Posts tagged: politics
Stories to Watch: 4/12/13.
It strikes me that Pres. Obama’s embrace of chained CPI as a way to get Republicans to agree to tax increases is bad politics for a couple of reasons. First, by trying to bargain entitlement cuts for tax increases, the president is acting pretty much exactly like the Republican’s caricature of Democrats as “tax-hiking liberals.” Meanwhile, he’s not acting like a real Democrat and protecting Social Security. He’s getting it from all sides because he’s inviting it from all sides.
The anti-choice right has decided to whine that the media is ignoring a story about Philadelphia abortion provider Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell ran a “pill mill” and was a butcher on the abortion side of his business, but bad doctors rarely rate national coverage. To be fair, Gosnell’s office seems especially gruesome — but still, someone who literally injected concrete into people’s bodies only got a day or two of coverage and it was hardly wall to wall.
At any rate, it’s hard to figure why the anti-choicers would want to highlight Gosnell, because he’s noteworthy for the fact that he’s not the norm. In fact, if the people complaining about press coverage had their way, there’d be a lot more Kermit Gosnells than there are now. Think about it: after Roe v. Wade, one abortion provider is a back alley butcher. Before Roe, they were common. As arguments in support of the “make abortion illegal everywhere and forever” cause go, Kermit Gosnell is a really lousy one. If anyone would have a reason to black out reporting on Gosnell, it should by all logic be the anti-abortion side. He represents the world they want us all to live in.
A report has the health of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is deteriorating rapidly. One Vatican watcher says “we won’t have him with us for very much longer.” The Vatican claims the report is exaggerated, but the former Pope has seemed increasing frail since stepping down.
The RNC officially stakes out the minority position on marriage equality, reaffirming their stance against it. Two former RNC operatives take to the National Review to point out that this is shortsighted. You can’t take the minority position on every social issue and expect to win elections. The math just doesn’t work.
North Korea threatens to nuke Japan over Japan’s promise to shoot down any North Korean missiles that come their way. Secretary of State John Kerry says any missile launch by the DPRK would be a “huge mistake.”
A Harvard study concludes that racism cost Pres. Obama “roughly four percentage points of the national popular vote in both 2008 and 2012.”
8 year-old Tennessee resident Aamira Fetuga followed state Sen. Stacey Campfield around the capitol until he withdrew an idiotic bill linking welfare payments to children’s grades. Let me be clear on that; he pulled the bill. Nice work, Ms. Fetuga.
Twitter seems to be on the verge of launching a music service.
Finally, that story about the gay man who was arrested for refusing to leave partner’s hospital bedside in Missouri is even worse than you think… and then still worse again.
[photo via Truthdig]
here’s a screen cap of a correspondence between a woman named telisha cobb and senator campfield, who is at the forefront of tennessee’s “don’t say gay” bill (actually called the classroom protection act), a bill which would require teachers, counselors, etc. to inform parents if their children are gay, or even if they ~appear~ to be gay. (here is some more information about it.) she posted it on her facebook (easier to read!) and is urging others to share it so the word can get out about what an unbelievable asshole this dude is (if it wasn’t already obvious enough).
in case you’re having trouble reading the screen cap, it says:
I am writing to you as a mother, active citizen and born & raised Tennessean. You are an embarrassment to our great state. Folks all over the country and here in Tennessee are looking at the bills that you are proposing in shock. They are the most ignorant and morally lacking legislation that could be proposed this year. It is clear that you are targeting homosexuals and low income families with hogwash legislation. You need to search your heart, your values and your Christianity to find a better way to represent us as a whole. We will do everything in our power to make sure you are not here in 2014. There are numerous grass root parties that are making their voices heard.
his super classy response to her email reads:
You seem to have some serious, deep anger issues. Have you ever thought about therapy? I hear they are doing some wonderful things with medication these days.
Yours in service,
Sen. Stacey Campfield
like come on. you’ve gotta be kidding me here.
so! if you wouldn’t mind reblogging this and spreading the word, that would be great! telisha wants others to spread this around as much as they possibly can. this is a totally inappropriate and unprofessional way of addressing criticism and more people need to know about this dude and what he’s trying to pull.
presented without comment.
