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Archive for February 24th, 2011

R.I. District Dismisses All Teachers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 24th, 2011 5:47 am by HL

R.I. District Dismisses All Teachers
The Providence, R.I., school district plans to send out dismissal notices to every one of its 1,926 teachers, an unprecedented move that has union leaders up in arms. “This action gives the School Board the right to dismiss teachers as necessary, but not all teachers will actually be dismissed at the end of the school year,” wrote Supt. Tom Brady in an e-mail to all teachers and school staff.



Late Late Night FDL: A Harmonica In Carnegie Hall

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 24th, 2011 5:46 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: A Harmonica In Carnegie Hall
Buddy GreeneA Harmonica In Carnegie Hall.

Buddy GreeneA Harmonica In Carnegie Hall.

What’s on your mind?

Can’t laugh, better cry
A bank-handed defense of the American way.

Gadhafi as Gene Simmons as Sgt. Pepper via Hans and Carolyn at flickr.com

This must have been a regular Legion of Doom get together:

Moammar Gadhafi’s regime controls $32 billion in liquid assets around the world, including hundreds of millions of dollars invested in U.S. banks, according to a confidential cable written by the U.S. ambassador to Libya last year. The leaked diplomatic message was distributed through WikiLeaks.

The same cable reported that Libya had been approached by two men accused of running huge Ponzi schemes, Bernard Madoff and Allen Stanford, but had resisted offers from them to invest Libyan funds with them.

So he had one up on Citibank.

Meanwhile, in America we give the banksters billions (*shakes fist* CITIBANK!), cut taxes for them – not for you – and bust unions and our elected officials will always be willing to talk to any rich crank any time. So we’re obviously awesome.


Bracketology

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 24th, 2011 5:45 am by HL

Bracketology

By Mike Luckovich

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Rising Food Prices Spark Protests in India
We’re not even two full months into the new year, and protest has already become a prominent theme for 2011 in multiple nations. Add India to that growing list, as climbing food costs, combined with diminished employment opportunities, drove thousands of demonstrators to take to the streets of Delhi on Wednesday.  —KA BBC: The protest has been organised by major trade unions, including the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and the Centre for Industrial Trade Union (CITU). The Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC)—which is backed by the governing Congress party—is also supporting the strike saying it wants to remind the government about its commitments to the poor. Read more

We’re not even two full months into the new year, and protest has already become a prominent theme for 2011 in multiple nations. Add India to that growing list, as climbing food costs, combined with diminished employment opportunities, drove thousands of demonstrators to take to the streets of Delhi on Wednesday.? —KA

BBC:

The protest has been organised by major trade unions, including the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and the Centre for Industrial Trade Union (CITU).

The Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC)—which is backed by the governing Congress party—is also supporting the strike saying it wants to remind the government about its commitments to the poor.

Read more

Related Entries



Nebraska Pushes Measure To Legalize Killing Abortion Providers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 24th, 2011 5:44 am by HL

Nebraska Pushes Measure To Legalize Killing Abortion Providers
A state legislator pushes a bill that’s even more sweeping than the South Dakota proposal that sparked a national controversy. â?? By Nick Baumann and…

HuffPost TV: WATCH: Howard Fineman Talks Budget Fight And Government Shutdown On ‘Hardball’
The Huffington Post’s Senior Political Editor Howard Fineman appeared Wednesday night on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” along with Politico’s Jonathan Allen to discuss the…

Linda R. Monk, J.D.: How Unions Saved the Constitution
Make no mistake: What is at risk in Wisconsin is the quality of life American workers have fought — and died — for during the past century. Without the sacrifices of union activists, free speech might never have become a reality.


Limbaugh, Beck Leave Out Context On Test Scores To Smear Wisconsin Teachers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 24th, 2011 5:43 am by HL

Limbaugh, Beck Leave Out Context On Test Scores To Smear Wisconsin Teachers

Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have both misled listeners about Wisconsin students’ performance on national reading tests in order to smear union teachers. In fact, Wisconsin public school eighth-graders’ reading test scores surpass national averages.

Beck And Limbaugh Suggest Wisconsin Teachers Are Doing A Bad Job

Beck And Co-Host Insinuate Wisconsin Teachers Have Done A Bad Job Because Of Purportedly Poor Student Reading Performance. From the February 23 edition of Beck’s radio show:

BECK: By the way, let’s ask the teachers this. There’s research out that shows that two-thirds of all eighth-graders — two-thirds of all eighth-graders cannot read.

PAT GRAY (co-host): Proficiently. Two-thirds.

