I have only a few links for you this morning. On Monday I went to the neurologist, and it turns out I did have a seizure last month. The doctor put me on Topamax, aka “dope-a-max.” As if I needed any more help in the loopy department…
The side effects are scary, I am very sleepy and my fingers are tingling like the dickens. One possible thing I am looking forward to, is this medication causes loss of appetite, weight loss and anorexia. I know there is no way in hell I will become anorexic, but shedding some pounds is a big plus. However, as my dad says…with my luck, fat chance.
On with the news reads.
WTF is it with the GOP and their hypocrite candidates? Mark Sanford wins GOP nomination in South Carolina
It makes me want to puke…meanwhile, in Queens, NY:
BTW, Smith is a Democrat…but he wanted to run on the Republican ticket.
What the senator, Malcolm A. Smith, wanted to do, the other man explained, was going to cost “a pretty penny.”
“But it’s worth it,” replied Senator Smith, a Democrat, according to a transcript of the January meeting. “Because you know how big a deal it is.”
His plan, described by federal prosecutors in a criminal complaint unsealed on Tuesday, was as ambitious as it was audacious. Mr. Smith was going to bribe his way onto the ballot to run for mayor of New York.
But he needed help, from a disparate cast of characters, including a Republican City Council member from Queens, Daniel J. Halloran III, and two Republican leaders from Queens and the Bronx, Vincent Tabone and Joseph J. Savino. And he needed the help of the other man in the car, who, unbeknown to Mr. Smith, was a cooperating witness for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was recording the whole conversation.
There is a graphic here: Untangling the Arrests in the N.Y. Corruption Case
In Atlanta, cheating is in the news headlines these days. Here is coverage from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
CHEATING OUR CHILDRENBeverly Hall leaves the Fulton County Jail on Tuesday night. | Ben Gray/AJC
All but a few of the 35 educators indicted in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal have turned themselves in to authorities.
Raw: Hall arrives at jail
Shirley Franklin: ‘Lynch mob’
Beverly Hall’s bond lowered
Photos: Jail scene
Video: Educators surrender
Photos: Who is indicted
Gallery: AJC reports
Read the indictment
Join Twitter conversation
AJC: Cheating Our Children
AJC editor on CNN
What a mess!
There is also some sad news as well, yesterday Jane Henson passed away, she was 78. Jane Henson, matriarch to Muppets, dies at 78
This 1960 handout photo provided by The Jim Henson Company shows Jane Henson, right, with Jim Henson and the cast of Sam and Friends, in Washington. Jane Henson died in her Connecticut home on April 2, 2013 after a long battle with cancer. / AP Photo/The Jim Henson Company, Del Ankers
Those are some scary looking muppets, must be the earlier models….but then again, nothing is more frightening than Elmo…especially now that we know what made him laugh like that. (Oooo, that was a little over the top huh?)
Well, my fingers are feeling like they are falling asleep, just think of this as an open thread.
It’s hard to believe that we’re living in a political environment where elected officials are bemoaning waste in all levels of government while sending so many public funds and assets to underwrite religious indoctrination and profit private businesses. Southern states are the bottom crawlers of any measurement of academic outcomes. My state of Louisiana is no exception. Texas is definitely a problem. However, it’s a national problem so those of you that live in other parts of the country shouldn’t feel smug or think it couldn’t happen to your children or grandchildren. Two fellow Louisianans–Melissa Harris Perry and Zack Kopplin– have found that vouchers spread creationism. That cannot be good for a future that’s dependent on educated people who need to know real science. Let’s examine exactly what our tax dollars are funding.
First, here’s the results of Zack’s study. Zack is currently studying at Rice University.
I first began investigating creationist school vouchers as my part of my fight against creationism in my home state of Louisiana. Over the past few months, I’ve learned creationist vouchers aren’t just a Louisiana problem—they’re an American problem. School vouchers are, as James Gill recently wrote in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “the answer to a creationist’s prayer.”
