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$100 Million Student Database Worries Parents

sam_handelman Organizing links (250 comments)

Sheila Kaplan has been on this since federal child provacy laws were relaxed to permit it in 2011. She launched Education New York's National Opt-out Campaign to alert parents to their rights under FERPA to restrict third-party access to their children's information and encourage them to review their school's annual FERPA notification at the beginning of the
school year. Here's her website:
http://www.educationnewyork.com/about.html

and a parent information page
http://educationnewyork.com/optoutnow

about a year and a half ago
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The Gates Foundation Engages Its Critics

sam_handelman Re:As Steve Jobs might conclude (216 comments)

Stripped of the invective, AC is 100% correct - did you actually READ any of the articles above?

  In either story?

  The fact that the Gates Foundation can do more-or-less whatever it wants (Karl Rove is an even more egregious example) and deduct that from their taxes is a minor problem. The real problem is that they're using their combination of leveraged money and free P.R. from fools like you to take over vast quantities of [b]our tax dollars[/b] and redirect that money into their coffers and the coffers of their allies like Pearson Education, Murdoch, etc.

more than 2 years ago
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Software Emulates Organism's Entire Lifespan

sam_handelman Problem is, there's no data integrity (86 comments)

This is cool, but as I read it here (and someone correct me if I'm wrong), it's no substitute for doing a real experiment. I'm going to launch into a long explanatory diatribe - models like this one can be VERY useful for hypothesis generation, or to try and understand seemingly disconnected results that (very often) arise in a biological experiment. They are especially useful when you have some hypothesis/theory of how a complex system is governed and you need to generate some prediction which you can experimentally test based on your theory.

  But not a substitute for the real experiment, no way no how. Why? Because living things aren't designed, and they don't respect your modularity, abstract data typing, etc. etc.

  For example, suppose your bacterium starts making some huge amount of a membrane protein (a common thing you do in the lab, for reasons outside the scope of this example). What's going to happen?

  Well, that protein is going to try and fold up in the membrane, but as you make more and more of it, the protein is going to fail to get there. Other proteins destined for the membrane are going to experience the same problem. Are you going to update every single module that contains something membrane bound, to reflect this? As they accumulate in the membrane, the membrane curvature is going to change, and this in turn is going to change the relative concentrations of various lipids on each leaf of the membrane, which alters the chemistry of everything that interacts with the membrane in any way (a whole bunch more modules.)

  Even if you have those effects covered, they're going to have indirect (and non-linear) effects on the concentration of various ions in the cytosol (all of which, just for starters, interact with the inner membrane with different affinities), the excess protein is going to start accumulating in inclusion bodies which are going to start taking up physical space inside the cell. These two changes alter the likelihood of interaction and the energy of interaction of every single other thing going on in the cell (!). So good luck with that.

  That's just one example. The same thing would happen if you sheared the DNA, or heat shocked the cell, or put the cell in an environment of rapidly changing nutrient concentrations. To put all that in CS terms - the actual cell isn't object oriented, there's all sorts of cross-talk between the different components (because they're physical objects in a little tiny soap bubble, they're bumping into each other) and no abstraction layer or anything of that kind.

  To be quite honest, I am of the opinion that a living cell is an irreducible system, and the only way you'd get a real substitute for experiments on actual cells would be JUST MAYBE if you ran a molecular dynamics simulation on all 10^14 or so atoms; and if you did so with a much better physics engine than we have now.

more than 2 years ago
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Can Anyone Catch Khan Academy?

sam_handelman Universities do it for the wrong reasons (190 comments)

There are a lot of reasons to be physically present at a "brick and mortar" university with an instsructor in the room with you.

  To the extent that universities want to break from this model, it isn't about education at all. It isn't even about making an education cheaper; it's about extracting money from suckers.

  So, good for Khan Academy for doing what they're doing and giving it away for free. All the bottom feeders (including Bill Gates) who want to charge money for this stuff have nothing useful to offer and are just trying to game the system in one or another way for a buck.

more than 2 years ago
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Feds: We Need Priority Access To Cloud Resources

sam_handelman Re:How about no? (183 comments)

The pressure to do this is NOT coming from the federal government, it's coming from the companies that sell the cloud services!

  So instead of having the federal government just maintain an emergency backup infrastructure itself, these private companies (Amazon etc.) WANT the federal government to buy electronic services from them! And the feds come back and say, "well, in order to make that workable we'd need guaranteed access in an emergency and bleah-de-bleah." Privatization of emergency services is an unmitigated disaster and we just shouldn't do it.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/aug/30/comment.hurricanekatrina

  The obvious solution is: How about No? But it's the federal government that needs to say that to the cloud-computing vendors, not the other way around!

more than 2 years ago
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A Critical Examination of Bill Gates' Philanthropic Record

sam_handelman Re:WTF? (370 comments)

You're accusing her of doing a hatchet job, but you're clearly not reading any of the links, which discuss the details of the partnerships extensively.

  Your accusation - that she has a "conspiracy theory" *is* a hatchet job. What makes it a conspiracy theory? None of this is particularly secret; these people don't all have to be in the room at once, plotting. The accusation is that the Gates foundation's supposed charity does significant harm, based on an ideological commitment to corporatism, and she's assembled scads of material to document that assertion.

  If you can't see anything but paranoia, that's something that you're reading into it, not a criticism of the substance; which, again, you appear not to have even read.

  The way that the trust is organized doesn't protect from conflict of interest; and that's a concern. But the real issue is the awful things they enduce other charitable actors to do with other-people's-money.

more than 2 years ago
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A Critical Examination of Bill Gates' Philanthropic Record

sam_handelman Re:So basically... (370 comments)

Oh, please, that's just complete bullshit.

  I'm assuming you didn't actually read the article? Perhaps you read the careful research in the primary source:
http://www.ghwatch.org/sites/www.ghwatch.org/files/D3_0.pdf

  Pharmaceutical companies make third world dictatorships look like Finland.

more than 2 years ago
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A Critical Examination of Bill Gates' Philanthropic Record

sam_handelman Re:Shareholders don't like it? (370 comments)

No, that's not what it says; in fact, that is the OPPOSITE of what it says.

  STAKEHOLDERS (not Shareholders) is occupy-wallstreet-speak for the people who have some vested interest in the outcome - employees, customers, people in malaria-infested countries, doctors, etc.

  Third world DOCTORS - the recipients of Bill's so-called generosity - are the ones complaining.

more than 2 years ago
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A Critical Examination of Bill Gates' Philanthropic Record

sam_handelman Re:So basically... (370 comments)

In fact, no, that is not it either. Plenty of money is going to corrupt African dictatorships.

  But money is being directed AWAY from public health infrastructure, and the people who are complaining about it (I know: too much to ask for you to read the article) are doctors and public health workers in the African countries.

more than 2 years ago
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Making Saltwater Drinkable With Graphene

sam_handelman Re:Holes? (303 comments)

A couple of people have raised this issue, and it relies on a fundamental mis-understanding of how the universe works on a molecular scale.

  Suppose that I have my colander and I wash some vegetables in it. Gunk can get stuck in the holes and it has to be washed off, which requires a fair amount of work because I have to break the interaction between the gunk and the surface. That's your macroscopic intuition about how filters and such work.

  But your macroscopic intuition will lead you astray in this case. The individual holes in graphene do not work that way; yes, occasionally, molecules of one kind or another will spend some time stuck to the graphene (a useful phenomenon in other circumstances - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-performance_liquid_chromatography) but, on the scale of atoms, they are effectively in a high-powered washing machine ALL THE TIME.

