December 2011

Why Education Reformers Are Wrong About Education Reform

There's a way to fix schools, but blaming teachers unions and running them like businesses is not it.

I’ve already noted on this blog the latest in a series of sustained attack on teachers unions, the book by Steve Brill (Yale Law Professor and founder of Court TV) , Class Warfare. However, a recent rebuttal to the book written in The New York Times and reiterated in Salon.com had me thinking about some incredibly convenient gaps in logic that so called “education reformers” seem to be overlooking almost to a person. These gaps in logic are expertly articulated in David Sirota’s What Real Education Reform Looks Like.

Best Republican Campaign Ads

Let the games begin

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For my first post on this red state blog I thought I would keep things light and revisit some of the old republican campaign ads that had the highest impact. Each ad will be for a different republican so that I don’t end up covering the same politician twice. The ads that I create will be the best solely by my opinion, so you may or may not agree.

Religious (In)convenience

It's your life; pray if you want to

As much as I find it hilarious—if by hilarious, you mean funny until you reach the point where you want to gouge your own eyes out with your fingernails and scream bloody murder out of sheer annoyance—that so many so-called Christians are all riled up over saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” (the scandal!), I find it just as funny that there are so many people who are equally as religious only when it is convenient for them.

Governor Bentley Admits That Alabama Immigration Reform Laws May Need Help

Sorry Governor Bentley, the damage just may be already done.

Governor Ronald Bentley finally admits that the Alabama immigration laws need a second look. The state of Alabama has the toughest immigration reform laws out of each state. As a result, the state has received quite a bit of controversy. Only after harsh criticism has Governor Bentley come to recognize the need to reevaluate the current immigration laws in Alabama.

Southern Baptist Churches Consider Changing Their Name to Increase Membership

Times have changed, if they want members they need to change also

Southern Baptist churches just may be in for a name change. A task force asked to study the possible impacts of a name change was brought on by some leaders of the Southern Baptist denomination. The idea of a name change was due to a growing population decrease.

New low Carb study linked to Cancer Prevention

Further research is still needed though this is definitely good news

Good news for low carb dieters, according to a recent study woman on low carb diets have a higher chance of breast cancer prevention. Breast cancer can be devastating both physically and mentally. Low carb diets have been tied to weight loss and now women have the ability to not only lose weight through a low carb diet, they are also able to fight off breast cancer.

A Look At Donald Trump

Donald Trump's "War and Peace" Policy Analysis, An Opinion

"President Donald Trump". It would be very interesting. The initial thought is that such a presidential bid would further solidify the view that it is the masters of corporate oligarchy who would control America's governmental policy. What are the ramifications of such a position for foreign policy directives and how could that affect human rights, social progress, American jobs and the economy? There are other objections: yes, Mr. Trump has showmanship and a book to promote.  It is argued, "Well, who does not have a book or will never publish one in their entire public career, and also wish to promote it?"

        Could a successful business executive, and public figure be a good candidate for Commander in Chief? Could a new American tycoon "Rockefeller" type be president?  Possibly, his stances on humanitarian efforts may not sit so popularly with the masses, as he is opposed to official United States military involvement in humanitarian interventions around the world, however this information is per July of 2000.  This sort of non-interventionist policy is reminiscent of the Monroe Doctrine. There is the provisional interventionist policy for violent threats, meaning the United States would still support allies in times of crisis, thereby maintaining alliances long standing and improving America's worldwide image.  It is possible that this will also assist in fixing the overall budget shortfalls and deficits, by providing focused humanitarian efforts and assistance to Americans in need and reducing costs for operations abroad.

Gun Control and Misunderstanding by Politicians

"Gun control and the Second Amendment will forever be a volatile and divisive subject to tackle"

Occurrences in Arizona earlier this year have brought into light the continuing struggle of who should dictate to American citizens their right to bear arms and how they should go about doing so. There are several policies currently sitting on the President’s desk waiting for approval through executive order along with several more being bandied about through Congress.

What would FDR think part 1 The Emergency Banking Act

What would FDR think now?

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States was a man of change. During his time and even after he was and is commonly seen as a man who was willing to take chances and fight for the survival of his fellow Americans. He was a man who stood up and made others stand up with him to pursue and achieve the American Dream through hard work and dedication. I can only wonder, what would FDR think now?

