October 2, 2015 archive

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

Education Secretary Duncan stepping down

By Caitlin Emma , Allie Grasgreen Ciaramella, and Kimberly Hefling, Politico

10/02/15 03:58 PM EDT

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, an unwavering advocate for low-income and minority students and longtime basketball buddy to President Barack Obama, said Friday he will leave his post in December, ending a contentious tenure in which he moved aggressively to raise the academic bar in U.S. schools.

Duncan, the former Chicago schools head who is one of the last remaining original Cabinet members, has clashed with most camps in the education community since taking the post. He’s supported charter schools, encouraged the use of testing to measure teachers and schools, and championed the divisive Common Core standards. He’s also taken on the higher education establishment by pushing policies to regulate for-profit colleges and make colleges and universities more transparent.

His announcement comes as Congress is the closest it’s been in years to the long-overdue updating of the No Child Left Behind law – something that could be a crucial part of his legacy. His term might also be remembered for his embrace of Race to the Top grants that incentivized many of the controversial ideas he’s long embraced.

Just this week, Duncan said he thought the forthcoming resignation of House Speaker John Boehner would make it more difficult to get the law updated. Before Boehner’s announcement, the odds were “50/50,” Duncan said. “I can only think that our odds of having it pass now are worse, not better, which is really disappointing,” he said.

Former Duncan aide Justin Hamilton said Duncan likely knew in “his heart of hearts that Boehner was a guy who wanted the deal. … The prospects for getting anything done have gone from 50/50 to a snowball’s chance in hell.”

But otherwise, Duncan had “accomplished everything the administration set out to do and he should be proud,” Hamilton said.

“Everything the Administration set out to do.”  Indeed.  Don’t let the door hit you.


Real Fake News

‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

The Onion NEWS IN BRIEF, October 1, 2015, Vol 51 Issue 39    News · Guns · Violence

ROSEBURG, OR-In the hours following a violent rampage in southwestern Oregon in which a lone attacker killed 10 individuals and seriously injured seven others, citizens living in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs reportedly concluded Thursday that there was no way to prevent the massacre from taking place.

“This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” said Ohio resident Lindsay Bennett, echoing sentiments expressed by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations. “It’s a shame, but what can we do? There really wasn’t anything that was going to keep this guy from snapping and killing a lot of people if that’s what he really wanted.”

At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past six years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”

The Breakfast Club (If I Could)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo 807561379_e6771a7c8e_zps7668d00e.jpg

This Day in History

Mohandes Gandhi born; President Woodrow Wilson suffers stroke; Thurgood Marshall sworn in as US Supreme Court justice; Rock Hudson dies; Peanuts comic strip debut.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

Mahatma Gandhi

On This Day In History October 2

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 2 is the 275th day of the year (276th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 90 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1959, “The Twilight Zone” premiered on CBS television.

The Twilight Zone is an American anthology television series created by Rod Serling, which ran for five seasons on CBS from 1959 to 1964. The series consisted of unrelated episodes depicting paranormal, futuristic, dystopian, or simply disturbing events; each show typically featured a surprising plot twist and was usually brought to closure with some sort of message. The series was also notable for featuring both established stars (e.g. Cliff Robertson, Ann Blyth, Jack Klugman) and younger actors who would later became famous (e.g. Robert Redford, William Shatner, Mariette Hartley, Shelley Fabares). Rod Serling served as executive producer and head writer; he wrote or co-wrote 92 of the show’s 156 episodes. He was also the show’s host, delivering on- or off-screen monologues at the beginning and end of each episode. During the first season, except for the season’s final episode, Serling’s narrations were off-camera voiceovers; he only appeared on-camera at the end of each show to promote the next episode (footage that was removed from syndicated versions but restored for DVD release, although some of these promotions exist today only in audio format).

The “twilight zone” itself is not presented as being a tangible plane, but rather a metaphor for the strange circumstances befalling the protagonists. Serling’s opening and closing narrations usually summarized the episode’s events in tones ranging from cryptic to pithy to eloquent to unsympathetic, encapsulating how and why the main character(s) had “entered the Twilight Zone”.