  Can't find quite the movie I want... this'll do:
http://protonsforbreakfast.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/brownian-motion-observed-in-milk/

  So you see those oil bubbles wiggling around? Given that amount of constant wiggle, are you worried about having them "stuck" anywhere? That's thermal vibration from being at room temperature. Those milk bubbles are over 1,000 water molecules across, so each of those "wiggles" is 10 or 100 times the size of an individual graphene pore; are you worried about anything another 1000x smaller being "stuck" anywhere? It would be like worrying about gunk stuck in your colander while your colander was sitting in a fire-hose 24/7.

  Anyway- to cut to the chase:
obviously you could have you take the graphene and you run the sea water *past* it at high pressure. Occasionally some gunk gets in there but it washes away sooner or later; and nothing spends any appreciable amount of time stuck in an individual graphene hole.

more than 2 years ago
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The Euro was Created to CAUSE State Economic Collapses

sam_handelman Yep (7 comments)

And the reason that the federal reserve is more concerned about keeping inflation below 2% than about keeping unemployment below 8%?

  Because the 0.1% don't need jobs - but they have piles of money which they do not wish to inflate.

  It's really that simple.

more than 2 years ago
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Proof of Astroturf Modding and I am Targeted.

sam_handelman If so, they have limited capacity? (10 comments)

My comment was perhaps more incendiary than saying that MS is strong-arming people into not shipping Linux (which everyone knows to be true):
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2906477&cid=40275125

Re:The big difference here is, posted to History Will Revere Bill Gates and Forget Steve Jobs, Says Author, has been moderated Flamebait (-1).
It is currently scored Insightful (4).
Re:The big difference here is, posted to History Will Revere Bill Gates and Forget Steve Jobs, Says Author, has been moderated Troll (-1).
It is currently scored Insightful (4).
Re:The big difference here is, posted to History Will Revere Bill Gates and Forget Steve Jobs, Says Author, has been moderated Overrated (-1).
It is currently scored Insightful (4).

  People keep modding it back up to 5; we'll see if it crashes to -1 right before the mod deadline passes.

more than 2 years ago
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Too Many Biomedical Graduate Students, Not Enough Jobs

sam_handelman The real problem is with Pharma/Biotech/etc (226 comments)

In the 1990s, there was still demand for biology PhDs in the private sector, which has significantly dried up since. It's not GONE, but it's greatly reduced. That's why the emergency-of-people-whining (because couldn't get professorships, had to work in industry) is now an emergency-of-people-in-serious-trouble (because can't get JOBS AT ALL.) For the balance, I'll be using the terms Pharma, Biotech and Industry interchangeably - they're not exactly the same thing but the basic argument applies whether the company is making drugs or medical devices or developing new diagnostic biomarkers or whatever they do employing PhDs in the life sciences.

  On top of this, the research that the biotech companies are doing is mostly me-too research which doesn't benefit the public. In spite of this, industry is continuing to milk the public of their subsidy from patent protection on products that were ~50% developed at public expense anyway. The solution to this is a fairly simple reallocation:
* End patent protections for medical technologies. Because of capitalism, and markets, and other realities which sensible people accept, this will drive prices through the floor.
* Take the savings to the rest of the economy, and raise people's taxes (should be balance-sheet-neutral on average for the general population)
* Give the extra tax revenue to the NIH, and expand the NIH mission to include drug development, medical device development, etc. as needed to bring such to market.

  To be blunt, I do not respect the opinion of people who defend drug patents at this point, especially since such people are generally ideologically committed (as opposed to persuaded on relative merits, no the same thing), to "capitalism". The commitment of "capitalists" to intellectual property protection (instead of market competition) shows them to be craven, deceptive and fraudulent: they're really committed to oligarchy and to the preservation of privilege, not to the market as an instrument of efficient allocation of economic resources. Such people are deeply shameful and depraved - they are not worthy of respect out of any need to promote ideological balance.

  Anyway, even during the 90s, the price paid by the public for patented medical treatments was not really justified given the amount that the Pharma industry spent on R&D:
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/press-releases/press-releases/cepr-releases-report-on-prescription-drug-research/

  Now a days, with drug expenditures being a larger share of GNP, and pharmaceutical R&D being a smaller share of GNP, the cost:benefit relationship is even more drastic. To put it another way - biotechnology patents, generally speaking, do not meet the constitutional test of being beneficial to the public or of promoting the useful arts. So they should be done away with, and the public sector (which is far more efficient at funding scientific research than the private sector, due primarily to the better information available to the people making decisions) should simply assume that function, producing a significant cost savings for the general public as well as accelerating the pace of research and finding useful employment for our best and brightest.

more than 2 years ago
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Committee Lowers Nobel Prize Award

sam_handelman Re:Much of a difference? (178 comments)

Nobel prizes aren't grants, they don't fund projects. The prize is cash money you get to keep yourself; although I think most people donate it to charity. Unfortunately, google is swamped with discussion of what Obama did with his, but Smoot donated his(http://phys.org/news93885786.html), which I understand to be typical.

more than 2 years ago
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History Will Revere Bill Gates and Forget Steve Jobs, Says Author

sam_handelman Re:The big difference here is (679 comments)

In fact, no.

  I accidentally posted this anonymously farther down, but in fact Bill Gates has done tremendous harm with his so-called "philanthropy"; his real contribution is "leveraged philanthropy", where you use philanthropic donations to control something so that you make more money. This is true with his vaccine so-called "charity" - which forces poor nations to spend money from other sources on expensive foreign vaccines, rather than on development of local vaccine manufacturing or of general public health infrastructure, and thus actually degrades the quality of 3rd world health care while making Bill Gates his "charitable" money back and then some. This is true of his education so-called "charity" - which forces poor school districts to spend money from other sources on high-tech gadgets and expensive consulting services, which are sold by Bill Gates' various partners, but which are actually worse than no services at all.

The Gates' foundation has announced a partnership with Pearson (for profit-education company) to develop and market materials aligned to the common core. These are the materials that your school district must agree to purchase (this particular test cost $32 million state wide) in order to qualify for Race to the Top.
http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-04-19/news/31369375_1_answer-silly-question-pineapple
    So, Bill Gates is using a small amount of his "charitable" money to force public money in much larger amounts, to be wasted on this crap.

Bill Gates wants to fit teachers with galvanic bracelets:
http://dianeravitch.net/2012/06/09/just-when-you-thought-it-couldnt-get-crazier/

Bill Gates needs vaccines to be a "profit center" for his pharmaceutical buddies. I spelled this out above but read the comments.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2011/11/10/what-bill-gates-says-about-drug-companies-2/

Oh, hey, Bill Gates is using his agricultural charity to force the 3rd world to buy Monsanto's crops:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2010/sep/29/gates-foundation-gm-monsanto

more than 2 years ago
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Career Prospects in the Pain Business

sam_handelman Re:It's not a real job listing (9 comments)

Many public institutions - Universities, National Labs, Secret Prisons - are required to publish/advertize job openings even if they plan to fill them internally.

As a retired academic, I can tell you that "fill internally" has an entirely different meaning for University jobs.

As a current academic, I can tell you that I have no idea what it means for [b]non[/b]-University jobs.

  So if you have a job as a professional programmer, and you want to hire your just-graduated CS Master's Student, you may have to publish the job, yeah? But then you just hire your former student anyway. Is that very different from filling a job internally in the private sector? Or in a secret dungeon?