Liberty Christian School, in Anderson, Indiana, has field trips to the Creation Museum and students learn from the creationist A Beka curriculum. Kingsway Christian School, in Avon, Indiana, also has Creation Museum field trips. Mansfield Christian School, in Ohio, teaches science through the creationist Answers in Genesis website, run by the founder of the Creation Museum. The school’s Philosophy of Science page says, “the literal view of creation is foundational to a Biblical World View.” All three of these schools, and more than 300 schools like them, are receiving taxpayer money.
So far, I have documented 310 schools, in nine states and the District of Columbia that are teaching creationism, and receiving tens of millions of dollars in public money through school voucher programs.
There is no doubt that there are hundreds more creationist voucher schools that have yet to be identified. The more than 300 schools I have already found are those that have publicly stated on their websites that they teach creationism or use creationist curricula.
There are hundreds more voucher schools, across the country, that are self-identified Christian academies, that appear very similar in philosophy to the ones I’ve identified in my research as teaching creationism. These schools may not blatantly advertise that they teach creationism on their websites, or often don’t even have a website, but there is a good chance that hundreds more voucher schools are also teaching our children creationism. Some states, Arizona and Mississippi, haven’t even released lists of schools participating in their voucher programs for the public to audit.
Here are a few highlights from creationist voucher schools I have identified:
- The Beverly Institute in Jacksonville, Florida, teaches “Evidence of a Flood,” and “Evidence against Evolution,” and ”The Evolution of Man: A Mistaken Belief.”
- Creekside Christian Academy in McDonough, Georgia says,“The universe, a direct creation of God, refutes the man-made idea of evolution. Students will be called upon to see the divine order of creation and its implications on other subject areas.
- Life Christian Academy in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma says their life science class will “lead the student to recognize that God created all living things and that these living things are fearfully and wonderfully made.” Evolution is taught only in history class, where students “evaluate the theory of evolution and its flaws.” The school uses the creationist Bob Jones and CSI curriculums.
- The principal of the Claiborne Christian School, in West Monroe, Louisiana, says in a school newsletter, “Our position at CCS on the age of the Earth and other issues is that any theory that goes against God’s Word is in error.” She also claims that scientists are “sinful men” trying to explain the world “without God” so they don’t have to be “morally accountable to Him.”
- Trinity Academy, in Gary, uses the creationist A Beka curriculum and says it “presents the universe as the direct creation of God and refutes the man-made idea of evolution.”
- Rocky Bayou Christian School, in Niceville, Florida, says in its section on educational philosophy, “God mandates that children be discipled for Christ. They must be trained in the biblical world view which honors Jehovah, the sovereign Creator of the universe. It recognizes that man was created in the image of God” and says “Man is presumed to be an evolutionary being shaped by matter, energy, and chance… God commands His people not to teach their children the way of the heathen.”
- Wisconsin Lutheran High School, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, says in its biology syllabus that it teaches, “evolutionists are ‘stuck’ because they have no god, therefore they must believe in evolution” and “young earth evidence a disaster to evolutionists.”
We’ve seen some horrible examples what now passes as “science” in Louisiana thanks to the LSEA or the Lousiana Science Education Act pushed and signed by Bobby Jindal and some of the whackier senators in the Louisiana Legislature in 2008. You can learn more about the law itself in the youtube. We’re not the only state that’s having problems now with taxpayer funded religious screeds.
The Texas Freedom Network has documented examples in Texas. Texas passed a law that lets schools teach bible courses under the guise of discussing the importance of religion in history and literature. They don’t even have vouchers draining funds to their evangelical madrassas yet. It’s in the works. Right now, all this is going on in regular public schools. The stories from TFNEF are not very pretty and includes a lot of students basically getting lessons in anti-Semitism. Here’s some examples of what they’ve found being taught in Texas.
Today the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund released a report, authored by a religious studies professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, that examines what students are learning in the 57 school districts and three charter schools that teach Bible courses. Examples from Texas public schools:
- Instructional material in two school districts teach that racial diversity today can be traced back to Noah’s sons, a long-discredited claim that has been a foundational component of some forms of racism.
- Religious bias is common, with most courses taught from a Protestant — often a conservative Protestant — perspective. One course, for example, assumes Christians will at some point be “raptured.” Materials include a Venn diagram showing the pros and cons of theories that posit the rapture before the returning Jesus’ 1,000-year reign and those that place it afterward. In many courses, the perspectives of Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Jews are often left out.