The Daily Late Nightly Show (Sell-Outs and Liars)

Oliver and Colbert have the practiced improviser’s combination of spontaneity, empathy, and perfect timing. It’s probably not fair to Noah to compared him to these two, or their absolute mastery when they’re together: Noah is young and still adjusting to a hosting role very different from his previous efforts as a stand-up comedian.

There was a telling moment near the end, though, where Oliver and Colbert were praising Noah’s maiden voyage. “He’s taking on the impossible,” Oliver said. “You can’t replace the irreplaceable.” Colbert came back with, “I wouldn’t know what that’s like.”

This was, of course, supposed to be a knowing reference to Colbert stepping into David Letterman’s shoes. But as titanic and influential a figure as Letterman proved to be, it’s difficult to imagine a lot of people pining for him the way Jon Stewart fans are still watching “The Daily Show” and waiting for the old bitter spark. Whether they’ll get it – or something satisfying in its own way – is impossible to say at this point. But it became very clear last night that whatever else is going on in the world of late night these days, two of Stewart’s old alums are playing at the very top of their game.

The New Kid

Sensitivity Training

Web exclusive.


Overstuffed Sack of Pus

Trevor’s guest tonight is Ryan Adams.

The New Continuity

L-Dub’s Mindplosions

Tonightly we will be talking about Kim Davis again with panelists Jordan Carlos, Lisa Ling, and Eddie Huang.

The Dancing Man


You can skip Evan.

Hard to believe I ever voted for John Kerry because I hate self-righteous neo-liberal hypocrites now.  I was young and naive and thought any Democrat would be better than W.  I’m older and wiser now.

Stephen’s other guests are Claire Danes, and PewDiePie.

This week’s guests-

Transitions, Transitions

The Big News

As of October 15th our host and the provider of our site software, warecorp, will stop support for our platform, the developed variant of the Perl based Daily Kos 3.0 in Java originally called jscoop by it’s author, pacified, and now known as Soapblox.

Yup.  I am really, really old- 49281, well over 10 years now.  DocuDharma just passed the 8 year mark and was one of the early adopters of Soapblox and there are over 39349 essays, as well as 371167 comments.  Our other site, The Stars Hollow Gazette, started July 4th, 2010 and is 5+ years old and has 13318 diaries and 60718 comments.  TMC and I founded The Stars Hollow Gazette and we have been in sole control of DocuDharma since January 2011 (oh, and I was also a founder of that).

What Does This Mean?

I’m not here to brag, I do that on our anniversaries, I am preparing you for the crisis which we will hopefully make as little fraught as possible.

Warecorp has transitioned the sites to Wordpress, a totally different piece of software, and they have done the best job they could to make it look and feel like our good old Soapblox.  They have also put us in touch with a firm that specializes in customizing Wordpress sites.  I have been studying (online with a Tech Dirt discount) Wordpress, but it has been hard to relate without knowing what warecorp has already done for us.

The bottom line is that we’ll continue on as if nothing is going to change until it does and then we will present what we have at that time.

What Will Change?

It’s difficult to say at the moment.  Our transition sites just went live and we haven’t had time to evaluate them.  One thing we’ve talked about is using Disqus to drive our commenting system.  It’s not peeder Ajax but maybe it’s good enough.

There are things I’d like to do to freshen the sites but they may not be possible.  In any event they’ll be rolled out gradually when things are stable because, as a computer professional, I know you have to limit your variables.  We will always seek to achieve Daily Kos 3.x functionality because to my mind that was the easiest and best blogging system in the world.

Your Stuff

The thing to understand about blogs is that they’re basically an SQL (Structured Query Language) database and the front end, the user interface, is fundamentally a report or a data entry form.

If you have been a contributor of content or comments I totally understand your justifiable concern they might disappear.  Warecorp is providing us with archives of the underlying SQL databases which contain everything you’ve written.

These are the links to download that-

Independent of migration to WordPress Platform we’re sending you full archive of blog database as well as all uploaded files.

Here are downloadable links:

Files are updated daily at midnight CST and will be available at least month after we stop Soapblox hosting.

The Big Wind Up

We are all about continuity and persistence, we’ll work on this until we get it right.  We ask for your indulgence until that happens and will update you as events warrant.