  Then for various administrative staff vacancies, there's often a policy to favor filling the job internally, but again I think they have to advertize. I'm less clear on that one.

more than 2 years ago
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Career Prospects in the Pain Business

sam_handelman It's not a real job listing (9 comments)

Many public institutions - Universities, National Labs, Secret Prisons - are required to publish/advertize job openings even if they plan to fill them internally.

  So they want to promote Mustafa out of sales to a newly created torturer position, but they can't just hire him. They have to publish an advertizement and pretend to do a search and then, bang!, they thank everyone else for their interest and hire the best candidate, Mustafa; this was the plan all along.

  So don't get your hopes up, is all I'm saying.

more than 2 years ago
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The Rise of Chemophobia In the News

sam_handelman Both explanations are true (463 comments)

Truth1: Chemistry reporting is as bad as all other science reporting.
Truth2: The Chemical industry is as unconcerned with "externalities" as any other business.

  Reporters will get you to panic even if they don't have a good reason; the reason that reporters are capable of spreading panic easily is because chemical manufacturers will poison you in order to make a buck. So, from a certain standpoint, the response of the general public is rational - they don't trust the chemical industry, and they shouldn't, so why not err on the side of caution when dealing with certified professional liars (marketing, PR and advertising people). Particulates are bad for you; the chemical industry (and domestic manufacturing generally) denies this, but they're lying. Vaccines are not harmful; but they are a big emerging profit center for pharma. If vaccines were harmful (again, they aren't), would pharma lie about it? Damn straight they'd lie through their teeth. So it becomes a double problem - it's difficult to educate the public about what is safe (vaccines are safe), and at the same time it's difficult to get robust action on what isn't safe (airborne particulates are not safe; neither are most chlorinated organics, heavy metals, etc.)

more than 2 years ago
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Training my Replacement

sam_handelman This is why y'all need unions (2 comments)

This is why programmers (or software architects, or applications developers, or whatever - I prefer "technology professionals" except that some people think that means someone with an MBA who works at a technology company) need unions. Or needed unions, before silicon valley was more or less gutted under the Bush II administration.

  Now, unions would only have provided a temporary respite from all this; the unions would be under constant assault, with promises from management that the union was just getting in the way. "Of course," says management, "we treat you with respect out of our magnanimous appreciation for the good work you do, and the union just muddies up the issue with red tape, and takes your money and..." bleah-de-bleah-de-bleah. But unions would've held the worst of the off-shoring at bay for a few years, which would've kept the industry in much better shape since off-shoring has been on balance a tremendous waste of money. But management likes it (regardless of the impact on the bottom line) because it gives them more power.

about 3 years ago

Submissions

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Washington Post refuses to run columns critical of it's for-profit subsidiary

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  about a year and a half ago

sam_handelman (519767) writes "For whatever reason, Washington Post columnist Jay Matthews first agreed to run — and then changed his mind — a column very critical of Kaplan K-12. This was two years ago, but the regulatory capture plans of for-profit education business have become big news since then. On a totally incidental note, Kaplan K-12 is a highly profitable subsidiary of the Washington Post Corporation."
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The Gates Foundation Engages its Critics

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 2 years ago

sam_handelman writes "The Gates Foundation responded to the critiques of its policies (previously discussed here) by inviting its critics at Education Week Teacher to a dialog on its own site. Edweek blogger Anthony Cody answered the challenge. The two sides negotiated a five-part series of post and counterpost, which can be viewed on both sites. Previous exchanges include Cody's question, Can Schools Defeat Poverty by Ignoring It?, and an answer from the Gates Foundation's Global Press Secretary, Chris Williams, Poverty Does Matter--But It Is Not Destiny.

  The final round of the dialog has begun, and is available for comment on the Gates Foundation's own blog. Slashdot readers may not know about Gates' sponsorship of specific edutech industry partners, such as Rupert Murdoch's Wireless Generation, and Pearson Education. Cody poses tough questions, including, "Can the Gates Foundation reconsider and reexamine its own underlying assumptions, and change its agenda in response to the consequences we are seeing?" According to the agreement, the Gates Foundation will answer in the coming week, concluding the series."

Link to Original Source
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A critical evaluation of Bill Gates' role in education

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 2 years ago

sam_handelman writes "Although less well known or widely lauded than their charitable efforts in the third world, the Gates foundation has extensive links to the so-called ed reform movement. Although the periodical edweek generally supports education reform, edweek is carrying a second blog post (with links to investigative journalism pieces) which is extremely critical of the gates foundation's role in education, accusing the Gates foundation of doing harm to students, while using their leveraged contributions to waste huge sums of taxpayer money. The quantity of taxpayer dollars involved are potentially in the hundreds of billions $US, and the profit margin for education-vendors is typically very high.

Part I, about the Gates foundation in Africa and elsewhere, was covered on slashdot last week."

Link to Original Source
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Edweek critically examines Bill Gates' philanthropic record

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 2 years ago

sam_handelman writes "The common perception among Slashdotters is that while Bill Gates may cause us some professional difficulties, he makes up for it with an exemplary philanthropic record. His philanthropic efforts may turn out to be even worse than his operating system. Edweek, not ordinarily an unfriendly venue for Gates, is running a series of blog post/investigative journalism pieces into what the Gates' foundation is doing, and how it is not always well received by stakeholders."
Link to Original Source
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Dystopia Week Continues: Bill Gates to fit Students with Galvanic Bracelets

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 2 years ago

sam_handelman (519767) writes "As part of his "philanthropy", Bill Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation is providing $500K to support research into using electrophysiological measurements to evaluate the effectiveness of different teaching methods; not in a purely research setting, but as a live evaluation tool for individual teachers."
Link to Original Source
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Writer censored for alleging corruption in RTTT

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 4 years ago

sam_handelman writes "[EDITOR — this replaces my previous submission of the same story.]

  A now-former writer for scholastic, Marc Millot, wrote an article reporting accusations of wide-ranging corruption in Obama administration awards of Race to the Top grants, implicating Andrew Rotham of EdSector. Rotham complained that the report was hearsay, which is not true but Scholastic pulled the report and fired Marc Millot anyway — under pressure from Rotham! As an advocate for clean government, not to mention freedom of the press, I've got my fingers crossed hoping for a Streisand effect. Also, some of those need mirrors, as Andrew Rotham is trying to take down his own blog entry."

Link to Original Source
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Connect the dots - censoring corruption in RTTT

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 4 years ago

sam_handelman writes "A now-former writer for scholastic, Marc Millot, wrote an article accusing wide-ranging corruption in Obama administration awards of Race to the Top grants, implicating Andrew Rotham of EdSector. Rotham complained that the report was hearsay, which is not true but Scholastic pulled the report and fired Marc Millot anyway. As an advocate for clean government, I've got my fingers crossed hoping for a Streisand effect. Also, some of those need mirrors, Marc Millot is trying to take down his own blog entry."
Link to Original Source
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Curtains to Z-Cult FM

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 5 years ago

sam_handelman writes "As some of us are doubtless aware, premier comic-scan-torrenting site Z-Cult FM will shut down due to declining traffic spiced with threat of lawsuits. For those who don't know, Z-Cult FM was a bulletin board used to request and publicize torrents of scanned comic books. That link is probably not going to stay live. This e-mail went out to everyone with an active membership:

Dear Cultist, I have decided that within the next few weeks Z-Cult FM will be slowly closed down and the server put offline resulting in the death of Z-Cult FM as we know it. Z-Cult FM was born in 2004 and over the last 5 years has seen many high and low times. I would like to thank everyone who was involved over the last 5 years in making Z-Cult FM what it became. I would personally like to thank all the staff past and present, all torrenters and supporters of the site. I did start listing everyone by name but the list was too big and was scared I would miss someone off. Thanks to everyone who posted and helped out in any way possible. I would also like to unthank all the people who during the 5 years have caused trouble for the site such as no-ip, Marvel, DC Comics, etc etc list goes on..... least you made Z-Cult FM into a soap opera with many dramas along the way. The future for Z-Cult FM is currently a sad quiet death and a think about it's future. If it does return it will be just as a message board for the members who still like to use it but we will see what future holds. Thanks, Serj R.I.P. Z-Cult FM 2004 — 2009"

Link to Original Source
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sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  about 8 years ago

sam_handelman writes "I just got back from Ohio's 15th where I was working with my Aunt's congressional campaign.