- Anti-Jewish bias — intentional or not — is not uncommon. Some courses even portray Judaism as a flawed and incomplete religion that has been replaced by Christianity.
- Many courses suggest or openly claim that the Bible is literally true. “The Bible is the written word of God,” students are told in one PowerPoint presentation. Some courses go so far as to suggest that the Bible can be used to verify events in history. One district, for example, teaches students that the Bible’s historical claims are largely beyond question by listing biblical events side by side with historical developments from around the globe.
- Course materials in numerous classes are designed to evangelize rather than provide an objective study of the Bible’s influence. A book in one district makes its purpose clear in the preface: “May this study be of value to you. May you fully come to believe that ‘Jesus is the Christ, the son of God.’ And may you have ‘life in His name.’”
- A number of courses teach students that the Bible proves Earth is just 6,000 years old.
- Students are taught that the United States is a Christian nation founded on the Christian biblical principles taught in their classrooms.
- Academic rigor is so poor that many courses rely mostly on memorization of Bible verses and factoids from Bible stories rather than teaching students how to analyze what they are studying. One district relies heavily on Bible cartoons from Hanna-Barbera for its high school class. Students in another district spend two days watching what lesson plans describe a “the historic documentary Ancient Aliens,” which presents “a new interpretation of angelic beings described as extraterrestrials.”
How could such courses have gone so wrong? The 2007 law included numerous guidelines designed to help public schools create academically rigorous and constitutionally appropriate courses. But the Legislature failed to appropriate funding to develop in-service training for teachers of Bible courses, and most school districts simply ignored the requirement that teachers get such training. Moreover, the State Board of Education — under the control of religious conservatives at the time — refused to adopt serious curriculum standards to help guide school districts as they planned their courses.
Jindal’s voucher experiment was recently found unconstitutional but not for the reasons that you think. It was basically a technicality of funding and educational funding guidelines prescribed in the state’s constitution that got the law thrown out. Address this issue and the vouchers could stick and stay. Here’s some of the more recent news concerning what’s draining tax payer funds and passing as ‘education’ in Louisiana.
Jindal defended vouchers without once using the oft-toxic term, instead calling them scholarships, or putting them under the broader umbrella of school choice. “It is my sincere hope that what we are now putting in motion in Louisiana can be done across the country,” Jindal said. “I believe we’ve got an economic and a moral imperative to provide school choice and a quality education to every child, every student in America.”
Jindal made the case for making vouchers bipartisan. “I do not accept the notion that equal opportunity in public education should be a partisan issue,” Jindal said. Vouchers have been a third-rail policy among liberals, causing the Obama administration to do rhetorical summersaults. They’re controversial among liberals because they funnel tax dollars to private institutions — often, parochial schools that teach religion. In Louisiana, the private schools accepting voucher money have been found to teach about both creationism and the existence of the mythical Loch Ness monster.
Additionally, the schools that receive vouchers are not subjected to basic standards required of public schools AND many don’t even meet basic federal standards for basic services to special needs students.
Jindal said private schools in and near New Orleans that accepted vouchers saw more growth in student proficiency rates recently than schools statewide. (Proficiency rates are rarely reliable, since they measure two different groups of students.) Jindal also asserted that the vouchers serve all students. “It’s the money of a grandmother who wants to make sure her special education grandbaby gets the education she needs,” he said.
But according to public records, several private schools that opened their doors to voucher students with special needs had no services for such students. For example, the St. Angela Merici school’s application indicated it had no services for students with autism, mental disabilities or learning disabilities.
As for Jindal’s claims about high performing “charter” schools. I can offer you just a few links that show charter schools really aren’t performing as Jindal claims. Again, the biggest problem is that these schools do not effectively address children with disabilities. Schools that don’t address children with the highest needs can hardly be called anything but dysfunctional and discriminatory. There are currently many lawsuits and stories concerning children with special needs and various charter schools. These schools are cherry-picking students.
