered to 10th graders in his state, and then to make his scores public. An interesting experiment, to be sure – and one that turned into a scathing indictment of the role of high-stakes testing in determining a student’s future educational opportunities. To best understand just how humiliating and bewildering the experience was for Roach, here’s what he emailed Brady:
“The math section had 60 questions. I knew the answers to none of them, but managed to guess ten out of the 60 correctly. On the reading test, I got 62% . In our system, that’s a “D”, and would get me a mandatory assignment to a double block of reading instruction… It seems to me something is seriously wrong. I have a bachelor of science degree, two masters degrees, and 15 credit hours toward a doctorate. I help oversee an organization with 22,000 employees and a $3 billion operations and capital budget, and am able to make sense of complex data related to those responsibilities.”
But here’s where both Roach and Brady made their biggest error: they turned criticism of the exams into a witch-hunt for subject matter that they deemed unnecessary – in particular, mathematics.
In doing this, Roach and Brady conflated two issues: test taking and learning. Testing, in its best form, is a proxy for learning. Standardized tests all too often dictate the activities in the classroom, sometimes inhibiting the learning they are supposed to measure. A critique of the tests, however, has little bearing on the value of the subject matter. A critique of how the tests are used, and whether the use is appropriate for the information gathered, holds tremendous value. Roach uses his poor math score, however, to indict mathematics itself.
Roach shared a description of the material covered on the test with his “wide circle of friends in various professions” to confirm his gut-feeling that (surprise!) most of them do not make daily use of 10th grade math. The math exam, in Roach’s words, “tests information that most people don’t need when they get out of school.” And yet this material persists in public education all across America! What gives?
Presumably, Roach knows his mathematical skills have lapsed. He also knows that despite failing an exam based on long-dormant information in his brain, he has been able to build a successful life, in which he helps “oversee an organization with 22,000 employees and a $3 billion operations and capital budget.” At some point in his life, he developed the necessary critical thinking and problem-solving skills he needed to “make sense of complex data related to [my] responsibilities.” He obviously doesn’t consider the possibility that high school math instruction may have done a bit more than fill his head with “information that most people don’t need.”
Via Climate Progress: Dim Bulbs: Budget Deal Keeps GOP’s Anti-Consumer, Anti-Business, Pro-Pollution Rider Blocking Lighting Standards
Dim Bulbs: Budget Deal Keeps GOP’s Anti-Consumer, Anti-Business, Pro-Pollution Rider Blocking Lighting Standards
Posted: 16 Dec 2011 09:39 AM PST
The shutdown-averting budget bill will block federal light bulb efficiency standards, giving a win to House Republicans fighting the so-called ban on incandescent light bulbs.You’ll find that misleading lede filed in the Politico under “GOP wins light bulb fight” with the even more misleading blurb, “The budget bill gives a victory to House Republicans fighting the ban on incandescent bulbs.”
Except, of course, there was no “ban on incandescent bulbs.” As a leading manufacturer explained to Climate Progress in July:
“The reality is, consumers will see no difference at all. The only difference they’ll see is lower energy bills because we’re creating more efficient incandescent bulbs.”The only victory is for the right wing media that kept lying about the issue (see “Led by Murdoch Outlets, Conservative Media Misled Light Bulb Consumers 40 Times In 7 Months“).
Oh, and there was a victory for the extremist Tea Party wing of the party, which opposes all government standards, even ones that the lightbulb industry itself wants and that would save households an average of $100 annually — which is to say it would save consumers $12 billion a year.
As E&E News (subs. req’d) reports, the non-deluded majority understand how nonsensical this “victory” is:
“In the real world, outside talk radio’s echo chamber, lighting manufacturers such as GE, Philips and Sylvania have tooled up to produce new incandescent light bulbs that look and operate exactly the same as old incandescent bulbs and give off just as much warm light,” Republicans for Environmental Protection Policy Director Jim DiPeso said in a statement. “The only different is they produce less excess heat and are therefore 30 percent more efficient. What’s not to like?”