  The race is very close, she has to carry better than 55 or 60% of the remaining ballots in order to win, which given the demographics of the provisional ballots is about how well I'd expect her to do, so we'll see."

Journals

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Connect the dots - censoring corruption in Race to the Top grants

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 4 years ago

A now-former writer for scholastic, Marc Millot, wrote an article accusing wide-ranging corruption in Obama administration awards of Race to the Top grants, implicating Andrew Rotham of EdSector. Rotham complained that the report was hearsay, which is not true but Scholastic pulled the report and fired Marc Millot anyway. As an advocate for clean government, I've got my fingers crossed hoping for a Streisand effect. Also, some of those need mirrors, ANDREW ROTHAM is trying to take down his own blog entry.

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Mirror this QUICKLY!

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 4 years ago http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/02/hogwarts-on-the-hudson.html/comment-page-1

  More to come later.

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                        <div class="alignleft">&laquo; <a href="http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/02/as-goes-montgomery-county.html">As Goes Montgomery County?</a></div>

                        <div class="alignright"><a href="http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/02/take-the-points.html">Giving Too Many Points</a> &raquo;</div>
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                        <h2><a href="http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/02/hogwarts-on-the-hudson.html" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link: Hogwarts On The Hudson?">Hogwarts On The Hudson?</a></h2>

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                                <p>Wow. Jaw meet floor. <a href="http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/home.jsp">Scholastic</a>, a serious publisher in the education space (that produces some good products, for instance Read 180) <a href="http://scholasticadministrator.typepad.com/thisweekineducation/2010/02/millot-three-data-points-unconected-dots-or-a-warning.html">is now allowing its bloggers to call out senior government officials as corrupt on the basis of <em>anonymous third party hearsay and no evidence</em>.</a> We&#8217;ve crossed into a strange new - and unfortunate - world if this is the new norm or somehow even remotely acceptable.</p>

<p><strong>Update:</strong> As you can tell from the now broken link it&#8217;s to Scholastic&#8217;s credit that they&#8217;ve removed the post.</p>

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        <h3 id="comments">13 Responses to &#8220;Hogwarts On The Hudson?&#8221;</h3>

        <ol class="commentlist">

                <li class="alt" id="comment-151201">
                        <cite>steve f.</cite> Says:
                                                <br />

                        <small class="commentmetadata"><a href="#comment-151201" title="">February 5th, 2010 at 4:38 pm</a> </small>

                        <p>seems like a reasonable blog post to me &#8211; he&#8217;s just asking for a bit more transparency to clear up any perception of favoritism. </p>
<p>as he said, it&#8217;s not like it hasn&#8217;t happened before <img src='http://www.eduwonk.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif' alt=';)' class='wp-smiley' /> </p>

                </li>

                <li class="" id="comment-151218">
                        <cite>Ed Pol</cite> Says:
                                                <br />

                        <small class="commentmetadata"><a href="#comment-151218" title="">February 5th, 2010 at 5:00 pm</a> </small>

                        <p>Steve F.-</p>
<p>The first sentence is:</p>
<p>&#8220;I have now heard the same thing from three independent credible sources &#8211; the fix is in on the U.S. Department of Education&#8217;s competitive grants, in particular Race to the Top (RTTT) and Investing in Innovation (I3). &#8221;</p>
<p>Not implying anything but just asking?</p>

                </li>

                <li class="alt" id="comment-151225">

                        <cite>steve f.</cite> Says:
                                                <br />

                        <small class="commentmetadata"><a href="#comment-151225" title="">February 5th, 2010 at 5:04 pm</a> </small>

                        <p>it&#8217;s a blog, i&#8217;m not sure of the ethics of blog publishing.</p>
<p>but the post is asking whether there is favoritism at the dept of ed? that&#8217;s reasonable in my book and could be cleared up easily through a transparent process.</p>

<p>the ny times uses anonymous sources all the time.</p>

                </li>

                <li class="" id="comment-151233">
                        <cite>Ed Pol</cite> Says:
                                                <br />

                        <small class="commentmetadata"><a href="#comment-151233" title="">February 5th, 2010 at 5:15 pm</a> </small>

                        <p>&#8220;Over the last several months a national education reporter, a senior manager at a national education research organization, and the head of a national nonprofit working in the field all volunteered that the Department&#8217;s senior officials know exactly who they want to get RTTT and I3 money &#8211; in brief, the new philanthropies&#8217; grantees and the jurisdictions where they work. &#8221;</p>
<p>That is a reasonable question but the blog post is not asking whether there is favortism, it is *saying* there is favortism. The first line is &#8220;the fix is in&#8221; not &#8220;is the fix in?&#8221;</p>

                </li>

                <li class="alt" id="comment-151236">
                        <cite>JSP</cite> Says:
                                                <br />

                        <small class="commentmetadata"><a href="#comment-151236" title="">February 5th, 2010 at 5:24 pm</a> </small>

                        <p>Pleeeez! Favoritism at the Dept of Ed? Who&#8217;s the secretary? While he may be a nice man and a class warrior, his position derives from the favoritism we now find problematic.</p>

                </li>

                <li class="" id="comment-151303">
                        <cite><a href='http://ljohnson562@charter.net' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>Linda/Retired Teacher</a></cite> Says:
                                                <br />

                        <small class="commentmetadata"><a href="#comment-151303" title="">February 5th, 2010 at 8:56 pm</a> </small>

                        <p>I feel certain that the taxpayers are about to be fleeced in the name of educational &#8220;reform.&#8221; Let&#8217;s hope someone with the right skills can find out what&#8217;s coming down the pike before it&#8217;s too late.</p>
<p>The Reading First fiasco hurt a lot of children and lined a lot of pockets before the fraud was exposed. I don&#8217;t want to see this happen again.</p>

                </li>

                <li class="alt" id="comment-151305">

                        <cite>Edharris</cite> Says:
                                                <br />

                        <small class="commentmetadata"><a href="#comment-151305" title="">February 5th, 2010 at 9:02 pm</a> </small>

                        <p>Some of the article is here:<br />
<a href="http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2010/02/millot-asks-about-conflict-of-interest.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2010/02/millot-asks-about-conflict-of-interest.html</a></p>

                </li>

                <li class="" id="comment-151569">
                        <cite>KL</cite> Says:
                                                <br />

                        <small class="commentmetadata"><a href="#comment-151569" title="">February 6th, 2010 at 1:04 pm</a> </small>

                        <p>Entire article available here:</p>

<p><a href="http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:http://scholasticadministrator.typepad.com/thisweekineducation/2010/02/millot-three-data-points-unconected-dots-or-a-warning.html" rel="nofollow">http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:http://scholasticadministrator.typepad.com/thisweekineducation/2010/02/millot-three-data-points-unconected-dots-or-a-warning.html</a></p>

