This week the Texas Republican Party “accidentally” included opposition to critical thinking in its education platform that will be in effect until 2014. Under the topic of “Educating Our Children” is this plank:
We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and undermining parental authority. (2012 Platform)
Then, after the platform was approved and released, the GOP spokesman clarified:
“[The chairman of the Education Subcommittee] indicated that it was an oversight of the committee, that the plank should not have included ‘critical thinking skills’ after ‘values clarification,’” (Texas Freedom Network)
Oh, that makes it so much better. Tossing out Bloom’s taxonomy and the basis for standards-based education and testing–that’s okay. The real demon that the GOP is trying to exorcise is “values clarification.” They’ve been chasing that monster for almost four decades.
Depending on your perspective, Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the “Obamacare” program was either a thumping victory for progressives everywhere or a clever corporatist / conservative flanking maneuver that makes it even less likely American citizens will ever enjoy the kind of basic access to healthcare that the rest of the developed world takes for granted.
I’ve been harshly critical of the president on the healthcare issue because I see it as something that helps a few people here and there, but that’s mainly designed as a gravy train for private health insurance interests. Many of Mr. Obama’s … I know I should say “supporters” here, but part of me is dying to use “apologists” instead … argue that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is an important foot in the door. In their view, this may be a small victory, but it paves the way for ever greater incremental reforms that lead us ultimately to a single-payor system (or at least a robust public option). Continue reading
My friend Mike, recently retired editor of a major newspaper, writes:
Luckily Scalia and his pals were in the Supreme Court minority on the Arizona immigration ruling, but his logic is scary:
Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. each filed dissents. Scalia went the furthest: “As a sovereign, Arizona has the inherent power to exclude persons from its territory.”
Carried to the next logical step, it seems Alabama could exclude blacks if its legislature took a notion to do so. Continue reading
P5 +1, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, and Iran failed to secure a breakthrough at the third round of talks in Moscow last week. Meanwhile, Israel’s trigger finger remains itchy. Continue reading
The strikingly beautiful young woman — she will turn 26 years old on July 2 — approaches the podium with its waiting forest of microphones. Her hair, reddish blonde and flowing well below her shoulders, is caught briefly in a gust of wind as she walks to the front of the press corps on the granite steps of the state capitol. Eight fluted Corinthian columns line the portico behind her. She is, surprisingly, modestly and professionally dressed in a tasteful navy pants suit. For a moment, as she stands at the lectern, only the clicking of cameras is heard.
Good morning, everyone. My name is Lindsay Lohan, and today I am announcing my candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives from my district.
Brief silence, followed by peals of laughter. Whispers of “Is this a movie promo?” drift through the throng. Lohan waits patiently, quietly, proudly for the laughter to subside. Continue reading
It’s been a good week in the federal courts for the Obama Administration.
On Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency – and against a legion of state Attorneys General and industry groups – on the EPA’s greenhouse gas Endangerment Finding. The states and industry groups had asked the appeals court to overturn the Endangerment Finding based on a host of arguments ranging from “there’s too much uncertainty in the science” to “the EPA abused its authority” to “the EPA misread the Clean Air Act.” The court disagreed, emphatically and occasionally sardonically, and dismissed every one of 26 separate petitions that the various states and industry groups had filed. S&R is analyzing the 82 page opinion in detail and will be publishing several posts about it in the coming weeks.
by Jane Briggs-Bunting
Democracy took another hit with this week’s 5-4 split decision by the Super Supremes to overturn a 1912 Montana law that limited corporate spending on state political campaigns. And the court announced its decision without oral arguments in what is known as a “summary reversal.”
In doing so the majority signaled its continued support of its 2010 Citizens United decision that permits an orgy of spending by corporations and unions and their so-called Super-PACs in political campaigns—as long as the money isn’t run through the candidates’ coffers. The decision extends the Citizens United ruling to the state elections. Continue reading
I tripped across this earlier today. It was written by an experienced firefighter and represents some critically important advice for anyone who lives in the path of a wildfire (a particular concern for many along the Colorado Front Range).
Many thanks to hallbuzz for providing these tips.
The preamble to the American Constitution requires that government “provide for the common defence.” I would hope that no American would wish this country to be inadequately prepared to fend off threats to the survival of the Republic.
But what is adequate? Where is the substantive, deliberative debate on how to define adequacy of American military power?
Our two principal presidential candidates, challenger Mitt Romney and incumbent Barack Obama, have differing views on the current adequacy of the nation’s defense capability. Speeches and extemporaneous rhetoric aside, neither of their official, eponymous campaign websites clearly define such adequacy or how they’d reach it.