Blocking the standards effectively serves as a slap in the face to light bulb manufacturers, who have been working since 2007 to produce the new bulbs.
“Eliminating funding for light bulb efficiency standards is especially poor policy as it would leave the policy in place but make it impossible to enforce, undercutting domestic manufacturers who have invested millions of dollars in U.S. plants to make new incandescent bulbs that meet the standards,” a coalition of dozens of lighting manufacturers, efficiency groups and environmentalists said in a letter this week to senators.
And it would disrupt the marketplace, supporters of the standards say, because individual states could still implement the standards. California, in fact, already is enforcing them.
“It would create a patchwork of enforcement that would be nightmarish for the industry,” said a lighting industry executive.
Nightmarish for the industry. Costly for consumers. Undercutting U.S. competitiveness.
So how did this inane provision stay in the final deal?
The rational folks turned wobbly and the extremist dim bulbs stood their ground. Sound familiar? Politico spells it out:
After giving up in recent weeks on dozens of other riders aimed at stopping EPA rules because of opposition from Senate Democrats and the White House, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) told POLITICO that the light bulb rider was “going to be in there.”Amazing? How about “pathetic”?
“Speaker [John] Boehner to Chairman [Fred] Upton to Chairman [Hal] Rogers, they all strongly support keeping it in,” said Barton, who served as ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee in 2007 when the light bulb language got approved. “And it’s a personal commitment because of their philosophy.”
The White House was not publicly spelling out which riders it didn’t want in the final spending package, with communications director Dan Pfeiffer only saying Wednesday that the House GOP plan would “undercut environmental protections.”
On Twitter, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) wrote: “I strongly oppose that language. I hope it’s deleted from any final bill that we pass.”
House Democrats recalled Upton was an original co-sponsor of the light bulb provision inserted in the 2007 energy law and bemoaned his rightward shift since running last fall for Energy and Commerce chairman.
“This is just another poke in the eye,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.).
“It’s the power of Michele Bachmann and the presidential campaign,” added Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee that approved the original language. “What can I say? If we can solve the energy problem with the outcome on the light bulb, America would be a great place.”
… Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), chairman of the Interior and environment appropriations subcommittee, said Senate opposition to the light bulb provisions had up to this point been minimal.
“Amazing, isn’t it?” he said. “They objected to all the other EPA riders and stuff. That was the instructions from the White House. But apparently the light bulb ones didn’t bother them too much.”
- Rep. Fred Upton Eats His Own: Congressman Pushes Vote to Kill His Light Bulb Efficiency Standards
- How Many Republicans Does It Take to Screw Up Our Light Bulb Savings? David Edison Sloane: My great-grandfather would be all for keeping intact the Energy Independence and Security Act. The law requires light bulbs of all types to be at least 25 percent more energy efficient by 2012. To [Thomas Alva] Edison, that would have been no big deal. He would have immediately embraced the challenge of reducing the power usage of the incandescent light bulb — and regarded it as a great opportunity to offer consumers a better and more ecologically sound product
A California Republican group is going after schools that allow bilingual students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish. Because you can't be patriotic unless you say so in English.
"What's the most important here on this issue is that you're asking children to stand, put their hand over their heart, and pledge; that's a promise," notes Cathy Carlson of the California Republican Assembly (CRA). "To me, it's different if they're sitting at their desk and looking up with a dictionary different words on how to translate." KGET notes that the region is 97 percent Hispanic, and the bilingual pledge has become a tradition. In fact, Carlson tells OneNewsNow that many schools are using a Scholastic Spanish translation. "I believe that's the translation that mis-translates 'indivisible' and also leaves out the phrase 'for which it stands.' If you don't have those, it changes the meaning," she contends.Jose, can you see?
Não Vá Pra Califórnia
Victor e Leo
Espere um pouco
Pra que pressa de partir?