                </li>

                <li class="alt" id="comment-151798">
                        <cite>Mary Porter</cite> Says:
                                                <br />

                        <small class="commentmetadata"><a href="#comment-151798" title="">February 7th, 2010 at 6:41 am</a> </small>

                        <p>Clearly, we must applaud Scholastic&#8217;s journalistic integrity for not allowing its bloggers to call out senior public officials. Especially when, as you point out it sells &#8220;a lot of good products&#8221; and the senior official in question is capable of serious payback if the serious publisher were to allow such a breach in respect for senior government officials.</p>
<p>That&#8217;s what journalistic standards are for: to protect our vulnerable senior government officials from unwarrented intrusion into their power to dispense payouts.</p>

                </li>

                <li class="" id="comment-151866">

                        <cite>Edharris</cite> Says:
                                                <br />

                        <small class="commentmetadata"><a href="#comment-151866" title="">February 7th, 2010 at 1:02 pm</a> </small>

                        <p>Two classic moments from film and TV come to mind.<br />
&#8220;I&#8217;m shocked, shocked, to find gambling going on in this establishment.&#8221;<br />

Casablanca</p>
<p>&#8220;Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, grin, grin.&#8221;<br />
Monty Python&#8217;s Flying Circus.</p>

                </li>

                <li class="alt" id="comment-153620">
                        <cite>Marc Dean Millot</cite> Says:
                                                <br />

                        <small class="commentmetadata"><a href="#comment-153620" title="">February 12th, 2010 at 11:27 am</a> </small>

                        <p>I&#8217;ve responded to Rotherham&#8217;s charge starting here at the blog &#8220;Schools Matter.&#8221;</p>

                </li>

                <li class="" id="comment-153652">

                        <cite><a href='http://www.thefrustratedteacher.com/' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>TFT</a></cite> Says:
                                                <br />

                        <small class="commentmetadata"><a href="#comment-153652" title="">February 12th, 2010 at 12:48 pm</a> </small>

                        <p>The saga is being followed by me as well as others. Several bloggers, including me, have given Millot space to respond. Check my blog for updates if you are interested.</p>

                </li>

                <li class="alt" id="comment-154163">
                        <cite><a href='http://ljohnson562@charter.net' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>Linda/Retired Teacher</a></cite> Says:
                                                <br />

                        <small class="commentmetadata"><a href="#comment-154163" title="">February 13th, 2010 at 7:54 pm</a> </small>

                        <p>Mr. Millot:</p>

<p>You sound like a very wise man. You were one of the first writers to predict that Michelle Rhee couldn&#8217;t possibly succeed given her disdain for teachers.</p>
<p>I hope you can continue to expose &#8220;reformers&#8221; who are poised to line their pockets with tax money meant for schoolchildren. Your skills as a lawyer should prove very helpful. Our country cannot afford another Reading First scam. Thank you.</p>

                </li>

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<i>Least</i> influential of education's <i>most</i> influential information sources. <br>-- <em>Education

Week Research Center</em>
<P>
"unexpectedly entertaining"..."tackle[s] a potentially mindfogging subject with cutting clarity...

they're reading those mushy, brain-numbing education stories so you don't have to!"
<br>-- <em>Slate's Mickey Kaus</em>
<P>
"a very smart blog... [if] you're trying to separate the demagogic attacks on NCLB from the serious

criticism, this is the site to read"

<br> -- <em>The New Republic's Ryan Lizza</em>
<P>
"everyone who's anyone reads Eduwonk"
<br> -- <em>Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media's Richard Colvin</em>
<P>
"full of very lively short items and is always on top of the news...He gets extra points for skewering my

high school rating system"
<br> -- <em>Jay Mathews, The Washington Post</em>
<P>

"a daily dose of information from the education policy world, blended with a shot of attitude and a dash

of humor"
<br> -- <em>Education Week</em>
<P>
"designed to cut through the fog and direct specialists and non-specialists alike to the center of the

liveliest and most politically relevant debates on the future of our schools"
<br> -- <em>The New Dem Daily</em>
<P>
"peppered with smart and witty comments on the education news of the day"
<br> -- <em>Education Gadfly</em>

<P>
"don't hate Eduwonk cuz it's so good"
<br> -- <em>Alexander Russo, This Week In Education</em>
<p>
"the morning's first stop for education bomb-throwers everywhere"
<br> -- <em>Mike Antonucci, Intercepts</em>
<p>
"...the big dog on the ed policy blog-ck..."
<br> -- <em>Michele McLaughlin, AFT Blog</em>

<P>
"I check Eduwonk several times a day, especially since I cut back on caffeine"
<br> -- <em>Joe Williams, fallen journalist, Executive Director, Democrats for Education Reform</em>
<P>
"...one of the few bloggers who isn't completely nuts"
<br> -- <em>Mike Petrilli, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation</em>
<P>
"I have just three 'go to' websites: The Texas Legislature, Texas Longhorn sports, and Eduwonk"
<br> -- <em>Sandy Kress, former education advisor to President Bush and former chairman, Dallas Board of

Education</em>

<P>
"penetrating analysis in a lively style on a wide range of issues"
<br> -- <em>Walt Gardner, champion letter-to-the-editor writer and retired teacher</em>
<P>
"thugs"
<br> -- <em>Susan Ohanian</em></div>
                </li>
                <li id="recent-comments-3" class="widget widget_recent_comments"> <h2 class="widgettitle">Recent Reader Comments</h2>

                        <ul id="recentcomments"><li class="recentcomments"><a href='http://www.billigtflygtilllondon.com' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>Jason Jagow</a> on <a href="http://www.eduwonk.com/2009/12/eliza-krigman-ringmaster.html/comment-page-1#comment-154202">Eliza Krigman: Ringmaster</a></li><li class="recentcomments">ateacher on <a href="http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/01/five-strikes-and-youre-out-plus-houston-we-have-a-problem.html/comment-page-1#comment-154181">Five Strikes And You&#8217;re Out! Plus, Houston We Have A Problem&#8230;</a></li><li class="recentcomments">ateacher on <a href="http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/01/five-strikes-and-youre-out-plus-houston-we-have-a-problem.html/comment-page-1#comment-154178">Five Strikes And You&#8217;re Out! Plus, Houston We Have A Problem&#8230;</a></li><li class="recentcomments"><a href='http://ljohnson562@charter.net' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>Linda/Retired Teacher</a> on <a href="http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/02/hogwarts-on-the-hudson.html/comment-page-1#comment-154163">Hogwarts On The Hudson?</a></li><li class="recentcomments"><a href='http://www.churchcoaching.org/' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>Coach for Awakened</a> on <a href="http://www.eduwonk.com/2009/08/reinventing-ed-school-2-coaching-dosagestyle.html/comment-page-1#comment-154107">Reinventing Ed School 2: Coaching dosage/style</a></li></ul>

                </li>
                <li id="execphp-156478711" class="widget widget_execphp"> <div class="execphpwidget"><ul><li id="linkcat-3" class="linkcat"><h2>Education News and Analysis</h2>
        <ul class='xoxo blogroll'>
<li><a href="http://www.aft.org/american_educator/index.html" target="_blank">American Educator</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.smartbrief.com/news/ascd/index.jsp" target="_blank">ASCD SmartBrief</a></li>
<li><a href="http://chronicle.com/" target="_blank">Chronicle of Higher Education</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.educationnext.org/" target="_blank">Education Next</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.edweek.org/" target="_blank">Education Week</a></li>