Families have attempted to place their disabled children in schools, but they have either been told that the school doesn’t have special-needs services or been told, gently, that their child would be better served at another school. These problems occur often enough that a due-process complaint has been filed against the Louisiana Department of Education on behalf of 4,500 students in the city with disabilities.
These issues have conveniently been left out of a number of Pollyanna-ish media reports touting the messianic nature of charter schools, and how Hurricane Katrina was a “blessing” to New Orleans’ children. A recent article at The Grio, “New Orleans Charter Schools Redefine Education Reform,” reads: “The standardized test results for fourth, eighth and tenth grade public school students have gone up since the storm hit in 2005. This may have something to do with the increasing presence of charter schools, though it is not clear.”
But test scores in those grades were already rising before the storm hit. Between 2003 and 2005, fourth-grade math results grew by 9 percent. Between 2007 and 2009, those results grew by 9.5 percent. In eighth-grade math, the growth in the percentage of kids scoring above basic levels between 2003 and 2005 was greater than the gains between 2007 and 2009. There has been a slight improvement in eighth-grade English and in math at the high school graduate level, but in both categories, the improvement in test scores builds on progress that was already occurring before the mass chartering of New Orleans.
There’s a natural conflict there, experts say, in that most school districts are less than eager to announce they’ve found corruption in their midst.
At charter schools, the conflict might be more acute, some say, because charter boards play a role in investigations. Board members can be recruited by a school’s administrators, which might make it even more difficult for them to take a hard look at allegations.
“If you are committed to finding out the truth, you need individuals who are not connected in any way to the individuals involved,” said Robert Schaeffer, public education director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing.
In Louisiana’s current setup, there is “a conflict of interest all the way up the line,” and not just as it relates to charter schools, said Gregory Cizek, a professor of educational measurement at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “No one has a really strong interest in investigating in a really searching manner,” he said.
That’s why some states have started putting such investigations under the jurisdiction of the state attorney general’s office or another independent entity, he said.
Asking the school’s own board of directors or district to handle a probe, Cizek said, is like having the IRS tell a taxpayer: “We have a problem with your tax return. Would you look it over?”
In her examination of Arizona’s 50 largest nonprofit charter schools and all of Arizona’s nonprofit charter schools with assets exceeding $10 million, Ryman found “at least 17 contracts or arrangements, totaling more than $70 million over five years and involving about 40 school sites, in which money from the non-profit charter school went to for-profit or non-profit companies run by board members, executives or their relatives.” That says to me that in Arizona, at least, charter-school corruption isn’t the exception. It’s the rule. And that’s just in the nonprofit charter schools. Documentation for the for-profit schools is not publicly available. What are the odds that charter-school proprietors operating in the dark are less inclined to enrich themselves at public expense?
The self-dealing is entirely legal. All you have to do is get yourself an exemption from state laws requiring that goods and services be bid competitively. Clearly these exemptions aren’t difficult to acquire, because 90 percent of Arizona’s charter holders—not 90 percent of the charter schools surveyed by the Arizona Republic, but 90 percent of all the state’s charter schools—have acquired permanent exemptions from state competitive bidding requirements. No exemption has ever been withdrawn by the state. If you are a charter-school officer and you stand to benefit personally from some financial transaction with the school, you may not vote on whether to make the purchase. But that’s about the only rule.
The result? “The schools’ purchases from their own officials,” Ryman writes, “range from curriculum and business consulting to land leases and transportation services. A handful of non-profit schools outsource most of their operations to a board member’s for-profit company.”
Clearly, our state and many others have set up systems rife with self-dealing, cherry-picking and curricula that should stand in clear violation of the first amendment. My bottom line here? If any of these school reform initiatives come your way in your state, fight them like hell. They are just simply ways to bust teacher unions, deliver tax dollars to corporate cronies, and fund radical evangelical madrassas and religious indoctrination in the guise of science, literature, and history. Of course, this means if you have a Republican governor, be prepared to vote and fight.
The weather here in Banjoville is gloomy, making my fingers ache. In other words, typing is bothersome so this will be a short post. The gloom is also making me moody, giving me even less enthusiasm for typing today. Anyway, these are the rest of your Sunday reads.
