Saturday, November 8, 2014

Via Janis Ian:

Via Utne: Map: The United States of Legal Weed

With marijuana now legal in four states and the District of Columbia, the movement to end the prohibition of pot continues to gain steam. Another five states are expected to introduce ballot measures to legalize recreational pot in 2016, including California, Massachusetts, and Nevada. And by the end of the following year, pot activists expect five more states will vote on legalization bills in their state legislatures. But that's not all: six other states are looking at creating or expanding medical-marijuana programs, or are vastly scaling back penalties for small-time possession. With a slew of polls now showing that most Americans think pot should be taxed and regulated like alcohol, it's probably only a matter of time before legalization sweeps the nation. Josh Harkinson is a staff reporter at Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here. Email him with tips at jharkinson (at) motherjones (dot) com. PGP public key. RSS | Twitter MoJo Troll Patrol encourages readers to sign in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Disqus, or OpenID to comment. Please read our comment policy before posting. 

Via Jerry Becker: William Phillis, The Ohio E & A, 100 S. 3rd Street, Columbus, OH 43125, Tuesday, November 4, 2014.

From William Phillis, The Ohio E & A, 100 S. 3rd Street, Columbus, OH  43125, Tuesday, November 4, 2014.
William Phillis -

The charter school industry does not exist to "fix" public schools; its ultimate goal is to privatize public education

Public common schools have been and still are the crown jewels of America, in the majority of communities across the country.  But a cabal of greedy and ideologically driven people believes that anything done by public agencies and institutions undermines capitalism. These people are putting their desires for money and power above the common good.

Dr. Thomas M. Stephens Professor Emeritus, College of Education and Human Ecology, Ohio State University and Interpersonal Psychological Coach provides the following perspective.

By Thomas Stephens
Political operatives who favor Charter Schools have stacked the deck in three critical ways.

First, they hyped the failures of public schools by misrepresenting why public schools are unable to fully meet the educational needs of all their students. They are accomplishing this trick by attributing students' learning problems primarily to the quality of teaching, while ignoring how family culture and children's poverty affect teaching and learning. In doing so they fabricate the role that poverty plays as the major factor in student achievement.

This simplification, that teaching is the main reason for students' school success, has also been widely claimed by teachers and their professional organizations, despite years of research evidence to the contrary. Thus the corollary of that falsehood has become a convenient hammer for enemies of public schools: mediocre teaching is the main reason for students' failures.

Secondly, they create narrow and flawed metrics and standards that determine what constitutes successful schools. They further game this system by politically changing the metrics and standards so that ultimately fewer and fewer public schools will meet these phony standards. These requirements force public schools to waste precious resources in time and money to meet these figments of what constitutes "successful schools". This clever deception is designed to phase out public schools like a block of ice that slowly melts away.

Third, they hype results of these "failures" to entice public school parents to get "free quality education" by enrolling their children in charter schools. They use paid advertisements with funds that have been transferred from public school tax receipts for this purpose. All of these machinations are facilitated by "bought" legislators who are indebted to the charter school industry.

These "stolen" public funds are also used to underpay instructional staffs while overpaying the for-profit administrators and their corporate sponsors. Excessive leasing and rental fees are also paid with public money to the same entities that own or are related to the charter schools. All of these actions are the result of elected officials who have sworn to uphold Ohio's constitution!

Politicians are aided in this chicanery by several federal and state court decisions that have made theft of public school funding legal. These decisions allow corporations to use funds they received from public schools to support political campaigns and travel, lodging and sumptuous meals for politicians whose votes they are buying. All of this is provided with money that had been legally authorized for public education!

Those well-intentioned individuals and organizations who naively believe a public school/charter school collaboration can work for the benefit of our youth and their communities by tweaking current policies and regulations misunderstand the problem we face: the charter school industry does not exist to "fix" public schools; its ultimate goal is to privatize public education.
The single best way to stop this systematic destruction is for public school advocates and their organizations to unite under one umbrella. This coalition must include parent groups as well. Then put both political parties and their minions on notice. Expose their real intentions and help the electorate remove them from office.