Espere um pouco
Fique mais um tempo aqui
Amor, não vá pra Califórnia (2x)
Não pense, não espere que vou impedir
Também não posso ir, só posso te pedir
Amor, não vá pra Califórnia (2x)
Antes do seu avião subir, saudade vai chegar
Amarrando meu sorriso só pra ver
Só pra ver alguma lágrima querendo se soltar
Dos meus olhos quando a hora de dizer adeus chegar
Thursday, December 15, 2011
|Andifes se reúne com presidente da República, Dilma Rousseff|
A Associação Nacional dos Dirigentes das Instituições Federais de Ensino Superior (Andifes) se reuniu com a presidenta da República Dilma Rousseff, dia 13 de dezembro no Palácio do Planalto, para estabelecer compromissos com o futuro da educação brasileira e expansão das universidades federais. Esta reunião consolidou uma prática iniciada no governo anterior de encontros anuais do Presidente da República com a Andifes.
Em nome de todos os reitores, o presidente da Andifes, reitor João Luiz Martins (UFOP), lembrou a presidenta do papel fundamental que têm as universidades federais na formação e qualificação de pessoas para o país. “Em qualquer região desse país temos a missão de formar as elites dirigentes dos setores público e privado. Produzimos ciência sem fronteiras e atendemos milhões de brasileiros na saúde pública”, afirmou o presidente.
João Luiz lembrou que no ano de 2003 a Andifes apresentou ao então presidente Lula uma proposta para expansão das universidades federais, o Reuni – Programa de Expansão e Reestruturação das Ifes. Este programa foi implantado e concretizou um crescimento elevado na rede de universidades federais, de mais cursos, alunos, docentes e servidores.
No entanto, o presidente da Andifes acrescentou que apesar dos avanços com o Reuni ainda é reduzida a escolaridade dos jovens que ingressam no ensino superior. Segundo a Pesquisa Nacional por Amostras de Domicílios (PNAD/IBGE) apenas 30,3% dos jovens de 18 a 24 anos declaram estudar e apenas 14,4% estão matriculados no ensino superior em 2009. Além disso, o fluxo na educação básica é baixo. “Temos por ano, três milhões de vagas no vestibular, todavia apenas um milhão e setecentos alunos concluem o ensino médio. Precisamos fortalecer a nossa base”, disse João Luiz.
Em seguida foi apresentado a relevância do Projeto de Lei 2.134/2011 que cria cargos para as universidades federais que tramita no Congresso Nacional. João Luiz falou que a aprovação deste Projeto ainda este ano é fundamental para consolidação da expansão com qualidade.
A presidenta da República Dilma Rousseff disse que quer se reunir novamente com os reitores para criar um Plano estratégico para as universidades federais.
Instrumentos para Expansão
A Andifes apresentou uma proposta de diretrizes para uma nova expansão da educação superior, resultado de um amplo debate entre reitores, seus colégios e fóruns de pró-reitores das universidades federais, que são:
1. Promover as alterações que forem necessárias no ensino de graduação e de pós-graduação de modo a aprimorar as condições da formação cidadã, com ênfase nos valores éticos e cívicos que devem nortear a vida numa sociedade justa e democrática;
2. Aumentar as vagas de ingresso na graduação, em áreas estratégicas, bem como no período noturno;
3. Aumentar a oferta de vagas nos cursos de mestrado e doutorado (considerando a diminuição das desigualdades regionais);
4. Ampliar a oferta de mestrados profissionais temáticos nacionais em rede:
5. Reduzir as taxas de evasão;
6. Ampliar os programas de mobilidade estudantil (nacional e internacional);
7. Ampliar as políticas de inclusão, assistência e permanência estudantil;
8. Elevar as taxas dos concluintes da graduação e da pós-graduação;
9. Diminuir as desigualdades de ofertas de educação superior entre as diversas regiões do país;
10. Promover uma maior internacionalização da pesquisa e da pós-graduação brasileira;
11. Ampliar o financiamento do sistema de educação à distância;
12. Formar professores, intensificar e aprofundar o relacionamento da Educação Superior com a Educação Básica visando atender as demandas por professores da Educação Básica em áreas carentes e estratégicas;
13. Intensificar as atividades de extensão em áreas de grande pertinência social (alfabetização, nutrição, segurança pública, geração de emprego e renda, formação de agentes de políticas sociais, cultura, artes);
14. Criar programa de “Incubação” de cursos de pós-graduação;
15. Apoiar iniciativas de valorização de empreendedorismo na pós-graduação;
16. Ampliar programas institucionais de iniciação científica e tecnológica;
17. Estabelecer, entre as universidades federais, estados, DF e municípios uma colaboração efetiva, dentro dos objetivos finais da universidade, ensino, pesquisa e extensão.