BB sent me this link last night, GOP looks for ways to stop the rape comments. I don’t think they can “stop” any kind of comments that discriminate or degrade women period.
Rep. Phil Gingrey’s attempts to explain Todd Akin’s rape remarks are leaving many Republicans beyond frustrated that a few in their party can’t help but insert rape into the already contentious abortion debate.
“This is actually pretty simple. If you’re about to talk about rape as anything other than a brutal and horrible crime, stop,” said Republican strategist Kevin Madden, who was a senior adviser in Mitt Romney’s campaign.
…a training program that’s already being launched by an anti-abortion group — the Susan B. Anthony list — to keep candidates and lawmakers from continually making the same kind of comments that may have helped ruin Republicans’ chances of winning the Senate.[...]
Marina Ein, whose public relations firm does crisis communications, said the party needs some kind of “sensitivity training” for its candidates if it wants to do better in the next elections.
“It all boils down to whether or not the Republican Party thinks this is a problem,” she said. “If they want to make inroads with women, then they need to subject every one of their candidates to sensitivity training — not to mention reality training.”
The training would have to “educate politicians on subjects that are absolutely taboo, except to say, ‘I sympathize with the pain of anyone who goes through fill-in-the-blank,’” she said.
Madden’s advice is simply to stop talking.
A bunch of conservative Texas groups are taking history departments at the University of Texas and Texas A&M to task because they supposedly talk too much about race, class, and gender instead of rich white guys and awesome wars and America Rocks and Let’s Invade Iran! and other such things. Texas has a public school requirement that each college student must take 2 U.S. history classes. So these groups decided to look at syllabi to see what they could see. The answer, too much teaching topics that might make students question the current tenets of the Republican Party.
That is the question I’m facing with the latest twist in Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, a pro bono First Amendment case that I’m litigating before the Ninth Circuit. For more on the substantive First Amendment issue, see the materials collected here. But this twist is all about procedure (as so many legal questions are).
Don’t give us that look, you knew as well as we did that the Walt Disney Company would eventually cut its fang-like teeth on insidious global takeover. This spring, Disney World will feel more like an internment camp than a destination for exorbitant family entertainment when the park initiates the MyMagic+ vacation management system and MagicBand identification bracelets. These bracelets, if participating visitors are so inclined, will be encoded with a wealth of information including the individual’s name, credit card information, and other tidbits such as birthdays. Disney believes that this new system will mean faster purchase transactions and less time spent waiting in line to get on rides, but it’s natural if some people would rather not have corporate goons sifting through private information for their own ends. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the police state as envisioned by Mickey Mouse!
The MagicBand bracelets will work in conjunction with a website and app called My Disney Experience. Here, users will be able to select three FastPasses for rides of their choosing in addition to VIP seating for special events like fireworks shows or those obnoxious meet-and-greets. What they probably won’t know during this entire process is that they’ve unknowingly put themselves on the grid and will be under the constant monitoring of Disney goons from some undisclosed location — likely a cramped concrete bunker underneath the churro cart.
And as if Disney couldn’t possibly cram anymore features into a dinky rubber bracelet certain to give one’s wrist sweat-induced rashes under the hot Florida sun, the MagicBands will also serve as room keys and tickets for attractions or parking.
The bracelets are convenient to say the least, but it’s difficult not to shake that overwhelming feeling of having one’s privacy invaded. Disney stresses that the bracelets are entirely optional and will be used solely to gather vital information — such as items purchased and which characters you embraced or ran away from in sheer terror — to better improve visitor experience. So, really, how can you hate on a bracelet that gives park employees the ability to address your family by their first names? It’s not like the reason for a long distance vacation is to physically get away from people who know you.
Three years on from the Haiti earthquake the housing situation in the country is nothing short of catastrophic with hundreds of thousands of people still living in fragile shelters, Amnesty International said as it urged the authorities and the international community to make housing a priority.The 12 January 2010 earthquake left more than 200,000 people dead and some 2.3 million homeless.It is estimated that more than 350,000 people currently live in 496 camps across the country.According to testimonies gathered by Amnesty International in Haiti, living conditions in the makeshift camps are worsening – with severe lack of access to water, sanitation and waste disposal – all of which have contributed to the spread of infectious diseases such as cholera.