<li><a href="http://www.ednews.org/" target="_blank">EducationNews.org</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/current.cfm" target="_blank">eSchoolNews</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.insidehighered.com/" target="_blank">Inside Higher Ed</a></li>
<li><a href="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/class-struggle/" target="_blank">Jay Mathews&#8217; Class Struggle</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/pages/education/index.html" target="_blank">New York Times Education</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.pdkintl.org/kappan/kappan.htm" target="_blank">Phi Delta Kappan</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.schoolwisepress.com/" target="_blank">School Wise Pres</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.stateline.org/stateline/" target="_blank">Stateline.org</a></li>

<li><a href="http://www.teachermagazine.org/" target="_blank">Teacher Magazine</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/education">Washington Post Education</a></li>

        </ul>
</li>
<li id="linkcat-4" class="linkcat"><h2>Policy and Political Blogs</h2>
        <ul class='xoxo blogroll'>
<li><a href="http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/" target="_blank">Andrew Sullivan.com</a></li>
<li><a href="http://bloggingheads.tv/" target="_blank">Bloggingheads TV</a></li>
<li><a href="http://bookerrising.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Booker Rising</a></li>

<li><a href="http://www.danieldrezner.com/blog/" target="_blank">Daniel Drezner</a></li>
<li><a href="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/">Ezra Klein</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.newvisioninstitute.org/foresight/" target="_blank">Foresight</a></li>
<li><a href="http://geniusblog.davidshenk.com">Genius Blog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/" target="_blank">Huffington Post</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.instapundit.com/" target="_blank">Instapundit.com</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.kausfiles.com/" target="_blank">Kausfiles.com</a></li>
<li><a href="http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/" target="_blank">Matthew Yglesias</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojoblog/" target="_blank">Mojo</a></li>

<li><a href="http://oxblog.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Oxblog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/" target="_blank">Political Animal (Washington Monthly)</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.politico.com/" target="_blank">Politico</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.politicsdaily.com/">Politics Daily</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/" target="_blank">Real Clear Politics</a></li>
<li><a href="http://redbrownandblue.com/">Red, Brown, and Blue</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.scotusblog.com/movabletype/" target="_blank">Scotusblog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://washingtonindependent.com/author/spencer_ackerman">Spencer Ackerman</a></li>
<li><a href="http://takingnote.tcf.org/" target="_blank">Taking Note</a></li>

<li><a href="http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/" target="_blank">Talkingpointsmemo.com</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.prospect.org/weblog/" target="_blank">Tapped</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.theamericanscene.com/" target="_blank">The American Scene</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/corner.asp" target="_blank">The Corner</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.thedemocraticstrategist.org/strategist/" target="_blank">The Democratic Strategist</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.slate.com/?id=3944&#38;cp=2120447" target="_blank">The Has Been</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.tnr.com/blogs/the-plank" target="_blank">The Plank (TNR)</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2006/04/03/LI2006040301493.html" target="_blank">Think Tank Town</a></li>
<li><a href="http://volokh.com/" target="_blank">Volokh Conspiracy</a></li>

<li><a href="http://www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/whispers/whisphome.htm" target="_blank">Washington Whispers</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.opinionjournal.com/federation/" target="_blank">WSJ&#8217;s Blog Federation</a></li>

        </ul>
</li>
</ul>

<P><h2>EduReading</h2>
<br>
<!-- Publications Section -->

<table width="290" border="0">

<tr>

<!-- Publication Spot 1 -->
<td class="publications" valign="top"><a href="http://www.hepg.org/hep/Book/5"><img

src="http://www.eduwonk.com/graphics/Collect_Barg_120x147.gif" width="120" height="147"

border="1"><br>Collective Bargaining in Education: Negotiating Change in Today's Schools</a><br>
<font color="#000000" size="-2">Edited by Jane Hannaway and Andrew J. Rotherham</font>
<P>

<!-- Publication Spot 2 -->
<td class="publications" valign="top"><a

href="http://www.educationsector.org/analysis/analysis_show.htm?doc_id=358299"><img

src="http://www.eduwonk.com/graphics/challenged_index_120x147.gif" width="120" height="147"

border="1"><br>Why Newsweek's List of America's 100 Best High Schools Doesn't Make the Grade
</a><br>
<font color="#000000" size="-2">By Andrew J. Rotherham<br> and Sara Mead</font>
</td>

</tr>
<tr>

<!-- Publication Spot 3 -->
<td class="publications" valign="top"><a href="http://www.hepg.org/hep/Book/39"><img

src="http://www.eduwonk.com/graphics/teacher_quality_120x147.jpg" width="120" height="147"

border="1"><br>A Qualified Teacher<br> in Every Classroom</a><br>
<font color="#000000" size="-2">Edited by Frederick M. Hess, Andrew J. Rotherham, and Kate Walsh</font>
</td>

<!-- Publication Spot 4 -->
<td class="publications" valign="top"><a href="http://www.democracyjournal.com/article.php?ID=6535"><img

src="http://www.eduwonk.com/graphics/DemocracyJournal.gif" width="120" height="147"

border="0"><br>America's Teaching Crisis</a><br>
<font color="#000000" size="-2">By Jason Kamras and Andrew J. Rotherham</font>

</td>
</tr>
<tr>

<!-- Publication Spot 5 -->
<td class="publications" valign="top"><a

href="http://www.ppionline.org/ppi_ci.cfm?knlgAreaID=110&subsecID=900030&contentID=3344"><img

src="http://www.eduwonk.com/graphics/SpecialEd_120x147.jpg" width="120" height="147"

border="0"><br>Rethinking Special Education For A New Century</a><br>
<font color="#000000" size="-2">Edited by Chester E. Finn, Jr., Andrew J. Rotherham & Charles R. Hokanson, Jr.</font></td>

<!-- Publication Spot 6 -->
<td class="publications" valign="top"><a

href="http://www.educationsector.org/analysis/analysis_show.htm?doc_id=385844"><img

src="http://www.eduwonk.com/graphics/EXPCutScoresCover.gif" width="120" height="147" border="0"><br>Making The Cut: How States Set Passing Scores on Standardized Tests</a><br>
<font color="#000000" size="-2">By Andrew J. Rotherham</font></td></tr>
<tr>

<!-- Publication Spot 7 -->
<td class="publications" valign="top"><a

href="http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2008/1016_education_mead_rotherham.aspx "><img

src="http://www.eduwonk.com/graphics/MeadRotherhamCover.gif" width="120" height="147" border="0"><br>Changing the Game: The Federal Role in Supporting 21st Century Educational Innovation </a><br>
<font color="#000000" size="-2">By Andrew J. Rotherham and Sara Mead</font></td>

<!-- Publication Spot 8 -->
<td class="publications" valign="top"><a

href=" http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/store_product.asp?prodid=210"><img
src="http://www.eduwonk.com/graphics/TeacherExcellenceCover.gif" width="120" height="180" border="0"><br>Achieving Teacher and Principal Excellence: A Guidebook for Donors
</a><br>
<font color="#000000" size="-2">By Andrew J. Rotherham</font>
</td>
</tr>
</table>
<P>
<ul><li id="linkcat-5" class="linkcat"><h2>Education Blogs</h2>