[…]

BECK: Only 32 percent of Wisconsin public school eighth-graders earned proficient rating while another 2 percent earned advanced. Another 66 percent of Wisconsin eighth-graders earned ratings below proficient, 44 who earned a rating of basic and 22 who rated below basic. Well, you guys are sure doing your job, aren’t you now?

GRAY: Give ’em a raise. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 2/23/11]

Limbaugh: “If You Or I Failed At Our Jobs As Badly As” Wisconsin Teachers, “Not Only Would We Be Fired, We Wouldn’t Be Talking About Lifetime Pensions And Health Care Benefits.” From the February 22 edition of Limbaugh’s radio show:

LIMBAUGH: Now, if you or I failed at our jobs as badly as teachers in the public school system clearly have failed, not only would we be fired, we wouldn’t be talking about lifetime pensions and health care benefits paid for by somebody else. We might be put in jail for fraud for taking money under false pretenses.

“What are you talking about, Mr. Limbaugh?” This. Two-thirds of the eighth-graders in Wisconsin public schools cannot read proficiently. According to the U.S. Department of Education. Not according to me, not according to Sarah Palin, but according to the Obama administration. Two-thirds of the eighth-graders in Wisconsin public screw-els cannot read proficiently, despite the fact that Wisconsin spends more per pupil in its public schools than any other state in the Midwest.

In the National Assessment of Educational Progress Tests administered by the Department of Education in 2009 — that’s the last year available — only 32 percent of Wisconsin public school eighth-graders earned a proficient rating, while another 2 percent earned an advanced rating. The other 66 percent of Wisconsin public school eighth-graders earned ratings below proficient, including 44 percent who earned a rating of basic and 22 percent who earned a rating of below basic.

They’re not even being taught to read. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/22/11]

FACT: Wisconsin Eighth-Graders’ Reading Scores Are Above National Average

Wisconsin Public School Eighth-Graders’ 2009 Reading Scores Are Above National Averages. According to the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP):

  • 78 percent of Wisconsin public school eighth-graders scored “at or above Basic in NAEP reading,” compared to 74 percent nationwide. [Page 64]
  • 34 percent of Wisconsin public school eighth-graders scored “at or above Proficient in NAEP reading,” compared to 30 percent nationwide. [Page 65]
  • 22 percent of Wisconsin public school eighth-graders scored “below Basic,” compared to 26 percent nationwide. [Page 66]
  • Wisconsin public school eighth-graders’ average score was 266, compared to 262 nationwide. [Page 34] [The Nation’s Report Card, National Center for Education Statistics, March 2010]


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 24th, 2011 5:42 am by HL

Presented By:

Is The Wisconsin Bill Really Hiding A Secret Bonanza For Energy Companies?
While most of the attention over the last few weeks has been on the parts of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s budget bill that would strip most state workers of their collective bargaining rights, some have started to sound the alarm about another provision in the bill, one allowing the state to sell the power plants it owns.


Walker’s Office Confirms Governor Fell For ‘Koch’ Prank Call (AUDIO)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s office has confirmed that it fell for a prank call from a liberal blogger who was apparently posing as David Koch. A blogger at buffalobeast.com posted audio of a call he claimed was with Walker earlier on Wednesday. At time of writing, buffalobeast.com appears to be down.


The Tattlesnake – Jon Stewart Interviews Hermann Goering Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 24th, 2011 5:39 am by HL

The Tattlesnake – Jon Stewart Interviews Hermann Goering Edition
STEWART: My guest tonight served as Adolf Hitler’s air force chief and one of his closest advisors — let’s welcome to the program former German Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering! (They shake hands and sit down while the audience applauds.) Let me just say, sir, thanks for being here, and you look pretty damn good for a […]


Hawaii Legalizes Civil Unions

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 24th, 2011 5:38 am by HL

Hawaii Legalizes Civil Unions
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) has signed a measure that would give gays and lesbians in his state the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples all but in name, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports.

Said Abercrombie: “For me, this bill represents equal rights for everyone in Hawaii — everyone who comes here. This is, to me, the essence of the aloha spirit.”

The passage makes Hawaii the 7th state to legalize same-sex unions, while five other states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage.

Rahm Got Heads Up About Blago Arrest
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald personally called Rahm Emanuel the morning Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) was arrested in 2008 “to let him know his name would likely come up in the complaint filed against Blagojevich,” the Chicago Sun Times reports.

Emanuel had just been tapped to be President Obama’s chief of staff. Discussion about the phone call came up in federal court yesterday.

Rand Paul’s New Book
Just published: The Tea Party Goes to Washington by Sen. Rand Paul.

In the book he notes, “Any self-described conservative who ‘misses’ the last president… should probably quit subscribing to that label.”