Women and girls are vulnerable to sexual assault and rape.“As if being exposed to insecurity, diseases and hurricanes were not enough, many people living in makeshifts camps are also living under the constant fear of being forcibly evicted,” said Javier Zúñiga, Special Advisor at Amnesty International.
Human bones have been exposed at a church graveyard in Whitby after a landslide took away part of the cliff.
The large landslip, at the cliff on which St Mary’s Church stands, has exposed ancient graves when rock started to crumble.
The church, founded around AD1110, includes the graveyard that provided the inspiration for a scene in Bram Stoker’s horror novel Dracula.
The human bones have been collected and will be reinterred, officials said.
The landslide has been blamed on a broken drainage pipe which has become damaged and fallen away.
‘Only bones’This meant that after heavy rainfall the soil became saturated, leading to more of the cliff falling away.
A stream of water can now be seen flowing out of the rock face where the bones are believed to have been recovered.
St Mary’s rector, Canon David Smith said: “The cemetery has been closed for over a century, so if any graves are exposed it’s only bones.
Another old decrepit site is the focus of this next link: ” The Thread That Connects Us All “ « mikepillowsphoto
“To Walk a Mile in…”
I was treated to an early gift this season… it was a dusty, old, dark, and very magical treat to this photographer’s eyes. The present I am referring to, was my visit to the last intact silk mill left in the US. Built in 1907, and known as Klotz Throwing Company, it is located in Lonaconing, MD which is about a five and a half hour drive from where I live.
On rare occasions, you can feel a presence of history in a place. I felt it instantly, when I set foot inside this mill. What also set the mood was the ambient light I had to work in. The smell and feel of a past life lets your thoughts drift back to when it was a booming factory. Seeing the thousands of spools, and their links to the machinery, led you to actually imagine the sounds and visualize the people who had worked on the factory floor.
I recently did a post on great dual performance movies, that is, movies where two actors go head to head, both in the movie and as actors. I brought up Bette Davis and Anne Baxter in All About Eve, Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier in Sleuth as well as many others. Readers followed up with a lot of great match-ups themselves and I recommend giving them all a read. But as Al Capone, played by Robert De Niro, famously said in The Untouchables, “I’m goin’ out there for myself. But… I get nowhere unless the team wins.” (psst, after he says that he whimsically crushes some poor sap’s skull in with a baseball bat) And so this post isn’t about head to head, it’s about elbow to elbow and hand in hand. It’s all about working together but not in the way you’d think. Forget Nick and Nora, Oscar and Felix, Dorothy Gale and those three lugs. This all about my favorite little teams, the ones that no one ever celebrates… until now.
My eyes popped open at 5:30 this morning, and I could not go back to sleep. So while checking my RSS feeds I found a few articles from Alternet that you should take a look at. I will just post the link and a small part of the article to tease you…
First this look at a British documentary that spanned decades, The Brutal Truth About How Childhood Determines Your Economic Destiny
“Give me the child until he is seven,” the old Jesuit teachers say, “and I will give you the man.”
Back in 1964, filmmaker Paul Almond set out to test that theory by documenting the lives of a group of seven-year-old British children. Some were born to the manor; others grew up in charity homes. There were tykes from both the countryside and the city. Almond wanted to know if the destiny of the children had already been scripted by the circumstances of their birth — particularly those of class. His film Seven Up! has grown into a series spanning over five decades. Every seven years, like the cycle in some mythological saga, Michael Apted, the assistant on the original project, has returned to these children as they have morphed before our eyes into awkward adolescents, tentative adults, and now, the paunchy survivors of late middle-age.
As bright-eyed children, participants like Jackie Bassett, the product of a working-class neighborhood, or Andrew Brackfield, who attends a posh prep school, are already miles apart in attitude and habits. Tellingly, the children speak very differently about what they see in their future. Those from the higher ranks already know which universities they’ll attend, while Paul Kligarman, who lives at the charity home, asks plaintively, “What’s a university?”
This article is written by Lynn Parramore, and although I have disagreed with her position before…she does an excellent job on laying out the resulting class structures that conservative policies and austerity bring about…you know, the death of upward mobility.