As of last Friday, The New York Times calculated Obama has had the fifth most significant rise in the Dow of any president over the same period of time since 1900 – right behind FDR, Calvin Coolidge, Bill Clinton and Dwight Eisenhower.
All those presidents served more than one term.
It turns out the stock market has been like a lot of other things under No-Drama Obama. We have good days — we have bad days. But overall, the situation had gradually, steadily gotten better.
Your next retort to the person who complains about rising gas prices.
Let me begin, if I may, with a few words about my opponent. Don’t tell him I said this, but he’s an impressive fellow in many ways.
He’s inspired a great many Americans, some of whom have wrongly believed that a political campaign could hold no purpose or meaning for them. This success should make Americans, all Americans, proud. Of course, I would prefer his success not to continue quite as long as he hopes, but it does make you and me proud to know the country I’ve loved and served all my life, still a work in progress and always improving.
Senator Obama talks about making history, and he’s made quite a bit of it already. And the way was prepared by this venerable organization and others like it.
A few years before the NAACP was founded, President Theodore Roosevelt’s invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage and an insult in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and prideful bigotry of that time. There’s no better evidence of this than the nomination of an African-American to be the presidential nominee of his party.
So whatever the outcome in November, Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and his country, and I thank him for it.
Back then, GOP presidential candidates were above trolling. Not today.
(via the Washington Post)
How Texas-made textbooks influence American education (photo)
July 7, 2012
One of the tasks of the Texas State Board of Education is to update curriculum standards and textbooks for Texas schoolchildren. The Texas school system is so large — 4.8 million textbook-reading school children as of 2011 — that revisions made by the board are often included in school books across the country, though digital technology has lessened this effect in recent years.
In 2010, the board got a lot of attention when it approved over 100 amendments — many of which had a very clear conservative political agenda — to the social studies and economics curriculum standards. Here are some of the more pointed proposals.
Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Father considered by many to be the author of the Declaration of Independence, is also credited with coining the phrase “separation of church and state.” According to The New York Times, that coinage didn’t make him very popular with the conservative members of the board. They removed Jefferson from a list of great Enlightenment philosophers — including John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu and Jean Jacques Rousseau — who inspired political revolutions from the 1700s to today. They also removed the word “Enlightenment” and added Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin. After much criticism, they added Jefferson back, but left out “Enlightenment” resulting in a standard very different from the original.
Downplaying Religious Freedom
A proposed amendment from one of the Democratic board members would have required students to “examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion over all others.” One Republican member argued that the “founders didn’t intend for separation of church and state in America” and called the statement “not historically accurate” and the conservative members voted down the standard. The board then added a new one that suggests the “separation of church and state” is not a key principle of the First Amendment.
Citing negative connotations, conservative board members decreed that all instances of the word “capitalism” should be replaced with “free-enterprise system.” They also objected to “democratic,” so “democratic societies” and “representative democracy” were replaced by “republic.” Any reference to American “imperialism” was also stricken and replaced with “expansionism.” In the textbooks, imperialism could only be associated with European and Russian colonialism.
In perhaps the most blatant political move, the board passed an amendment requiring U.S. history students to learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s,” but not about liberal or minority groups. Conservative heroes including Phyllis Schlafly, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association were added, and more frequent mentions of President Ronald Reagan were encouraged. As Chairman Don McLeroy explained to the Washington Monthly: “He needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes.”
Bling’s the Thing
Earlier this week, the Texas GOP released their 2012 platform which includes, among othercontroversial policy positions, a desire to return to the gold standard. The United States left the gold standard for good in 1971 and most economists agree that move was a good thing. The school board held a debate — unattended by any economists — and arbitrarily passed a revised standard that requires students to “analyze the decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.”
The Great Society (Maybe Not So Great?)
The board approved a standard requiring students to learn about “any unintended consequences” of the Great Society, affirmative action and Title IX. Other attempts to change the way the civil rights movement was taught, including a provision that would require students learn that it created “unreasonable expectations for equal outcomes,” failed to pass.