        <ul class='xoxo blogroll'>
<li><a href="http://americanedreview.blogspot.com/2010/01/teaching-as-leadership-live.html">American Ed Review</a></li>
<li><a href="http://ascd.typepad.com/blog/" target="_blank">ASCD</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.assortedstuff.com/" target="_blank">Assorted Stuff</a></li>
<li><a href="http://teachingquality.typepad.com/building_the_profession/" title="Secondhand NEA smoke?" target="_blank">Barnett Berry</a></li>
<li><a href="http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/" title="And lemme tell you another thing about those punk reform kids today&#8230;" target="_blank">Bridging Differences (Meier and Ravitch)</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.publiccharters.org/media/blog" title="But do they like charter schools?" target="_blank">Charter Blog (NAPCS)</a></li>
<li><a href="http://charterschoolpolicy.org/yes/" target="_blank">Charter School Policy Inst. Blog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://dormont.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Chez Dormont</a></li>

<li><a href="http://thecite.blogspot.com/" title="A blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education">CITE Blog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://athenslearning.org/blog/" target="_blank">College Ready Blog (Athens Learning Group)</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.burkescarbrough.com/" target="_blank">Conversation Starters</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.coreknowledge.org/blog/" title="Bring on the classics! Panic At The Pondiscio holds forth!" target="_blank">Core Knowledge Blog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.erinoconnor.org/" target="_blank">Critical Mass</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/CurrikiBlog/">Curriki</a></li>
<li><a href="http://d-edreckoning.blogspot.com/" title="You&#8217;d better bring evidence " target="_blank">D-EDreckoning</a></li>
<li><a href="http://dcteacherchic.blogspot.com/">D.C. Teacher Chic</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.dangerouslyirrelevant.org/" target="_blank">Dangerously Irrelevant</a></li>

<li><a href="http://www.cobranchi.com/" title="Homie Central" target="_blank">Daryl Cobranchi</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.abcte.org/blog/" target="_blank">Dave Saba (ABCTE)</a></li>
<li><a href="http://daveshearon.typepad.com/" target="_blank">Dave Shearon</a></li>
<li><a href="http://dcedublog.blogspot.com/" title="Education dysfunction central" target="_blank">DC Education Blog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.dfer.org/posts/blog/" title="Should be as redundant as &#8216;Republicans for lower taxes&#8217;, but isn&#8217;t yet" target="_blank">Dems for Education Reform</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.newamerica.net/blog/early_ed_watch" title="Sara Mead tells you what it all means for little kids" target="_blank">Early Ed Watch</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.earlyedcoverage.org/" title="Colvin saves education journalism" target="_blank">Early Stories</a></li>
<li><a href="http://learningmatters.tv/blog/news-desk/" title="Daily education news summaries and links" target="_blank">Ed Beat</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.ediswatching.org/" title="He&#8217;s five and he likes school choice" target="_blank">Ed is Watching</a></li>

<li><a href="http://ed-policy.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Ed Policy Blog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/edbizbuzz/" target="_blank">Edbizbuzz</a></li>
<li><a href="http://blog.centerforpubliceducation.org/?paged=2" title="The Center for Public Education Blog">EDifier</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.varpartners.net/%3fpage_id=101" target="_blank">EdReformer Blog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.edspresso.com/" title="Vouchers yes! Dems no!" target="_blank">Edspresso</a></li>
<li><a href="http://educatedguess.org/blog/" title="The Educated Guess is a forum on education policies in California and Silicon Valley.">Educated Guess</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.educatednation.com/" target="_blank">Educated Nation</a></li>
<li><a href="http://educationnext.org/blog/" title="The Ed Next empire expands to the blogosphere">Education Next Blog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://blog.eduflack.com" title="He wants you to look good!" target="_blank">EduFlack</a></li>

<li><a href="http://eduoptimists.blogspot.com/" title="The blogging Goldricks!" target="_blank">Eduoptimists</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.edwize.org/" title="Teacher union voice!" target="_blank">Edwize (UFT)</a></li>
<li><a href="http://eponymouseducator.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Eponymous Educator</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.essentialblog.org/" title="Authentically good!" target="_blank">Essential Blog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://extracredit.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">Extra Credit</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.edexcellence.net/flypaper/" title="Petrilli &amp; Friends" target="_blank">Flypaper (Fordham)</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.edexcellence.net/fordhamfellows/blog/" title="Young, brash, and prolific!" target="_blank">Fordham Fellows</a></li>
<li><a href="http://thetrenches.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">From The Trenches</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/custom/blogs/education/index.html" target="_blank">Get Schooled (AJC)</a></li>

<li><a href="http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/education/index.html" target="_blank">Get On The Bus (Dayton Daily News)</a></li>
<li><a href="http://gothamschools.org/" title="24 hour-a-day coverage of the vipers&#8217; nest that is education policy in NYC" target="_blank">Gotham Schools</a></li>
<li><a href="http://blogs.greatschools.net/" target="_blank">GreatSchools Blog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.grumpyprofessor.com" target="_blank">Grumpy Professor</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.newamerica.net/programs/education_policy/higher_ed_watch/blog/" target="_blank">Higher Ed Watch</a></li>
<li><a href="http://hipteacher.typepad.com/schoolblog/" target="_blank">Hip Teacher</a></li>
<li><a href="http://ithoughtathink.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">I Thought A Think</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.learningalternatives.net/" target="_blank">IALA</a></li>
<li><a href="http://mspappas.preknow.org/" target="_blank">Inside Pre-K</a></li>

<li><a href="http://insideschools.org/blog/">Inside Schools Blog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.eiaonline.com/intercepts/" title="Education&#8217;s union man" target="_blank">Intercepts</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.ivygateblog.com/" target="_blank">IvyGate</a></li>
<li><a href="http://jaypgreene.com/" title="TV reviews, education commentary, and vouchers for everyone!" target="_blank">Jay Greene</a></li>
<li><a href="http://drcookie.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jenny D.</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.joannejacobs.com/" title="Come for the excerpts, stay for the comments!" target="_blank">Joannejacobs.com</a></li>
<li><a href="http://gwu-kindlingflames.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Kindling Flames</a></li>
<li><a href="http://kitchentablemath.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Kitchen Table Math</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/learning.now/" target="_blank">Learning Now (PBS)</a></li>

<li><a href="http://www.publicschoolinsights.org/" title="The Blob Blogs! But guaranteed at least 75 percent tendentious - or your money back!">LFA &#8211; Public School Insights</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.linkeducation.org/blog" title="Education social networking" target="_blank">LinkEd</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.matthewktabor.com/" title="He&#8217;s pissed and pointed" target="_blank">Mathew K. Tabor</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.pbs.org/teachers/mediainfusion/" target="_blank">Media Infusion</a></li>
<li><a href="http://stsg.wordpress.com/" title="Good luck with that!">Meeting the Turnaround Challenge Blog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://mikerosebooks.blogspot.com/">Mike Rose&#8217;s Blog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.speedofcreativity.org/" target="_blank">Moving At The Speed Of Creativity</a></li>

<li><a href="http://bgenglish.blogspot.com/index.html" target="_blank">Mr. B-G&#8217;s English Blog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://msfrizzle.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">Ms. Frizzle</a></li>
<li><a href="http://education.nationaljournal.com/" title="Eliza Krigman plays ringmaster for a three ring educircus!">National Journal&#039;s Education Blog</a></li>
<li><a href="http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/NCLB-ActII/" target="_blank">NCLB Act II (Ed Week)</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.letsgetitright.org/blog/" title="Now seen mostly on milk cartons" target="_blank">NCLBlog (AFT)</a></li>
<li><a href="http://schoolnerdblog.blogspot.com/" title="She&#8217;s smart, snarky, and teaching! (And she&#8217;s missed!)" target="_blank">Newoldschoolteacher</a></li>
<li><a href="http://boardbuzz.nsba.org/" title="In the first place, NSBA made this blog" target="_blank">NSBA&#8217;s BoardBuzz</a></li>

<li><a href="http://nyceducator.blogspot.com/" title="He fiddles, and burns" target="_blank">NYC Educator</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.usnews.com/papertrail/" target="_blank">Paper Trail (USN)</a></li>
<li><a href="http://parentalcation.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Parentalcation</a></li>

top

Privitization Ideologues

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 5 years ago

First, read my comment, now look around at the other comments.