Cowardice

An Ugly Word For Ugly Deeds

When you look at the riot cops who smashed up the Occupy protests all over the USA, what stands out is the armor. Pads for the arms and the legs and the chest. A helmet with a face shield. Then you notice the weapons- nightclubs, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, bean-bag projectiles, rubber bullets.

 

So you look at the protesters, expecting to see at least something vaguely threatening. Maybe not Molotov cocktails, but at least some sticks, a slingshot maybe. Only there's nothing of the sort. In virtually every single picture, the protesters are completely unarmed. They're also unarmored. Every now and then, you'll find a picture where someone is throwing something, but it's inevitably something that could not possibly inflict any harm on anyone as heavily armored as those riot cops. 99% of the protesters don't have anything that could be construed as a weapon by any stretch of the imagination.

 

And then the riot police charge, and you notice who they single out to be knocked down and beaten with clubs. Not big, burly protesters- of whom there are few indeed!- but nineteen-year-old girls, eighty-four-year-old women, skinny little guys who look like a breeze would knock them over.

Dominion Theology

The American Taliban

Dominion theology, of which the movement known as Christian Reconstructionism is a part, is an extreme type of fundamentalist Christianity based on the idea that the Old Testament should be the model for American government at every level. Dominionists believe that America should be a Christian theocracy, in which other religions would not be tolerated.

 

Some of them even take it so far as to advocate the death penalty (by stoning, no less!) for everything from having your hair too long to mouthing off to your parents, as well as for the usual suspects of homosexuality and idolatry. Everything listed as a death penalty crime in the Old Testament would become one again in a Dominionist America.

The Rossentrasse Protest

The Will to Resist

One of the strongest arguments for the right to bear arms is the ability of an armed populace to resist tyranny by force. I believe in the validity of this argument myself, but the history of resistance in Nazi Germany suggests that a much more complicated set of elements is also involved.

 

For one thing, there was never any significant organized resistance to the Nazis in Germany, unlike the situation in occupied countries such as France, where large partisan organizations waged guerilla campaigns. The percentage of the German people that either actively or passively supported the Nazi regime was just too high for anything like an armed resistance. Such resistance activity as did occur was mostly sporadic, disorganized or limited to conspiracies within the military.

 

Another factor is that one of the only significant acts of resistance to the Nazi regime was actually a nonviolent protest in a public square, the famous Rosenstrasse protest held by the German wives and family members of Jewish men at risk of deportation to the concentration camps. In all the years of Nazi rule, the Rosenstrasse protest was the only incident of German citizens publicly protesting some aspect of the Holocaust, and it was the only incident in which the Nazis arguably backed down.

Fair Trade Towns

A Great Way to Promote Fair Trade

The Fair Trade Foundation and other fair trade certification organizations offer a special designation of “fair trade town,” for any town that goes out of its way to promote and live up to the standards of fair trade.

 

This seems like an excellent way to promote the fair trade concept. People interested in ethical purchasing can visit a fair trade town for tourism or shopping, knowing that they will easily be able to find their favorite fair trade products and possibly even find some new favorites. The businesses in the town benefit because of the increased traffic at restaurants, hotels and gift shops. The town benefits from the increased tax revenues. The people who make the fair trade products see some increased business and a little more money in their pockets. Finally, the tourists benefit because they can enjoy their visit while knowing that their actions support ethical purchasing and fair trade.

Fair Trade Town Standards

The Five Goals

The Fair Trade Foundation offers “fair trade town” certification in the United Kingdom based on a set of five standards, referred to as the “five goals.” This type of certification is available to any city, town, county, village or even island meeting the five goals

 

The first goal is for the town council to pass a formal resolution encouraging fair trade and supporting the goals of the fair trade movement. The town must agree that fair trade products such as coffee or pastries will be served at town meetings and other official functions.

 

The second goal is for the retail shops, restaurants and caterers in the town to serve a wide range of products certified as being fair trade. The organization provides specific targets for meeting this goal.

 

The third goal is that the town must have established support for fair trade from prominent community organizations such as employers, churches or other entities. These organizations must not only support fair trade, but actually use fair trade products whenever they can.

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