William Phillis
Ohio E & A

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Via DailyKos: Oregon voter turnout was 69.5 percent, and Democrats won BIG

by Laurence Lewis

Sunset at Cannon Beach
Oregon has mail-in voting, no serious efforts at voter disenfranchisement, and an engaged populace. 
Here's the big one:
Out of the 2.2 million registered voters in Oregon, 69.5 percent, or 1,519,804, returned ballots.
Which is actually a point and a half down from the 2010 midterm. And the result?
  • Despite a huge Koch cash dump, liberal Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley re-elected in a landslide.
  • Despite a relentless smear campaign by the state's largest (but shrinking) newspaper, Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber re-elected to an unprecedented fourth term.
  • The Democrats' state House majority expanded.
  • The Democrats' state Senate majority expanded by the critical seat that will neutralize a conservadem who had been gumming up the works, with a second possible pickup still too close to call.
  • Marijuana easily legalized.
  • An equal rights amendment resoundingly passed.
  • Top two primaries resoundingly rejected.
A couple of other good ballot measures failed, but overall this was a wide and deep sweep for Oregon Democrats, who continue to hold all statewide offices, and four of five Congressional seats.
It's easy to point to Oregon's overall liberal population, but that liberal population's political success also could be used as an excuse for many not to vote. But 69.5 percent did vote, which may be pathetic by international standards, but is astonishing by American standards. Voting is made easy, voting is encouraged, people vote, and Democrats won big. There's a lesson or two in there.

Originally posted to Laurence Lewis on Thu Nov 06, 2014 at 06:35 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos Oregon.

Via DailyKos: Something Wonderful Happened

by WinterOfDiscontentFollow

In the midst of all the doom, gloom, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth that occurred for the Democrats yesterday, something wonderful happened. It wasn't very big. Many people probably didn't even notice it.

The people of Richmond, California reaffirmed ownership of their town. You may know the story. Chevron operates a refinery near the city of Richmond and, a few years ago had a major fire that caused a lot of damage. The city of Richmond sued Chevron to recover the costs of those damages. 

Not wanting to chance the outcome in the courts, Chevron seized upon the municipal elections to run their own candidates that would be more Chevron friendly.

Leaving nothing to chance, Chevron pumped $3 million into the campaigns for their candidates compared to the $58,000 spent by the legitimate candidates for those offices. Chevron (through PACs) used the money to buy up all the available advertising - billboards, radio, TV, and print. Their $3 million bullhorn was immensely loud.

In spite of this (or maybe because of it) the people of Richmond rallied behind their candidates and elected them over all of the Chevron candidates. It's a small thing. So was the birth of Jesus.

When the Supreme Court declared through Citizens United that money is speech, they sought to change our participatory government from each person having an equal say, to the corporate model where you have as much say as the stock you own (your ability to pump your view into the conversation over shadowing all other views). What Richmond shows is that people can see through that. People can see past the blinding light and blaring noise of big money advertising and see the simple truth of what is right and what is wrong. There is hope for us.

P. T. Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every minute."

Abraham Lincoln said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

Richmond shows us that we may be more under the influence of Lincoln than we are Barnum. And that is something wonderful.

Originally posted to WinterOfDiscontent on Wed Nov 05, 2014 at 12:12 PM PST.

Also republished by Good News and California politics.

Via DailyKos: Meet your new craziest Republicans

by HunterFollow

Jody Hice wearing camo, holding rifle
Rep. Jody Hice, the face of New Republicanism. He'll be defending his Georgia district from the Gays, Muslims, and women who enter politics without their husbands' permission.
Tuesday's elections brought both a rout of Democrats and a new standard for just who can be a national Republican these days. That's not good, but let's have a quick look at the new House and Senate conservatives most likely to rise to (unintended) prominence in the next two years. It's time for Meet Your New Craziest Republicans. 
Glenn Grothman, WI-06: Any list has to start with new Wisconsin Representative Glenn Grothman. Grothman is a finely tuned gaffe machine, if by "gaffe" we mean "saying the things Republicans are not supposed to say out loud." He is a fervent believer in stopping The Gay Agenda, which he believes exists in our nation's classrooms, but it's the full scope of Grothman's bizarre statements that have led us to predict that he will quickly rise to challenge Texas Republican Louie Gohmert for the title of America's Dumbest Congressman. Does he have the stuff? We'll soon know.