18. Estabelecer uma política específica de relacionamento acadêmico com as empresas no âmbito da educação continuada de recursos humanos e a busca do estreitamento da pesquisa aplicada no sentido de facilitar a inovação na cadeia produtiva.
Confira o pronunciamento do presidente da Andifes, reitor João Luiz Martins.
(Informações da Andifes)
Posted: 15 Dec 2011 08:37 AM PST
Republicans launched an unprecedented frontal assault against environmental protections and regulations this year, prompting Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) to call his chamber “the most anti-environment House in history.” Here are the 10 most powerful and outspoken opponents of clean air, clean water, conservation and climate action.That’s the Los Angeles Times editorial board opening its “Year in Review: Congress’ 10 biggest enemies of the Earth,” what they call “Observations and provocations from The Times’ Opinion staff.”
Here are the opponents 10 to 8:
10. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Thought to be the biggest lifetime recipient of oil-industry contributions in the Senate, Cornyn has rewarded Exxon-Mobil’s largesse by supporting the industry’s position on pretty much every energy or environmental issue that has ever appeared before him. That’s why he, like everyone on this list, has a “0″ on the League of Conservation Voters’ scorecard for pro-environment votes.
9. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska. A tireless advocate for opening Alaska’s pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, Young was involved in one of the more entertaining name-calling spats in Congress this year when he got into a tiff over the refuge with author and professor Doug Brinkley. You can be the judge of who won by watching the video replay.
8. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista [CA]. There may have been a time when the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee lived up to its name, investigating and bringing to light incidents of government waste, fraud and abuse. But I can’t remember back that far. In recent decades it has served as a tool for the majority party in the House to bash and embarrass the presidential administration, at least during times such as now when the House isn’t controlled by the president’s party. Issa, the committee’s current chairman, has turned such political gamesmanship into an art form, and has been particularly keen to attack environmental regulators and policymakers. In so doing he has turned up precious little waste or fraud, but provided plenty of political theater for those who want to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency or end subsidies for clean energy.Here are the worst 7:
7. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio. Latta has the distinction of sponsoring the most far-reaching and destructive amendment to the most egregious anti-environment bill passed by the House this year. The TRAIN Act, approved by the House in September but not expected to get through the Senate, is a breathtaking (literally) gift to polluters that creates a committee to study the costs but ignore the benefits of environmental regulation, while also blocking EPA efforts to crack down on deadly emissions from power plants. Latta’s contribution is an amendment that undermines a cornerstone of the Clean Air Act, requiring the EPA to take industry costs into account when setting health-based standards. This would allow corporate polluters to overrule scientists and strikes at the heart of the polluter-pays principle that has guided environmental policy for 40 years.
6. Rep. Edward Whitfield, R-Ky. Another architect of the TRAIN wreck, Whitfield offered an amendment that would block the EPA from regulating mercury and other toxics from power plants, and from coming up with a rule on smog and soot that crosses state lines. Together, these two regulations would save an estimated 51,000 lives per year. But what are a few thousand lives when utility profits are at stake?
5. Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla. One of the most outspoken climate-change deniers in the Senate (he’s renowned for calling global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”), Inhofe is also one of the most influential Republicans in the country when it comes to environmental policy. As ranking member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, he uses his position to push for expanded oil drilling and reduce environmental regulation. Inhofe sometimes even finds himself to the right of the polluter-packed U.S. Chamber of Commerce; this summer he placed a hold on President Obama’s nominee John Bryson as Commerce secretary, even though Bryson had the blessing of the Chamber, because Inhofe felt Bryson was too pro-environment.
