November 22, 2011 archive

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August To June; Bringing Life to Palm Beach Schools


copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert.  Empathy And Education; BeThink or

As any Mom or Dad might do on Parent Teacher Conference Day, Amy Valens, the Educator featured in the documentary film August To June, traveled from “classroom to classroom.”  This journey was not a conventional one. Indeed, Amy did not attend a series of Parent Teacher Conferences.  What she did was appear at Palm Beach screenings of her documentary.  The film follows twenty-six [26] third and fourth graders who studied with Amy in her last year of teaching.  The public school open classroom “Brings Life” to education.

After the movie was viewed, Ms Valens and the audiences engaged in conversations. They discussed what they saw and how it might relate to a broader dialogue.  The subjects of Education Reform, Classroom Standards, Teacher Quality, Merit Pay, Student-Rewards for Success, Parent Involvement, and Testing are but a few topics prominent in our national debate.  While the assemblies of viewers varied widely, the results were the same.  Every child, every class, all Teachers, and each parent, tells a unique tale.  Regardless of the individual or group, we see the world, or in this case the film, through our own lens.

Casinos in Mass

A caller to 96.9 Boston’s FM talk radio asked the governor about this new bill.

Are the casinos by definition financial institutions?

Meaning as a financial institution they would have access to, be plugged into such marketing bonanzas like credit reports, demographics information, you know the whole gamut of info financial institutions can and do have access to.  The governor was taken back by the insinuation but whoossed his way out of it by essentially dismissing the caller.

Government subsidized social corruption.

Black indeed is Friday, or Thursday.  Let’s just blow off the holiday which says we have to buy stuff in the first place.  It doesn’t do much for me anymore.  This one has to work, that one has to work, my wife worked all night.

What family togetherness.  Holiday?

I’m lying to you NOW!

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Promises fall short, Keystone XL pipeline’s foes say

Keystone projections don’t match revenue reality for counties

Cody Winchester, Sioux Falls Argus Leader

11:51 PM, Nov. 19, 2011

When TransCanada was pushing to build an oil pipeline in eastern South Dakota back in 2007, the company’s marketing strategy included newspaper ads that promised counties along the route more than $9 million in tax revenue.

But four years later, in the pipeline’s first year of operation, tax records show that the 10 counties crossed by the Keystone oil pipeline received just one-third of this amount.

(F)or fiscal 2010 taxes collected this year, the company paid only $2.95 million to counties and school districts, according to figures provided by county auditors and treasurers. This does not count tax revenue TransCanada paid directly to the state, some of which was refunded under an incentive program for large projects.

A look at what TransCanada promised selected counties in estimated annual tax payments and the actual tax payment in fiscal 2010:

  • Marshall County: $937,804.50 promised; $286,280.98 actually paid;
  • Clark County: $1,369,565,98 promised; $359,646.04 paid;
  • Miner County: $1,140,855.42 promised; $391,047.39 paid;
  • Hutchinson County: $1,140, 264.64 promised; $424,504.72 paid.
  • Yankton County: $837,988.68 promised; $247,965.58 paid.

“That was the big sell on this, the amount that would come to our local governments,” said state Senate Minority Leader Jason Frerichs, a Democrat from Wilmot. He called the discrepancy “further evidence that there are many unanswered questions about the pipeline.”

Frerichs, meanwhile, has broader concerns: “If we couldn’t take their word for the property taxes … how do we know for sure they’re going to be there for the cleanup?”

So we lied.  Tough Shit.

Blaise Emerson, executive director of Black Hills Community Economic Development, has tesified in favor of Keystone XL at state and federal hearings. He said the relatively lower tax receipts from Keystone in the east does not trouble him, because taxes are only one reason to support Keystone XL.

“How I look at it, and hopefully the way most people look at it: Don’t cry over the fact that you didn’t get quite as much as you wanted,” he said. “Maybe the estimate was a little bit high, but you wouldn’t have that revenue at all if it wasn’t coming through.”

You can’t spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You fucked up… you trusted us!

While Obama Campaigns for Extending Cuts to Safety Net Funding, Stein Calls for Liberal Policies

As Barry Obama stumps for extending the payroll tax cut designed to cripple Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in New Hampshire, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is promoting what she calls a Green New Deal to help put Americans back to work fixing the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and finding cleaner, renewable ways to fuel things.

The tenets of her plan include building infrastructure and public transportation, supporting sustainable agriculture, developing clean and renewable energy and restructuring the nation’s manufacturing base.

“There is a strong economic argument that unemployment is more expensive than a plan to deal with unemployment,” Stein said.

The plan’s details have not been worked out, according to Stein, but she said it would be a community-based effort that extends to the local level. Her plan would aim to create 17 million new jobs, and she said that, through a multiplier effect, those 17 million would translate into the 25 million needed to achieve full employment.