On to another interesting long reads, this time written by Jennifer Holladay: Why Are 8 Year-Olds Reading Stories That Glorify Rape?
Last spring, my 2nd-grade daughter came home with an extra assignment—a worksheet she hadn’t completed in class for a story called “The Selkie Girl.” She brought the book home, too, and it was one I’d never seen before, a Junior Great Books anthology (Series 3, Book 1), published by the nonprofit Great Books Foundation.
As we settled in, I asked my daughter to tell me about “The Selkie Girl.” Her rendition gave me pause, so I asked her to do her other homework first. She turned to a worksheet, and I cracked the book open.
“The Selkie Girl” is essentially about a magical seal-woman who is kidnapped and raped repeatedly during her long captivity. The man who holds her hostage proclaims early on that “I am in love” and “I want her to be my wife.” When he kidnapped her, “She was crying bitterly, but she followed him.” Later, the narrative tells us, “Because he was gentle and loving, she no longer wept. When their first child was born, he saw her smile.” When her means of escape is discovered, however, she explains quite bluntly to the children she bore: “For I was brought here against my will, 20 years past.”
It’s like the modern-day reality of Jaycee Dugard (who was kidnapped at age 11 in California and held captive with her two children for 18 years), told in folklore for the consumption of young children.
It is disturbing, but as you will read in the article, it goes back to conservative policies…this time the target is in education. I guess you can imagine where the discovery of this story “The Selkie Girl” will lead Holladay as she researches the publisher of the textbook, it is no surprise. Just read it.
On to another alternet post, this time a review of sorts of the latest crap written by Ben Shapiro. Conservatives Are Always Triumphant and Also an Oppressed Minority, According to Notably Stupid New Book
Ben Shapiro makes his living harrumphing over the sins of liberalism, and his new book doesn’t disappoint.
Being a doctrinaire conservative in this day and age requires you to do a lot of cognitive gymnastics. Luckily, the captain of the right’s gymnastic team is Ben Shapiro, who has been an exceptional contortionist since his YAF days, when he simultaneously boasted of his unfashionable virginity and scolded everyone else about their allegedly unconventional sex lives. Ben is married now, and presumably has engaged in heterosexual intercourse, but it hasn’t made him any happier or more relaxed, as he makes his living harrumphing over the sins of liberalism. Hey, just because it’s easy doesn’t mean someone should do it.
Though not himself large, Ben has wrangled, by virtue of being a nuance-impervious loudmouth, the position of editor-at-large at Breitbart.com. (You may recall that this position was once held by Andrew Breitbart himself, until his heart self-detonated rather than listen to him bellow for one more second.) This job entails being a sort of all-purpose complainer, a queen bee fat on the jelly of foundation grants, forever sending out drones to gather the sweet nectar of gripe. Just like that one guy on your Facebook who can’t relate to anything unless it has a Star Wars reference in it, Ben has cranked out book after book of impotent whining about how liberals are ruining everything with their education and their pornography and their crazy rock and roll and their hair. A 79-year-old man in the body of a failed attorney, his books (which I only hesitate to call unreadable because even I have better things to do than read them) attract praise from the kind of people who write books exactly like them — that is to say, endless litanies of alleged liberal treachery and evildoing.
And I will end with this post: Is The American Hemp Renaissance About to Begin?
Kentucky was America’s leading hemp producer in the early 19th century. Now, two hundreds year later, after a historic election for drug policy has led to a shift for marijuana policy reform in America, Kentucky lawmakers are taking steps to revive the crop. While advocates for hemplegalization say the plant could bring a wealth of green jobs to Kentucky, deep-rooted drug stigma and conflict with federal law have made t he legislation’s passing unlikely. Nonetheless, two state bills are in the works, while a federal proposal aims to clear the way for state legalization. Lawmakers suggest the bills could at least open up the conversation about hemp, and clear misconceptions about its use.