4. Rep. Michael Simpson, R-Idaho. Simpson has stepped to the front lines of his party’s war on Mother Nature by adding dozens of anti-environment riders to must-pass budget legislation. Among other things, Simpson aims to let mountaintop coal-mining operations continue to pollute streams, prevent the EPA from regulating coal-ash disposal, and exempt pesticide sprayers from complying with the Clean Water Act.
3. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The enforcer of Republican Party discipline, Senate Minority Leader McConnell is among the key architects of his party’s stance on environmental issues. In 2009, when Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was among the few Republicans willing to discuss a bipartisan climate bill with Democrats, it was McConnell who reportedly convinced him to back away. This spring he led a failed effort to block the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions and overrule its finding that climate change threatens public health — tantamount to a statement that politicians know more about the dangers of climate change than scientists.
2. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va. The House Majority Leader released a memo in late August listing the top 10 “job-destroying regulations” his party would battle in the remainder of the congressional session. Seven were environmental rules opposed by the fossil fuel industry, including restrictions on emissions from industrial boilers and cement plants, and proposed rulemaking on smog, farm soot and greenhouse gases. None of these rules really threaten jobs, but failing to approve them would certainly threaten lives.
1. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Upton is the gatekeeper for many of the disastrous anti-environment bills that have been approved or proposed in the House this year. Ironically, he was once known among his state’s conservatives as “Red Fred” because of a somewhat pro-environment voting record, but a recent electoral challenge from his right changed all that. Because of his powerful position and newfound disdain for green regulation, he represents one of the biggest threats to planet Earth on planet Earth.
Não há maneira de descrever essa quantidade de chuva a quem que não vivem no Brasil // Trying to say: there is no way to explain this amount of rain to those not living in Brasil
This is just a very few seconds of a rain storm that began yesterday @ 5pm and has not stopped and is forcast to continue until tomorrow...
To get the scale of what is going on... This particular phenomenon is normal and is occuring across the entire continent of S. America... from Buenos Aires / Montevideo to Columbia...
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Watch this clip and learn how to help fight the GOP and Tea Party campaign to stop minorities from voting. Millions may be stopped at the polling station door if we do nothing.
reposted from Joe
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Left campus to have lunch in a little self service I like in Pilar, as I give an English class on Tuesday in the reitoria... went in and it was nice, came out of the restaurant and the clouds built up and there was booming going on... so I said to myself, "Self, lets go get our umbrella".
We live right behind the church in the top of this foto.
Monday, December 12, 2011
"I'm for pulling all of those tax credits, or subsidies or however you refer to them out of the energy industry. No greater example of it than this administration sending millions of dollars into the solar industry, and we lost that money. I want to say it was over $500 million that went to the country Solynda." - Rick Perry, speaking in Iowa. Solyndra is actually a recently bankrupt solar power company.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Writing from the very region that produces more clichés per square foot than any other "story" – the Middle East – I should perhaps pause before I say I have never read so much garbage, so much utter drivel, as I have about the world financial crisis.
A skyscraper project in Korea has some New Yorkers fuming.
An architecture firm said Friday it “regrets” a bizarre design for two high-rises in Korea reminds people of the twin towers exploding on 9/11. A mockup shows two soaring skyscrapers connected in the middle by a “pixelated cloud” that evoked the clouds of debris that erupted from the iconic World Trade Center towers after terrorists flew planes into them. “What the hell were these architects thinking?” asked the headline on a Gizmodo article about the plans for the Seoul apartment buildings. MVRDV, which is based in the Netherlands, insisted in a statement that it didn’t notice the uncanny similarity that struck many observers instantly.To my mind, any two towers with the WTC's proportions would evoke 9/11. The Korean towers are scheduled to be completed in three years.
The Arab Spring, student revolts, austerity riots, Occupy Wall Street. Did the world see more protesting in 2011 than a recent memory? Buzzfeed has a collection of the year's best protest signs.Reposted from Joe