Jody Hice, GA-10: Another beneficiary of a hard-right conservative district, Georgia's Jody Hice can't be considered a gaffe machine. He's just plain mean. A tea party Republican right out of central casting, Hice is a preacher, a conservative radio host, a gun-toter, and the district's replacement for Paul "Evolution and embryology and the big bang theory are lies from the pit of Hell" Broun. Hice's most recent hit has been the assertion that Muslim-Americans are not protected by the First Amendment because Islam is not a true religion; he also is frothingly anti-gay and is for women entering politics only if it is "within the authority of her husband." Look for Hice to be a loudmouth Steve King type; not dumb, but meaner than a bag of rattlesnakes and a whole lot louder.

Mark Walker, NC-06: An also-ran compared to the more reliably soon-to-be-infamous Grothman and Rice, Mark Walker will nonetheless make a solid addition to the members of Congress that you will shudder to think have actual power. His highlight reel is topped by the time he proposed "we go laser or blitz" Mexico in order to teach them a lesson about immigrants crossing our southern border. He's yet another tea partier that sallied into Congress while Republicans were proudly proclaiming they had tamped down on all that nonsense this time around. He also says he'd vote to impeach Obama.

Honorable Mention: Mia Love, UT-04: A female black Republican, Love has been a party darling groomed for success. She'll go to Congress this year to prove that she's got what it takes to move on to even higher office. She sports the endorsement of ultra-right anti-abortion extremists, but her unimpressive win even amidst an otherwise-solid Republican wave may have given her GOP poster child status a bit of a hit. Like Bobby Jindal, she's an ambitious state Republican who will either make a big splash in the party or look very silly trying.

Joni Ernst, IA-Sen: When it comes to the Senate, all connoisseurs of train wrecks in the making are expecting great things from the Sarah Palinesque Joni Ernst. A far-right conspiracy theorist who coasted through the election on reporter fluff pieces and stories of pig castration, Ernst will join—and perhaps top—the Senate contingent of Republican believers in all things conspiratorial and insane. 

Think Michele Bachmann, but in the Senate. Think your crazy grandpa and his forwarded chain letters, but in the Senate. Think that person who accosts you at lunch one day with their theories of how Agenda 21 will be allowing cows to vote and forcing humans into tent cities—but in the actual Senate. Think Ted Cruz, but—well, think Ted Cruz. Ernst's campaign showed two and only two settings, either ducking the press like a hunted submarine or engaging in word salads that rival the best Palinisms. We expect great things from her.

Honorable Mention: Tom Cotton, AR-Sen: He won't be a Joni Ernst, primarily because Ernst has squirreled away too much crazy for anyone but Ted Cruz himself to challenge, but Tom Cotton will prove a reliable Craven Liar Republican in the tradition of our finest intentionally insincere leaders. 

Why the Craven Liar title, as opposed to challenging in either the Sweet Jesus this guy is dumb or the Mean Bastard categories? Because Cotton's campaign showed a level of straight-up bullshit and pandering that had previously been seen only in satire bits about what Republicans might think, as when he supposed that ISIS and Mexican drug cartels would be teaming up to attack us across our border, a conservative wetyerpants claim seemingly handcrafted in the belief that Tom Cotton supporters were among the dumbest people on the planet. Unfortunately for Arkansas Republicans, he had them pegged. Cotton was also the most notable user of ISIS-produced terrorism films in his own ads, a move both meant to invoke terror in Americans so they would vote his way and one that likely earned the gratitude of the terrorist group for boosting publicity of their snuff films as they had intended. Perhaps we'll call him the ISIS senator, as it's a good bet ISIS already does.

On the Republican crazy beat, those are the top faces to watch. They'll all be appearing very, very often on the satire shows, and probably more than a few times on the Sunday shows (but I repeat myself). We'll also have the usual Steve Kings and Louie Gohmerts and, always, Ted Cruz, but if you're looking for the next national leader who will either make a total fool of his or herself, make a fool out of his or her whole state, or accidentally shoot someone in the face during a hunting trip, here are the names that should feature on your new bingo cards.

