Saturday, November 10, 2007

TPS Performance

This post comes from a previous post this past Tuesday.
There was a phrase in that post, "freedom of learning."
I ask, freedom of learning in Toledo Public Schools today?
Maybe, "freedom of learning" is one of the problems for
the low proficiency rates for children in our public schools.
If this country and local school districts are going to continue
educating children in brick and mortar central buildings, it
may be time to forget about "freedom of learning" and instill
a core curriculum of reading, english, spelling, writing, math,
science, and civics. Bring on the memorizing, re-instill strict
discipline, get rid of school counselors. I don't seem to recall
counselors in all of my primary and secondary education. None.
And, some how most of us survived, flourished, went on to
college, graduate degrees, and successful careers. There was
less time in Toledo public schools in the pre-1970s than today and
test scores were higher. Prior to the implementation of school
lunches in the late 1960s, TPS sent all the students home for lunch.
The schools were empty for an hour and a half. Yet, there was
time to fully educate the children. TPS was shut down for 90
minutes, imagine that today. From the information that I have
been able to retrieve there is hardly a school in TPS reaching the
requirements of "No Child Left Behind". Here is a sampling of
data for 2007: Listing school, reading proficency, math prof:
Cherry Elem 28.9% 30.0%
Chase Elem 41.1 39.4
Byrnedale 76.4 56.6
Deveaux 67.5 47.4
Elmhurst 80.3 86.8
Eastside 59.9 50.7
Fulton 52.1 64.7
Grve Patrsn 85.4 80.3
Jones 33.2 26.0
Lagrange 33.3 20.0
Larchmont 73.2 48.3
Libbey 73.0 48.3
McKinley 50.5 42.9
Pickett 36.3 26.8
Rogers 76.3 60.2
Scott 75.4 49.1
Start 88.6 77.6
Waite 81.3 64.9
Woodward 72.3 51.6

Most TPS are not meeting the proficiency goals. Neither
is the nation at large. Yet, TPS spending per child is
probably $10,000+ For what? Failure? So, if we didn't
have national performance goals and testing, all this could
be hidden? Why are like teachers at say Pickett and Start
receiving roughly the same pay? Or Jones and Grove Patterson?
The Union tells me so? How can schools like Pickett, Lagrange,
Chase, even be called a place of learning? Apparently, even
teaching to the tests in TPS has not made successful learning.
How many children is TPS leaving behind?

100% of House GOP Votes AGAINST Tax Relief

Apparently the GOP doesn't care much for middle-class Americans [as if we didn't know.] They also lie [as if we didn't know]. They tout 'tax relief' which is, in fact a GOP initiated word. But only if it is relief for the upper classes.

On Friday the House passed a bill that would relieve an estimated 23 million taxpayers from being subject to the alternative minimum tax for a year. All Republicans voted against it.

Why would the 'party of tax relief' vote against tax relief? Because it was tax relief for the wrong Americans. There were many who object to provisions that would raise tax rates on private equity managers, venture capitalists and some real estate investors to income tax rates as high as 35% instead of capital gains tax rates of 15%.

Now it becomes crystal clear which party stands for the average American citizen. Clearly.

The Hinges of History: America's Obsession With Killing

Historian and author Thomas Cahill was featured on Bill Moyer's Journal last evening. He was speaking of his latest book, the Hinges of History, and made this remarkable statement:

"All societies have a dream and a nightmare. And our nightmare has been, I think, our racism. We practically committed genocide on the people who were here, the Native Americans. We enslaved another race of people, the Africans. And then we dropped the atom bomb on Asians. We would have never dropped that bomb in Europe in my view. And I think that's what proves the racism of it. That's the nightmare of America."

Although his book is titled, How the Irish Saved Civilization, this remark about America stuck in my brain as did another about how Texas loves to execute people:

"I think throughout the country but especially in the state of Texas, there is a kind of collusion among lawyers whether they're prosecutors or defenders, and judges, and an awful lot of horrible things happen in order to get as many people as possible executed."

Enter the former governor of that state. The governor who has killed at least a half-million Arabs. A governor whose compassion has been overshadowed by his penchant for killing. A majority of Americans cheered the man, hooting and hollering: in shock and awe.

Civilization. The Roman Colosseum is the number one tourist attraction in the world. A place of killing. Why? asked Cahill. Apparently we have something inside of us as humans that has some sort of attraction to killing.

Attraction to killing.


Friday, November 9, 2007

Profits From Iraqi Oil a No-Show

I can't recall which lying neocon conned the American people into believing that Iraqi oil would somehow pay us for 'the war.' Was it Wolfowitz, Cheney or Rummy? Doesn't matter who told the lie.

CNN reports today that Iraqi oil production today is lower than March 20, 2003, the date of Shock n' Awe. The article, Still waiting to cash in on Iraqi oil, says, "Iraq is currently lucky to pump 2 million barrels a day. Decades of war and neglect have nearly halved production from a high of 3.5 million barrels in the late 1970s. Output is now below where it was when the United States first invaded in 2003, and some experts say that Iraq could see production fall by 200,000 barrels a day per year under present conditions."

I suppose that is why Bush wants another $50 billion for his war. What addle brains actually believed this guy back in 2003? If you did, would you please offer a confession?

Georgia To Pray for Rain

ATLANTA (AP) -- What to do when the rain won't come? If you're Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, you pray. The governor will host a prayer service next week to ask for relief from the drought gripping the Southeast.
"The only solution is rain, and the only place we get that is from a higher power,'' Perdue spokesman Bert Brantley said on Wednesday.

Perdue's office has sent out invitations to leaders from several faiths for the service, set for Tuesday. Perdue has several times mentioned the need for prayer -- along with water conservation -- as the state's drought crisis has worsened. Over the summer, he participated in day of prayer for agriculture at a gathering of the Georgia Farm Bureau in Macon, Ga.
Perdue, a Baptist, has enjoyed strong support from Georgia's Christian conservatives.


I think that Georgia is being smitten by God for its general and wide-spread sinfulness. Rain will not come until each and every citizen of Georgia falls down on its knees and asks God for forgiveness.

Six Dems Hand Waterboarding AG Victory

Six Democrats voted in favor of Mukasey's nomination for Attorney General, giving Mr. Bush legal authority to continue waterbording torture.

The 6 were: Bayh of Indiana, Carper of Deleware, Feinstein of California, Landrieu of Louisiana, Nelson of Nebraska, and Schumer of New York.

What was their 'reasoning,' if any?


John Roberts Plays Softball on CNN

The man who hums, Bomb, bomb,bomb bomb Iran all waking hours was in a softball game this morning on CNN. Former [short-term] UN Ambassador and neocon John Bolton has a new book out with a befitting name for the jackass, Surrender is Not and Option. CNN's John Roberts lobbed one softball question after another to Bolton who knocked them all over the fence. What a pitiful display of pandering.

During the 'interview,' Bolton was shown a clip of Senator Chuck Hagel arguing against any attack on Iran; when it concluded Bolton dismissed it with one of the most juvenile debate tactics- a comment about Hitler.

Bolton brings with him a red flag background. Wikipedia lists these organizations to which he belongs:

American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Project for the New American Century (PNAC), Institute of East-West Dynamics, National Rifle Association, US Commission on International Religious Freedom, and the Council for National Policy (CNP).

Wow! pass the disinfectant.

Bolton is just one more neocon telling the naive governor how to run his foreign policy. We should have been alerted to this character a year before Shock 'n Awe when, in 2002, Bolton accused Cuba of transfers of biological weapons technology to rogue states and called on it "to fully comply with all of its obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention."

Weapons of mass destruction: a preview of coming attractions.

Wikipedia also says this about Bolton:

Bolton is alleged by the Knight Ridder news agency to have been scheduled to tell the House of Representatives International Relations subcommittee that Syria's development of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons had progressed to such a point that they posed a threat to stability in the region. Knight Ridder reported that Bolton’s appearance was cancelled after CIA and other intelligence agencies said that assessment was exaggerated.

Bolton is also a prime suspect as the author of those infamous SOU words that Bush rattled off in 2003, the uranium from Africa lie.

I suppose Bolton chose CNN and John Roberts because he knew that the softball game would be so easy. Yet the disservice to the public displayed in that farce reminds us all of that same kowtowing that the media did for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice and the pre-emptive war.

I guess we're back to 2003 with just a slight, one-letter change of subject.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sorry Condi, You Don't Get a Second Chance With War!

From Newsweek: Condi Rice, on being asked what went wrong in Iraq gave this soppy reply, ""I'll give you one with Iraq. If I had to do it all over again, we would have had the balance between center, local and provincial better. But that's the kind of thing you learn over time."

No you don't Ms Rice. You get it right the first time. There are no second guesses. If you and your cohorts didn't know how to 'do' a war, you shouldn't have started one.


Step 1: Clean Water; Step 2 Health Care I going way too far? Have I lost my senses? Is hope blinding reality?

The Bush Legacy: 25% of Homeless are Veterans

CNN reports: More than 25 percent of the homeless population in the United States are military veterans, although they represent only 11 percent of the civilian adult population, according to a report to be released Thursday. On any given night last year, nearly 196,000 veterans slept on the street, in a shelter or in transitional housing, the study by the Homelessness Research Institute found.

In other news this morning the GOP is playing politics with American vets, surprise, surprise. It seems that through some usual GOP maneuvering, they were able to extract the $65 billion, intended for veterans, out of the omnibus spending bill that will be sent to Bush. They feared he would veto it: too much money, apparently.

Odd isn't it that these Republicans support every dollar Bush asks for his war, but they don't want to spend it on the vets afterwards. Did I say, 'odd?' Forgive me, not 'odd' but rather typical. They and Bush like the macho, fighting men and women, the ones with actual blood on their faces; when these men and women are 'used-up' they drop off of the radar.

Typical of the new GOP, though. Take the abortion issue, around which they solidly gather, and another example of this faux-protectionism that they preach. They vigorously guard the developing fetus for those 9 months in utero, but after it is born, slap it on the ass and say, 'good luck, kid, you're on your own!'

Users and discard-ers. Politics trumps life.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Defrocked Priest's Funeral Full of Pomp

The Toledo Catholic Diocese never can shut the door on pedophile priests. This Catholic hierarchy is in continual denial and cover-up of priest sexual abuse. Today a defrocked priest was given a glorious funeral: it was celebrated by Bishop Donnelly and the school attached to the church was closed because the pastor did not know how large the crowd would be.

After the burial, all were invited to a country club to remember the priest who went astray. Claudi Vercellotti, SNAP local chapter leader said, "I'm not saying that people shouldn't pray for him and remember him, but honoring Neil Lucas like this almost looks like an attempt to negate what he did wrong,." Perhaps, Ms. Vercellotti, one could change your word 'negate' to 'cover-up' for a more accurate reading of the event.

Toledo has had more than its fair share of notoriety in this priest abuse scandal. The film, Twist of Faith, is but one episode in this sordid tale of hierarchical cover-up by the Catholic church in this diocese.

God-pimping Fails to Seat in Governor's Races in Miss and Ky

The hapless and crooked governor of Kentucky, Ernie Fletcher, pulled out the 10 Commandments in a last ditch hope that the voters would fall for his God-pimping and keep him in office. It didn't work; he lost badly. In Mississippi a fundamentalist challenger to Gov. Barbour who wanted to teach creationism in the schools of the state tried to woo voters. Voters rejected him soundly.

What does this say for the '08 election? Are these examples of what is to come when politicians try to wrap themselves around God in their pandering for votes?

U.S. in Decline

PetroChina overnight has becom the world's first trillion dollar company.
ExxonMobile, the US company, has yet to reach a trillion. Hello? Does
this ring an alarm bell? Is anyone this morning asking, "China? How is
it that China has the first trillion dollar company?" American Gov't policy
and American corporation greed have championed the idea that if the
US trades and sends American technology, business, factories, and labor
to China, the result will be the opening up of China to democracy, liberty,
and freedom. China will give up its communist government because of a
revolution of rising expectations of the Chinese people. China will join the
"peace-loving" capitalist countries of the world. Secretary of Defense, Gates,
has been in China this last week, asking the Chinese to roll back a new, large
increase in military spending. The chinese told him "to hit the road." Isn't
it comforting to know that all our trade deficit monies that we have sent to
China and all the manufacturing factories and associated jobs, all that money
and all the technology, China is using to greatly enlarge and modernize their
offensive military position. I wonder why and what power in the Pacific could
possibly be viewed as a threat. With chinese industry and manufacturing being
built daily on the backs of American laboring men and women and chinese gov't
wealthy increasing because of the unfair trade policies which forces the US to
borrow huge amounts of financial resources from China, the US and especially
the american middle class have lost. Both the Democrat and Republican Parties
have purposely and with intention set this into motion due to the Big Business
flow of money into each Party's coffers. They have taken us from a creditor
nation to a debtor nation and offer no way out. They have destroyed our
manufacturing base. They have watched all American income to be stagnant(no
growth, even for inflation) or decrease for 96% of all workers, 96%......What is
to be done?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

No [All] Child Left Behind Going Down Sewer

Who could have imagined that President Bush’s 'signature domestic achievement' has met a dead end? Why not? Everything else he's touched has tarnished. The New York Times reports:

"The leaders ofthe Senate and House education committees are signaling that time has run out for reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act this year, leaving prospects for rewriting it uncertain during the presidential campaign in 2008."

This defeat is a great win for American school children. No longer will they be subjected to teaching to the high-stakes testing. Perhaps teachers can now plan lessons appropriate for the children, lessons that both might enjoy.

Evangelical Regrets His Bush Vote Seven Years Too Late

Evangelicals losing faith in President is the title of a letter to the editor of The Blade on this election day. He begins:

"Millions of evangelicals around the United States are beginning to lose faith in our President. He has taken a position that is not consistent with biblical teaching."

He goes on to say,

"President Bush at times has been out of touch with what is really happening and what people are thinking, especially in the evangelical and Bible belts in our country. This lack of understanding and not being open to other people's views will certainly be the downfall of the Republican Party, not only now but more importantly in November, 2008."

The letter writer apparently had an epiphany, albeit 7 years too late. He now worries about 'the aggression and killing of innocent people' in Iraq. "Mr. Bush...will be held accountable for his actions and decisions that continue to cost the lives of thousands of people without regard to the wishes of the American people and the citizens of this world."

While I applaud his confession, I cannot forgive his sin. The Bible Belt to which he refers and the evangelicals there and here in Ohio put him into office in 2000 and then re-elected him in 2004 after watching him lie to the American people about the 'mushroom cloud' and 'uranium from Africa.'

Millions of Americans were not fooled by the naive governor back in 2000 and millions more knew, four years later, that he was clearly a jackass and incompetent leader of our nation.

Yet, these Bible Belt-ers and evangelicals marched lock-step to the voting booths and mindlessly checked off the box of the 'right-to-life' candidate who, as the author of today's letter finally admits, 'cost the lives of thousands of people.' Or a million.

That's what we get from one-issue voters. Scoundrels like Bush and Cheney depend on these one-issue voters to be duped into believing the rhetoric. No doubt, today as I type this post, some person is marking their 'X' because of some issue unrelated to governance.

Monday, November 5, 2007

What's a Naive Texas Governor Gotten Us Into?

He looks into Putin's eyes and saw a clean soul. Shouldn't that have been a wake-up call to all of us? George W. Bush: the ne'erdowell, naive governor with a lucky last name. The man who lost the presidency then magically was placed into the White House. Did that ring any bell?

Were this a sit-com we could have had some fun. Of course, the bungler did present us with some laughs- at that press dinner when he played the game, 'Where are those WMD's?' We all thought that clever skit was a hoot, except the widows of our military.

Each day we hold our breath to see what new college frat-boy prank he'll pull on us. 'Pull my finger, I need to fart' gets lots of laughs inside the White House. Gosh, what fun. Does he throw soap in the fountains to watch the bubbles?

We haven't had such fun with a president since, well, ever! I like those tin 'Medal of Freedom' badges he hangs around the other goofs in the show. That gets lots of laughs. The one to Don Rumsfeld was a particular hoot, wasn't it? I thought George Tenet's was the best until that one came aboard. Of course, the one to L. Paul Bremer takes the cake. Did FEMA Director Michael Brown get one?

So today, one of his buds, Pervez Musharaf, has pulled the constitution, declared martial law, shut down the press, and is jailing the lawyers and dissenters. What fun! I wonder if our frat-boy-in-chief wants to copy-cat that prank here? He's love to be able to pull off that one.

Quick, pull his finger!

George Bush's "Pig Pen" Effect

He's that curious Schultz character continually in a cloud of dirt. Reminds me much of George W. Seems his entire life has been a dirt ball of one sort or another. Everything that both lads touched turned to ruin.

Cartoon creator Charles Schultz penned these words in defense of the sooty boy: "Don't think of it as dust. Just think of it as the dirt and dust of far-off lands blowing over here and settling on Pig-Pen! It staggers the imagination! He may be carrying the soil that was trod upon by Solomon or Nebuchadnezzar or Genghis Khan!"

Indeed it may. Then again, it might just be fool's dust, of, by and from a fool.

Today it's Pakistan's Pervez Muschariff; a few years ago it was Saddam Hussein. Where is Osama bin Laden? Can't forget Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Oh, and Valdimir Putin.

Wouldn't this make a great new episode for all of the Peanuts Gang?

Sadly, we can't turn off the DVD. Nope. Pig Pen is for real and he's with us for another whole year. Lord knows what other misadventures the little ne'erdowell rascal will get into with all that time to play with.

American Election Reform

It seems to me that it is about time that American elections
are won for the people and not bought by the corporations
and wealthy interests groups. Here are some suggestions
that are worthy of consideration. It seems to me that there
needs to be a complete package of election reform measures.
Just one or two reforms will not correct our election efforts.

The measures are:

No PAC monies;
No corporation monies;
Mandatory public campaign funding;
Only 40% of campaign contributions can be from outside the candidate's district;
No gifts or monies from lobbyists or private interests seeking favorable legislation;
Public officeholders forbidden from any lobbying for 8 years after serving;
Term limits;
Members cannot vote themselves pay raises.

These are up for discussion. Please contribute your thoughts on the massive
political corruption on all levels of government and what we need to accomplish
for clean and honest politicians. Make additions to the above list, too........

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Whither Pakistan?

Well, well now....Musharraf declares martial law....Imagine that....Bush's good
comrade in arms, Musharraf, the man Bush and Cheney and Republicans said
would bring democracy to Pakistan, has "suspended" the Pakistan Constitution
and arrested the top judges and lawyers. He has issued orders for the army to
use assault rifles and round up oppostition leaders, including human rights and
democracy advocates. According to news sources any one opposed to his military
rule is being hunted down and arrested. The Parliament and Supreme Court are
surrounded by military troops. Any one who "ridicules" Musharraf or the armed
forces is to be arrested for up to three years.

Musharraf has decided to take the path of dictatorship. And, this is the person Bush
called his firmist ally. Might ask, ally for what? So far, the Bush response has been
to say that the emergency declaration does not impact our military support of the
Muslim nation nor its efforts in the war on terror. Rice, however, has issued a
statement asking for a "return" to democracy. As if there ever was democracy under
Musharraf. Bush's hypocrisy of fronting Musharraf as a force for democracy in
Pakistan is now out in the open. Bush and Rice and the Republicans did nothing to
promote democracy in Pakistan. (Does any one remember Bush's Second Inaugural
Address where he would promote democracy?) The Bush Cabal has totally ignored
the real democratic leaders and forces in Pakistan. They have refused to even meet
with Sharif and Bhutto. Instead they gave all support and praise to Musharraf in the
form of massive financial support and huge supplies of military equipment and
technology. Moreover, they gave him their support as he cracked down on dissidents
and democratic activists in Pakistan, which turned these people to the more radical
elements in Pakistani society.

The bottom line: The Bush Administration and the Republicans have said that Musharraf
put Pakistan on the road to democracy. Double talk pure and simple. A nuclear nation,
possibly falling under radical Islamic control, which was stated for some time to be the
most dangerous place in the world, not Iran or North Korea, but Pakistan because it already
possessed nuclear weapons, nuclear materials for the suitcase bombs, and missles to
deliever warheads. Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, neo-cons, Republicans have made the
US more unsafe, not safer.

Oh, to Have a Daily McClatchy Newspaper

Only a few large cities in the U.S. are fortunate enough to have a McClatchy Newspaper as their daily. I wish that Toledo was one, but unfortunately we have The Blade. Fortunately for the folks in Kansas City, Fort Worth, Sacramento and Miami, they open a daily McClatchy to read the fine journalism associated with this publishing group.

Their OP-eds are especially keen as is one today that appeared in the Fort worth Star-Telegram this morning by Joe Galloway titled, "What kind of a nut wants a war with Iran?" The sidebar to the article: General H. Norman Schwarzkopf has called Joseph L. Galloway, a military columnist for McClatchy Newspapers, "The finest combat correspondent of our generation — a soldier's reporter and a soldier's friend."

I enjoy this no-nonsense, hit them over the head style of journalism which is often displayed in this blog. Galloway begins:

"There were some things far more frightening last week than Halloween's small ghouls and goblins -- and the scariest of all is the Bush administration's seemingly inexorable march toward military confrontation with Iran.

What are they smoking at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.? The very idea is dumb as a fencepost and best left to the biggest pied piper of what passes for neoconservative thought, Norman Podhoretz. Yet President Bush and his able assistant, Vice President Dick Cheney, are marching to that tune and humming along lustily."

Nutcase. Stupid. Dumb. Good descriptive words. I'd add Dictatorship, New World Order and Fascism.

Beyond the labels and the political rhetoric, Galloway makes a great economic case against the absurdity: oil. Remember those pre-invasion anti-war rally signs, "No Blood for Oil!" Galloway says, "Shutting down not only Iran's oil production but Iraq's as well, and possibly triggering Iranian retaliation against the oil production and shipping in other nations around the Persian Gulf. Are we ready for $300 a barrel oil?"

Then he brings up Putin, the man whose soul the naive Texas governor saw, as the man whose hand is on the spigot:

"Putin has his hand on the natural gas and oil pipelines that keep our presumed allies in Europe from freezing to death, so it is wise to assume that any support for a U.S. attack on his ally Iran would be slim to none."

Imagine that: the oil execs in the White House now facing the awkward stalemate of their neocon goals because of that which made them wealthy. Isn't that an excellent irony?

Unfortunately, a stalemate would be a logical conclusion for anybody but Bush. Many times on this blog I have questioned the mental stability of Mr. Bush. Many times. His mental health is dangerously unstable, and a man with adolescent tendencies will not stand to be caged up in a stale mate.

Perhaps that is why Galloway ended his op ed with this: "Be afraid. Be very afraid.."

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