And that’s not all.  Unlike Obama, whose record of suppressing civil liberties reads like something out of some other third world dictatorship, Stein is coming out swinging against the assaults by cops against Occupiers.

“The aggressive, needless police actions across the country against Occupy Wall Street (OWS) are an assault on civil liberties and an effort to suppress a much needed movement for economic justice and democracy,” said Stein, a Green Party member and past candidate in Massachusetts elections. “The courageous protesters who have stood up to intimidation by lethal force are standing up for us all.”

In the statement, Stein called upon mayors in occupied cities to “follow the example of Green Party Mayor Gayle McLaughlin of Richmond, Cali., who welcomed the local occupation” and contrasts that with videos and reports from Wall Street, UC Berkley and Occupy Oakland, which she says show public officials are “suppressing rights of free speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press.”

“The use of police in full riot gear with helicopters buzzing overhead to arrest peaceful and largely sleeping protesters is frightening commentary on the militarization of state and municipal security,” Stein said i nthe statement. “Unprovoked police violence against citizens practicing peaceful civil disobedience – clearly documented on videos gone viral on the Internet – is deeply alarming.”

Small wonder then, that in a mock election held earlier this month in Illinois (the largest in the nation), Stein and the Greens garnered twenty-seven percent of the vote.

The mock primary/caucus process produced three tickets: Democrats nominated Barack Obama for President and Hillary Clinton for Vice-President; Republicans nominated Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan; Greens nominated Jill Stein and Kent Mesplay. Then, at the mock general election, the results were 39% for the Democratic ticket, 33% for the Republican ticket, 27% for the Green ticket, and 1% other.

Libertarians were involved but they chose to work for Ron Paul in the mock Republican convention. Jill Stein spoke on campus, and this obviously helped the Green campaign, because no other actual presidential candidates appeared on campus.

In a race that, no thanks to Obama’s endless and ongoing betrayals of the public interest to curry favor with the top 1%, may be so much closer than it should be, that twenty-seven percent could make the difference.  This isn’t a bad thing by any means; Stein’s candidacy seems to be having an effect already by forcing Obama to adopt policies he ordinarily wouldn’t.  (For example, Hopey McChangerton seemed last week to back off of plans to open up even more public lands to oil drilling.)

The biggest problem of the 2012 election won’t just be the ongoing right-wing policies that have turned America into a fascist police state, but the exclusion of any left-wing voices from the national dialog.  But if Jill Stein keeps up her campaign and manages to resonate with more voters, this could change.


Crusader Rabbit, Crusader vs. the State of Texas- Episode 9 of 15


Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Foreclosure Firm Steven J. Baum to Close Down

By PETER LATTMAN, The New York Times

November 21, 2011, 2:51 pm

On Saturday, Joe Nocera, The Times columnist who originally wrote about the firm’s Halloween party, published another column about the controversy. In it, he quoted an e-mail that Mr. Baum had sent him last week.

“Mr. Nocera – You have destroyed everything and everyone related to Steven J. Baum PC,” said the letter. “It took 40 years to build this firm and three weeks to tear down.”

Good.  Mr. Baum, you are a heartless sack of shit and your firm and its employees are lying perjurers.  I hope you rot in a cell for the rest of your life, penniless and forgotten like the scum you are.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

The most valuable of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it has to be done, whether you like it or not.

–Aldous Huxley

Carved 2

Late Night Karaoke

Mene Mene Tekel.

The mechanisms of using the political system to do the people’s business have been irrevocably undermined. Things are getting slowly and irrevocably worse, without letup. And there is no way to fix it within the prescribed parameters of the system.

There is no two party government in power, except in name. There is power, and there is corruption. All else is an illusion.

And the advertised choice left to us, the serfs, is to fix it using the prescribed mechanisms, in twenty, fifty, or a hundred years.

If you choose to play in idiocy, you will be mired in idiocy. To date, you the taxpayer are funding thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at other countries in an expostulation of unmitigated terror and destructiveness that is described as everyday politics, and cannot be dealt with because of an unaddressable “political reality”.  And one could go on, and on, and on and on.  

And things will get bad. And things will get worse.

Mene Mene Tekel.  Upharshin.

For a hundred years hence, it will get worse. The current system is designed to work through issues on a timescale of twenty, fifty, or a hundred years.

It’s not getting better, no matter how you vote, who you vote for, or if they win in the short term.

In twenty years, our easily obtainable energy resources will be gone, no matter how much latitude you gave “American Energy Companies”. And Congress will dither, and its apologists will say change takes time.

In fifty years, your children will not know the name of Albert Einstein, and will think it equally likely the sun revolves around the Earth as the other way around, and will treat ancient science texts claiming the latter to be propaganda leaflets of the militant left, and the Democrats will claim to be agnostic on the subject.  You know I’m right.