Socialists Get the Boot
Dolores Huerta, co-founder of United Farm Workers of America, was dropped from a third grade list of “historical and contemporary figures who have exemplified good citizenship.” Conservative board members said Huerta is not a good role model for third-graders because she’s a socialist. Helen Keller, a staunch socialist, was left on the books.
Far right members of the board — hoping to lessen criticism of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s 1950s hearings — passed a standard that would make students learn “how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.”
South Texas artist Santa Barraza was recommended for inclusion in a 7th grade standard by a Latina board member. Another member googled the artist and was offended by one of her paintings that included minor female nudity. She showed it to her colleagues and they refused to add her to the standard. The Texas Freedom Network notes that several of Barraza’s paintings were hanging in the Texas governor’s mansion while George W. Bush was in residence in the 1990s. The conservative bloc also removed hip hop from a list of culturally significant musical genres.
My state government is very frustrating.
WASHINGTON - Seeking to mobilize support for the November election, Vice President Joe Biden (Tuesday) warned the nation’s public school teachers that they are “under full blown assault” from Mitt Romney and the Republican Party.
“Gov. Romney and his allies in the Congress, their plan for public education in America is to let the states use Title One dollars to boost enrollment in private schools,” Biden told a crowd of more than 15,000 delegates at the National Education Association convention in Washington.
“I’m not looking for boos,” he told the crowd, which was reacting to mention of Romney. “I think we should just have a straight honest to God talk about the difference between… how President Obama and I view education and how our Republican colleagues today view it.”
The NEA, one of the nation’s largest public sector unions, endorsed a second Obama term one year ago and is considered a key player in Democratic organizing efforts in swing states. Membership has slumped over the past two years - down 100,000 alone since 2010, according to the group - meaning potentially fewer bodies on the ground and money for advertising. But the group’s enthusiasm for Obama appears not to have waned.
In May, Romney revealed his plan to overhaul the nation’s public education system, which would promote school choice. He would allocate federal education funds by student, allowing parents to pick where to send their child to school, including online institutions.
Romney opposes additional federal aid to states to boost jobs for teachers and first responders, and he has argued that smaller class sizes (and more teachers to run them) should not be necessarily be a policy goal. “All the talk about we need smaller classroom size … that’s promoted by the teachers unions to hire more teachers,” he said at a GOP primary debate in Orlando last September.
At a campaign stop in Iowa last month, Romney criticized the Obama-Biden plan to promote teacher hiring on the state level.
H/T: Yahoo! News
Fuck Romney. We need more teachers; it’s been proven that students do better when teachers have less of them in the classroom to handle. And oooooh, how dare he promote giving people jobs!
“When students awaken, the national conversation will change.”
- Diane Ravitch, “When Students Awaken“
After a week of googling, and searching around Facebook, I think I’ve finally got most them. I have found that over 150 student protests have been held in the United States thus far in 2012. For some reason, I thought this would take me only a couple hours. I thought student protests for education were only taking place in New York and Pennsylvania (since that’s where I usually hear most of them are occurring), but man, was I wrong. I was pleasantly surprised to find these protests are happening in almost every state. All except for Alabama, Arkansas Hawaii, Kansas, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. If you know otherwise, please let me know, and I’ll add them on.
But why do this? As many of those who have been following me for a while, I am huge advocate for the voices of the students. I strongly believe that our education system should thrive off not only professionals\experienced educators in the education system, but what the students have to say. After all, this is their education.
It is also interesting to see the different issues that students are protesting for. Please keep in mind I tried to keep the focus on protests that focused on issues regarding anything that dealt with education or the school. Aside from the common protests to save teachers, protests against tuition hikes and budget cuts, there are more issues students are concerned about than I originally perceived. One school protested for their dress code, others for longer lunch periods, and some for the right to carry weapons on campus. It’s also important to note that the protests are being held from students as young as elementary school, all the way up to graduate school students.
Now, I am interested in how we can bring all these students together into one huge movement. Individually these voices are making sparks, but if we had a way to bring them all together, we can really make something remarkable happen. Students are waking up, and I don’t think they are going back to sleep soon. […]