Because hemp is increasingly imported from Canada, growing and making it in the US could save the US money and create green jobs at home. Aside from soy, no other plant has shown the potential to create so many different products — from hemp soap to paper and oil. Moreover, hemp rarely requires pesticides, can be grown in the same fields over several consecutive years, and produces biodegradable plastics and biofuels. Lightweight and dense, hemp-limeis a building material that known to be an efficient insulator leaving behind a minimal carbon footprint.
Which, in light of the current Midwestern drought that is bringing about comparisons to the great Dust Bowl, this long read about a historic plant like hemp was actually hopeful. However, like most of the articles I’ve shared today…seeing the problem and actually fixing it are two different things. I don’t know, maybe the real issue is staring us right in the face? Conservative policies don’t work, and it is painfully obvious to me that until we move away from these right-wing ideals…none of the solutions to many of our problems will ever get put into action.
Damn…now that is depressing.
Catch y’all later in the comment section, for now my eyelids are getting heavy and maybe I can get a few more hours sleep in before the kids way up.
<——– Looks like Karl Rove…yes?
Hey y’all, tonight’s cartoons really can not be labeled as disgusted and angry, that is just my mood the last 28 hours. I guess since I have nothing nice to say I should just get on with it.
Let us start first with this news out of Ohio…Montpelier school board approves carrying of handguns by custodial staff .
I will just post the money quotes for you:
The Montpelier Exempted Village Schools Board of Education has approved the carrying of handguns by its custodial staff.
“Sitting back and doing nothing and hoping it doesn’t happen to you is just not good policy anymore. There is a need for schools to beef up their security measures,” Supertendent [sic] Jamie Grime told The Blade today. “Having guns in the hands of the right people are not a hindrance. They are a means to protect.”
Mr. Grime said their legal counsel advised that Ohio’s gun law allows for school boards to authorize employees to possess weapons on school grounds if they pass the requirements of the concealed-carry law.
The school district will pay for the employees to undergo a two-day training class in mid March, when instructors with the Tactical Defense Institute of West Union, Ohio, will give them a defense class on handgun use in Montpelier.
My son made the observation…that school custodians hate their jobs and can’t stand the kids. Yup, that sure is a smart idea to arm these low wage janitors with handguns…but I guess with such involved and time-consuming training…what could go wrong.
One more link before we get to the cartoons. There is an article up at Cagle which I think you all may appreciate, since the cartoon posts are kind of a favorite around here. Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » How to Draw a Political Cartoon by Daryl and Steve
And with that little tutorial, we will start with some early political/editorial cartoons…that being Satirical Maps of long ago. Check out the link for more by the way… Via BibliOdyssey:
‘The French Invasion, or John Bull, bombarding the Bum-boats’
Etching by James Gillray; published in London by Hannah Humphrey in 1793
Image source: British Museum
“A comic map, inscribed ‘A new Map of England & France’, actually showing England and Wales, the SW. corner of Scotland, the north of France, just including ‘Paris’, and the Belgian coast as far as Ostend. England is represented by the body of George III (John Bull), his head in profile to the right, wearing a fool’s cap composed of ‘Northumberland’. His left leg is drawn up, Norfolk forms the knee, the mouth of the ‘River Thames’ the ankle, Kent the foot. His outstretched right leg terminates as Cornwall.
From the coast, at the junction of ‘Hampshire’ and ‘Sussex’, issues a blast of excrement inscribed ‘British Declaration’, which smites a swarm of ‘Bum-Boats’ extending from Ushant to the mouth of the Seine. The map is divided (inaccurately, and with omissions, but with a rough correctness) into counties, Wales representing the flying coat-tails of the King, who strides across the ocean with great vigour.”
Hey, doesn’t that give the classic scene from Monty Python’s Holy Grail a whole new meaning.
That fetus needs to be wearing a janitor uniform…don’t ya think? A mop in one
fin hand and a AK-47 in the other.
This is what our janitors look like in Banjoville on their days off!
(Actually, it is what most of the population here looks like. And considering that our local sheriff office has worked through an avalanche of concealed weapon permits…over 500 applications since Dec. 14th, you can bet there will be some pistol packing grandmas, Southern belles and banjo playing country folk carrying heat in the mountains of Georgia.)
Speaking of Southern Belles:
I love that one!
Y’all have a great evening…this is an open thread.