Originally posted to Hunter on Wed Nov 05, 2014 at 11:45 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.


The White House, Washington

Yesterday, millions of Americans cast their ballots. Republicans had a good night, and I congratulate all the candidates who won.

But what stands out to me is that the message Americans sent yesterday is one you've sent for several elections in a row now. You expect the people you elect to work as hard as you do. You expect us to focus on your ambitions -- not ours -- and you want us to get the job done. Period.

I plan on spending every moment of the next two years rolling up my sleeves and working as hard as I can for the American people. This country has made real and undeniable progress in the six years since the 2008 economic crisis. But our work will not be done until every single American feels the gains of a growing economy where it matters most: in your own lives.

While I'm sure we'll continue to disagree on some issues that we're passionate about, I'm eager to work with Congress over the next two years to get the job done. The challenges that lay ahead of us are far too important to allow partisanship or ideology to prevent our progress as a nation.

As we make progress, I'll need your help, too. Over the weeks and months ahead, I'll be looking to Americans like you, asking you to stay engaged.
I am optimistic about our future. Because for all the maps plastered across our screens today, for all the cynics who say otherwise, we are more than a simple collection of red and blue states. We are the United States.

And yesterday, millions of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans, women and men, young and old, black and white -- took the time out of their day to perform a simple, profound act of citizenship. That's something we shouldn't forget amid the din of political commentary. Because making progress starts with showing up.

Let's get to work.

President Barack Obama

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Via JMG: Vladimir Putin Again Tops Forbes List Of The Most Powerful People In The World

1. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
2. Barack Obama, President of the US
3. Xi Jinping, President of China
4. Pope Francis, Head of the Roman Catholic Church
5. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
6. Janet Yellen, Chair, Federal Reserve System
7. Bill Gates, Co-chair, Gates Foundation
8. Mario Draghi, President of European Central Bank
9. Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google
10. David Cameron, UK Prime Minister
11. Abdullah bin Aziz, King of Saudi Arabia
12. Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
13. Li Keqiang, Premier of China
14. Carlos Slim Helu,  Chairman of América Móvil
15. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
16. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon
17. Francois Hollande, President of France
18. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase
19. Ali Hoseini-Khamenei, Grand Ayatollah of Iran
20. Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil
21. Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric
22. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook
23. Michael Bloomberg, CEO of Bloomberg
24. Charles Koch & David Koch, Koch Industries
25. Timothy Cook, CEO of Apple

See the full list of 100.

Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via Liberal Dragon / FB:

Via The Knowledge Movement / FB:

Via In5d Esoteric Metaphysical and Spiritual Database / FB:

Via Editorial & Political Cartoons / FB:

Via Boing Boing / FB:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

10 Terrifying Facts From the UN's New Climate Report

10 Terrifying Facts From the UN's New Climate Report

This story originally appeared in Grist and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

The latest IPCC report is out, and the news is not happy.

The chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, called today's report the "strongest, most robust and most comprehensive" to come out of the IPCC, which has been tracking climate change since 1988. It is "yet another wake-up call to the global community that we must act together swiftly and aggressively," the White House said in a statement.

The report's language is stronger than in years past: Warming is "unequivocal," and the changes we're seeing are pervasive, it states clearly. We must take action quickly to cut our dependence on fossil fuels, it warns. If we don't, we'll face "further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems."

As we explained last week, you may be experiencing déjà vu—that's because there have been three IPCC reports released since September 2013. Today's is the final installment in this cycle of reports; called the synthesis report, it's intended to summarize and clarify the three that came before. All the parts together form the complete Fifth Assessment Report, or AR5, a comprehensive look at climate change of the sort that hasn't been released since 2007.

Everyone involved hopes the research summarized within will guide political leaders and UN negotiators as they try, over the next year, to cut an emissions-reducing deal and save us all.
Though this report is breezy by IPCC standards, coming in at a mere 116 pages with a 40-page summary for policymakers, we boiled it down a bit more. Here, with some charts, are 10 key things to take away—many of them familiar from the IPCC installments that have come out over the past 13 months.

Make the jump here to read the full article
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