Maverick No More
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), “the politician who once best exemplified the idea of a ‘maverick’ independent has shifted so far to the right that he is now tied for the title of the Senate’s most conservative member,” according to National Journal‘s 2010 vote ratings.


Egypt-US Relations: The Uncomfortable Hypothetical

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 24th, 2011 5:37 am by HL

Egypt-US Relations: The Uncomfortable Hypothetical
When big shifts occur in the world, like the successful revolution (thus far) in Egypt, Americans like to race toward ideological frames that fit the moment and which should be applied to every nation in a similar circumstance, perhaps to…

The Republican Strategy
The Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working class – pitting unionized workers against non-unionized, public-sector workers against non-public, older workers within sight of Medicare and Social Security against younger workers who don’t believe these programs will…


Third Federal Judge Upholds Affordable Care Act

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 24th, 2011 5:36 am by HL

Third Federal Judge Upholds Affordable Care Act
Yesterday, Judge Gladys Kessler became the third federal judge to uphold the landmark Affordable Care Act. In a scholarly 64 page opinion, Kessler emphasizes that, no matter how skilled the law’s opponents may be in crafting talking points, political rhetoric does not have the power to rewrite the Constitution: It is pure semantics to argue […]

Yesterday, Judge Gladys Kessler became the third federal judge to uphold the landmark Affordable Care Act. In a scholarly 64 page opinion, Kessler emphasizes that, no matter how skilled the law’s opponents may be in crafting talking points, political rhetoric does not have the power to rewrite the Constitution:

It is pure semantics to argue that an individual who makes a choice to forgo health insurance is not “acting,” especially given the serious economic and health-related consequences to every individual of that choice. Making a choice is an affirmative action, whether one decides to do something or not do something. They are two sides of the same coin. To pretend otherwise is to ignore reality. […]

The crux of Plaintiffs’ arguments is that § 1501 is an unprecedented attempt by Congress to regulate individual behavior, and therefore threatens individuals’ freedom of choice. Appealing as this emotionally charged argument may sound, the ACA is not as unprecedented as Plaintiffs claim: as already discussed, Congress’s broad power to regulate individual behavior under the Commerce Clause is well established.

Kessler’s opinion also contrasts sharply with Judge Roger Vinson’s recent opinion striking down the same law. Vinson relies heavily on law review articles by right-wing scholars and discusses a number of older, discredited decisions at length. Kessler, however, takes the much more orthodox approach of actually following binding Supreme Court decisions that require her to uphold the law. Kessler’s opinion also differs from Vinson’s in that it is not riddled with easily disprovable factual and legal errors.

Igor Volsky has more coverage at The Wonk Room.

GOP Govs. Daniels And Kasich Defend Dem Lawmakers? Walkout As ?Perfectly Legitimate?
All week, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and national Republicans have been attacking Wisconsin’s Democratic state senators for leaving the state in order to block passage of Walker’s union-busting bill. Walker has sent the state police after the lawmakers, and today even said the senators may be committing “an ethics code violation” or even “a felony.” […]

All week, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and national Republicans have been attacking Wisconsin’s Democratic state senators for leaving the state in order to block passage of Walker’s union-busting bill. Walker has sent the state police after the lawmakers, and today even said the senators may be committing “an ethics code violation” or even “a felony.” There is also an effort to repeal the decamped Wisconsin senators. Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers in Indiana have fled their state to stop a different union-busting measure there.

As ThinkProgress noted, this tactic has a long history in American politics — Republican Abraham Lincoln even once jumped out a window while employing it. But the departed Democrats of Wisconsin and Indiana have more contemporary GOP defenders — two of Walker’s closest allies. Yesterday, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) defended his state’s vanished senators, saying their fleeing is “perfectly legitimate“:

Daniels, a Republican, said earlier Tuesday he supported the Democrats’ right to deny Republicans a quorum to do business and the rights of labor unions to protest at the Statehouse.

The activities of today are perfectly legitimate part of the process,” he said. “Even the smallest minority, and that’s what we’ve heard from in the last couple days, has every right to express the strength of its views and I salute those who did.”

Today, appearing on conservative radio host Laura Igraham’s show, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) — who has been one of Walker’s most reliable defenders and whom Walker says he talks to “everyday” — refused to condmen the senators’ actions or Daniels’ comments, saying to a displeased Ingraham, “If you were there, you might end up walking out the chamber too!”:

KASICH: Well Laura, let me tell you this. You know, I could have seen a day in Washington when I was down there as a Congressman when the Democrats were using a dictatorial rule, where we would just got up to walk out of the chamber okay? Let’s be fair. If you were there, you might end up walking out the chamber too! It’s just a tactic. They’ll end up coming back.

Listen here: