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June 24, 2009

Michigan dares to be stupid

I mean, really fucking stupid. Lansing, city of fools. Thanks, **Meredith**. Legislative Action Center | Michigan Parents for Schools
Everyone who cares about education should be stunned by the FY2010 School Aid budget passed today by the Michigan Senate's Appropriations Committee. First off, the committee approved a $110 per pupil cut in school districts' foundation allowances next year, eliminating $174 million in state funding. Contrary to earlier promises, lawmakers did not use Federal stimulus money to hold schools harmless next year. But even these substantial cuts will not help us avoid the "funding cliff" that looms in 2010-11 when the Federal money runs out. But what this move does accomplish is to reduce the State's obligation to fund our public schools in the guise of making the Federal stimulus money last longer.
Much of the cutting is for early-childhood education. At a time when this state's historical lack of concern for education is a large part of its impending ruin, our leaders are looking to gut public education. May as well live in Mississippi, the winters are warmer. Much of the cutting is for early-childhood education. At a time when this state's historical lack of concern for education is a large part of its impending ruin, our leaders are looking to gut public education. May as well live in Mississippi, the winters are warmer.
In other words, the Appropriations Committee used the cover of this bill to lock in reductions in school funding for the next two years (or more). They were able to assume away future cuts simply by asserting that revenue for school aid will recover quickly in 2010-11 - against all current evidence. Unlike the Governor's original proposal for a cut that left the official foundation allowances where they were, the Appropriations Committee made a firm $110 per pupil cut in schools' foundation allowance figures. This conveniently avoids any honest discussion of why we need our schools, what our schools need to operate, and whether we should commit resources to that end. In these difficult times, when we need our public schools more than ever, this sleight of hand makes a mockery of our state's commitment to education.

Continue reading "Michigan dares to be stupid" »

June 23, 2009

Virginity Movement on the Defensive, Scrambling to Rebrand

Virginity Movement on the Defensive, Scrambling to Rebrand | Sex and Relationships | AlterNet
Thankfully, the Obama administration has brought some measure of sanity to public health policy, cutting most abstinence-only education funding from the 2010 budget. But abstinence organizations are not going away. In fact, they're getting organized. Well aware that their cause is in trouble and unpopular, purity proponents are revamping their image to appear more mainstream. And with Obama's faith-based initiative lending them an ear, it just might work. In my book The Purity Myth, I call these folks the virginity movement. Composed of antifeminist think tanks like the Independent Women's Forum and Concerned Women for America, abstinence-only organizations, religious leaders and legislators with regressive social values, the virginity movement is much more than the same old sexism; it's a targeted and well-funded backlash hellbent on rolling back women's rights using modernized notions of purity, morality and sexuality. Its goals are mired in old-school gender roles, and its primary tool is young women's sexuality. (What better way to get people to pay attention to your cause than to frame it in terms of teenage girls' having, or not having, sex? It's salacious!)
Via Facebook pal **Michael Jackman**.

Confidential memo reveals US plan to provoke an invasion of Iraq

Confidential memo reveals US plan to provoke an invasion of Iraq | Politics | The Observer
A confidential record of a meeting between President Bush and Tony Blair before the invasion of Iraq, outlining their intention to go to war without a second United Nations resolution, will be an explosive issue for the official inquiry into the UK's role in toppling Saddam Hussein. The memo, written on 31 January 2003, almost two months before the invasion and seen by the Observer, confirms that as the two men became increasingly aware UN inspectors would fail to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD) they had to contemplate alternative scenarios that might trigger a second resolution legitimising military action. Bush told Blair the US had drawn up a provocative plan "to fly U2 reconnaissance aircraft painted in UN colours over Iraq with fighter cover". Bush said that if Saddam fired at the planes this would put the Iraqi leader in breach of UN resolutions. . . .

June 22, 2009

Pat Buchanan's coalition of racist illiterates

Think Progress � Under Misspelled Banner, Buchanan And White Nationalist Brimelow Argue For English-Only Initiatives
On Saturday, Pat Buchanan hosted a conference to discuss how Republicans can regain a majority in America. During one discussion, panelists suggested supporting English-only initiatives as a prime way of attracting “working class white Democrats.” The discussion ridiculed Judge Sotomayor for the fact that she studied children’s classics to improve her grammar while attending college. The panelists also suggested that, without English as the official language, President Obama would force Americans to speak Spanish. One salient feature of the event was the banner hanging over the English-only advocates. The word conference was spelled “Conferenece.”
This courtesy Facebook pal **Lanie**.