And the Congress will dither, and your Democrats or their successors and those wise heads of the present day will talk about politics, and how that is important to solve problems.  And the Republicans will talk about burning witches.  And the Democrats will seem wise by saying maybe burning witches is a little extreme.

And in a hundred years, your childrens’ children will be fleeing the coastlines, as what remains of their cities are inexplicably flooded, and the corporations that had them building dams flee to the North Pole, leaving their serfs, your descendants, to die in the swamps.

And the Republicans, if they still exist at that time, or their ideological successors, and you know they will be there, will talk about sacrificing virgins to Quezocoatl or that god’s equivalent or some other god’s equivalent.  And the Democrats will talk about how that also is a little extreme, but perhaps now we can burn witches.

You can deny, but you know I’m right.

Everyday politics in any venue and by any name has but one legitimate purpose: To serve the people.

What has gone wrong, so terribly wrong, is politics in today’s American culture is politics being seen as an end unto itself.

What defines the American political system of the present day is the be all and end all of politics.  It’s not that politics is “bad” it is that our corporations and our nation have adopted a language of politics as an end unto itself.  

It simply does not matter if what you are talking about is sacrificing the genitals of every living child under 12 to a mythical gnome who lives in a hole in the ground in exchange for tasty alien cheese that falls from the sky.  All that matters is what the poll numbers on the question are!  And your talking heads will cheerfully discuss it without gagging and while wearing Christian Dior clothing and black pearls around their neck if the person who brought the mythical gnome up has sufficient political backing.

And Rachel Maddow will do it too.  Except, to mock it, while giving it airplay anyway.  And without the black pearls.  Whatever.

If anything it’s gotten worse.

If it fails to serve the people, what is left of politics is mechanism without meaning. What I mean is, people talk today about political reality without acknowledging that the barriers currently imposed by political reality are so abstract, insane and extreme they have no relationship with the realities of people’s lives.

Your politicians, and your government, have become disconnected with the people.  

What’s Cooking: What to Drink with the Turkey

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Republished from November 24, 2010 for obvious timely reasons.

Now that we are done with cooking directions for the big day, time to pick the beverage that will not just accompany this spectacular meal but compliment the main course, the sides and deserts.

My usual choices for the wine is to have choices, serving both reds and whites. Cabernets and Sauvignon Blanc can be respectively too heavy and too acidic while the Chardonnays can be too oaky.

Don’t be afraid to ask the your wine merchant for suggestions. There are many very fine wines for those on a budget. Here are some of my suggestions:

Beaujolais Nouveau is the “first wine of the harvest” and the 2010 has just been released, This is a very “young” wine that spends little time in the cask between picking  and bottling. It is traditionally released on November 21 with great fan fare among wine around the world. It is light and fruity, should be served chilled. It goes well with not just the turkey but  everything from the appetizer cheese course to sweet potatoes and dressing to that pesky once a year veggie, Brussel Sprouts, not an easy feat. It is also inexpensive at less than $10 a bottle, the magnum is usually even more economical.

Pinot Noir is another good choice but not easy to find one that has some flavor and can be a little “pricey”, although there good ones in the $10 range.

For the whites there are two that I choose from Pinot Grigio or a slightly sweeter Riesling.

Pinot Grigio or Pinto Gris is a young fruity wine and depending on the region can be full bodied and “floral” to lighter, “spritszy” and a little acidic. I suggest the former and fond that the Pinot from Barefoot Cellars fits the bill and the pocketbook.

Riesling can be found in the German section and look for a Gewurztraminer or a slightly sweeter Spätlese.

The there is beer for those who prefer some foam and fizz. These are the suggestions from the Brewers Association:

   * Traditional Turkey – Amber ale or a lager like Oktoberfest, brown ale or a strong golden ale like triple

   * Smoked Turkey – a hoppy brown ale, Scotch ale or porter

   * Pumpkin pie – Spiced ale, winter warmer or old ale

US Now Poster Child For Suppression of Free Speech

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The whole world is watching:


h/t Suzie Madrak  at Crooks & Liars

From the Gawker:

How Egypt Justifies Its Brutal Crackdown: Occupy Wall Street

Two people were killed in Cairo and Alexandria this weekend as Egyptian activists took the streets to protest the military’s attempts to maintain its grip on power. And guess how the state is justifying its deadly crackdown.

“We saw the firm stance the US took against OWS people & the German govt against green protesters to secure the state,” an Egyptian state television anchor said yesterday (as translated by the indispensable Sultan Sooud al Qassemi; bold ours).

The death toll in Egypt has been reported as high as 33 and while as he Gawker points out, the US may not have killed anyone yet but we have militarized our police departments to do what the US military constitutionally cannot and two Iraq vets have been sent to the hospital with life threatening injuries.

Thank you, President Obama, for going where President Bush dared not.

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