The national media and much of America is watching the Colorado wildfire drama in rapt, apocalyptic fascination. For those who are just now recognizing the scope of the disaster, S&R has been writing about this (and predicting it) for some time now. If you’d like to better understand the causes of the explosion of wildfires in the summer of 2012, here’s a quick set of links to get you caught up.
- Will 2012 be the summer when Colorado finally burns to the ground?: Back in March we were talking about the specific conditions that have, in fact, caused these runaway fires. And hoping for rain that never arrived. Continue reading
Did you know you have a Facebook email address? Maybe you did and maybe you didn’t. But if you have a Facebook account you have a Facebook email. And that email is now your default email on FB.
WTF? You didn’t do that. NOBODY would do that. As Kashmir Hill writes at Forbes, it’s a lame attempt by our friends at Facebook to force their service on you. Gervais Markham is even more pointed:
In other words, Facebook silently inserted themselves into the path of formerly-direct unencrypted communications from people who want to email me. Continue reading
Those grad students in the business of writing dissertations about media and newspapers now have an old topic with a new twist: Who owns the media now? Critic Ben Bagdikian, author of six editions of “The Media Monopoly,” traced ownership of America’s media through decades of consolidation. In a PBS interview at the end of the last century, he said:
[T]he media is increasingly owned by a few very large multinational corporations. By the media, newspapers, magazines, books, movies, television and radio. This is growing.
And the consequence of this? Continue reading
Kenneth Waltz, the noted international relations scholar, wrote an article for the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs, titled “Why Iran Should Get the Bomb” (behind a pay wall). Not “We Can Live With an Iranian Bomb,” but an actual declaration that “it would probably be the best possible result” of the “current standoff” — the “one most likely to restore stability to the Middle East,” in fact. Continue reading
That’s the takeaway from a NYTimes Green blog post today. The blog reports that Dr. Craig Allen, a USGS research ecologist, says fire pattern has changed from frequent and large ground fires to infrequent crown fires that utterly destroy the landscape. And climate disruption plus natural climate cycles are combining in such a way that grasses and shrubs are replacing the forests.
In related news, the InciWeb site (the interagency site that collects wildfire information in one place to help track and fight wildfires) reports that parts of the High Park fire area near Ft. Collins, CO have been so hot that “mosses and lichens are burning on granite rock.” Continue reading
I. May 30th, 2010. Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In which I insist upon the veracity of the enclosed.
The characters in the following narrative were once really alive, even the kangaroo.
What is your name?
How old are you?
Do you have any relatives?
Are you married?
Where do you live?
Where do you work? Continue reading
by Lee Camp
By Greg Stene
As a long-time shooter and advertising copywriter, I really do not like visual cliches. Everything in me says I should look to create something new. And photos of flowers are not new. But in looking at the shots I took recently at Portland’s Rose Garden and viewing them at 100% for editing purposes, I saw that smaller sections of the whole became something completely different. Viewing the flower was transformed into another kind of experience. And that change in meaning is what these images are about. They have little to do with flowers anymore.
He knocked briskly on the door, hoping it conveyed his irritation. That damn leak was making a mess in his condo and he wanted it fixed.
He knew he shouldn’t get so upset over a leaking pipe which could be quickly repaired; but the events of the last few years had changed him and he just wasn’t himself. The sudden deaths of Ralph Weber and Eddie Montini, good friends and members of the Thursday afternoon poker club, had him feeling disconcerted and powerless even before Nancy, his wife of fifty-four years, succumbed to a weak heart, leaving him alone and isolated.
He also felt cut off by the changes in his condo building which had been a warm, lively community of the recently retired when he’d moved in with Nancy. He’d spent hours in the clubhouse playing pool with new-found friends and the building was filled with the joyful noise of visiting grandchildren on weekends. Continue reading
Is the sky falling on this Beacon on the Hill, ending a century of Yankee dominance, crushing the greatest, most brashly exceptional nation known to mankind? Is this worldwide wonder of freedom and democracy, the intersection of divine history and human destiny, kaput, on its last legs, about to implode? Not quite, not yet, and that’s no endorsement of the status quo: powers-that-be hold high trump cards.
Every generation endures end-of-the world scenarios, and we still dread last century’s, nuclear holocaust. Drama — let alone anxiety – commands our attention and heartstrings. Pandemics, portable nukes, fiery asteroids, religious mania, starvation, rightwing nuts, and looming climate change, all threaten millions. But anxiety, even nightmare projections, do not mean Armageddon is upon us, nor that pundits suddenly discover reliable crystal balls. Discretion is the better part of this valor.