This is what happened:
* The guv'mint hands over development of this service to private parties.
* Those private parties rip off the guv'mint, it's extremely wasteful.
* People at a public institution (part of the guv'mint) pointed out that this could've been done way cheaper, by the guv'mint without private parties involvement.

  This is what everyone says which gets modded as insightful:
* The guv'mint is wasteful!
* We should let private parties handle stuff instead, they're more efficient.

  You have a large group of people who are so blinded by their "Capitalist" ideology that even events *directly contrary* to their thesis are interpreted as validation of it, instead. This would be like saying that the fall of the Soviet Union proved the soundness of state socialism - which even advocates of state socialism do not say! It's off the end of the crazy spectrum.

top

Hey, pudge!

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Okay, let's briefly review how the whole AIG thing blew up. When fire-breathing right wingers started talking about it, the major news media noticed, and it becamse a real political liability. So getting mention only on dailykos (or elsewhere on "our side") is not sufficient to achieve something here.

  This means there are *two* benefits to having Dems in power - the filthy pachyderms have it together to function as an opposition, at least some of the time. So how do we get them to do it, in this case?

  The Obama administration's sec. of education is Arne Duncan. Eli Broad (a "philanthropist") has been going around bragging about how he now controls the department of education. I have all kinds of left-wing-flavored objections to "public-private partnerships" (including stuff like privatized prisons,) but let's start here: "crooked self dealing" is not popular, so the crooked and corrupt rebranded their policies as public-private partnerships or as venture philanthropy. My Mom goes into it in some detail: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/3/20/710776/-Who-is-Running-Our-Schools

  Republicans have been, historically, as bad or worse than the Dems on this - but I don't care! *I* just want the system cleaned up, I want these scum thrown out. If this means that the Republicans can score political points, fine - better that than tolerating people like Arne Duncan.

  A lot of the more libertarian wing of Republicans, with whom I ordinarily have more in common, like privatization or market-incentive based systems for delivering public services. I think it's crazy for a dozen reasons, but I don't want to get into that: there's pretty well universal agreement that outright corruption, that business and other ties between those who actually get the public money and those in government, are not acceptable. That's what we have here.

  So, do any of my fellow slashdotters have any advice on how to get the right wing blogosphere (pudge specifically for all I care) to notice this as an issue and take it up? The whole thing could be a major embarassment for Obama, which it damn well should be. OTOH, it's a family of policies that Republicans have historically supported, so does this have a chance of changing those? Any way we can add provisions requiring transparency and accountability (not of the teachers, but of the *people who actually get the money*) to the education stimulus?

  I can also discuss the underlying issue of government-services privitization, if anyone wants.

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l'esprit de voltaire

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 5 years ago

WTF am I supposed to do with 15 mod points? I have enough trouble spending 5, chrissakes.

  Anyway, I regard down-modding this as mod-abuse:
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1079987&cid=26322341

  He's expressing a (clearly unpopular) opinion with which I disagree. I'd certainly up-mod the person arguing with him. But is this flamebait because most people disagree with it? He seems sincere to me.

  Later on he could legitimately be called a troll since he starts insulting people.

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Building a new society in the shell of the old

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  about 6 years ago

Assume with me, at least for the moment, that it is possible to build a just society through gradual progressive initiatives, rather than through revolution, and that enough cultural progress has been made that increases in democracy will translate into increases in social justice. Also, let us accept what I'll call the populist democratic thesis - regardless of leadership, even overtly democratic institutions will only function in a democratic way under orchestrated popular pressure.

  Given these assumptions, what should our policy priorities be?

Point 000504: (that's the inverse of 1984) This contrasts notably "worse is better" doctrine promulgated by certain types of revolutionary Trotskyist. In reference to the policies of the Party in 1984, which used general economic strangulation to keep the population quiescent and disorganized. Policies which will increase employment and economic growth, stimulate demand, and generally improve the economic situation of the populace tend to provide ordinary people with the time and energy they need to organize.

Democracy and Education: Republicans generally, and the Bush administration in particular, have orchestrated a major attack on the system of public education. In addition to defending this institution and reversing most of NCLB, we need to reduce class sizes and cycle younger teachers into the system. In addition to the economic benefits, John Dewey (in Democracy and Education) generally held that certain educational practices (diametrically opposed to those promoted by NCLB) can be radicalizing - with younger (and, socially at least, more liberal) teachers, motivated teachers with the resources and training to improve their students welfare, it will be. It's very nice that Obama *talks* about such a program, but: talk is cheap.

The Employee Free Choice Act: Labor unions are a major vehicle for reform, and, especially in the post-Reagan American political realignment, a platform to build longterm, broad based vehicles for coordinated popular action. The Reagan, Bush II (and to an extent, Clinton) administrations gutted union organizer protections in executive ways that will be difficult for Obama to reverse (assuming he even tries to do so - unfortunately not a given.) The employee free choice act would largely circumvent these, and effectively restore the right to form a union in this country. And now a brief plug: my aunt, who is a major supporter of the Employee Free Choice Act, is possibly-about to engage in a series of legal battles with her Republican opponent in US House OH-15. She's down by ~150 votes, but 2 years ago she gained 1,500 votes when the provisional ballots were counted, so when that happens, we expect her to take the lead, but the Repubs are trying to block the secretary of state from counting the ballots. Given that the employee free choice act is going to be a major battle, you should give her some money: http://www.actblue.com/page/kilroycountsvotes

  What are our other progressive priorities?

  We might also discuss Obama himself (who I think is more progressive than some of his rhetoric would indicate - but this doesn't matter) and the means by which activists can best exert pressure on their elected officials to execute a progressive agenda.

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More mod system abuse

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 6 years ago

So, once again, some right-winger has modded down one of my posts at the last second. At least it wasn't "overrated" this time.

  Those with a desire to slavishly serve the powerful are intrinsically dishonest - they can't help but game the system as hard as they can, it's simply an expression of their nature.

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Help my aunt googlebomb here wingnut opponent

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Steve Stivers

  In case this isn't obvious, I'd like the gag page to have a higher pagerank in response to a search for "Steve Stivers" than his actual homepage.

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Larry Wall and you are both dreams

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Firstly, let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the entire observable universe - you, me, this dinner party - is, indeed a simulation.

  It's probably true that this dinner party has been run through in its entirety, at least once. So in the sense that things inside the simulation are real - this dinner party is probably real.

  However, it's also probably true that whoever is running the simulation is going to choose interesting segments, and run them over and over again with slightly different parameters.

  The total simulation time of these small repeats probably greatly outweighs the simulation time of the entire age of the universe.

  So, while it's true that this dinner party is probably real, in each particular moment that we occupy, we are vastly more likely to be in some instantaneous slice of simulation - disconnected, in a sense, from everything that may have happened before or since - than in a continuous run that includes the entire dinner party.

  So the Buddha is probably right, most of the time. The only thing that exists is the now.

  If we assume that all of this is true, this also helps to explain why it is so difficult to reconcile relativity and quantum mechanics.

  Relativity is a pretty straightforward simplifying assumption on large distance scales - if I want to simulate what happens in this room for the next 45 seconds, my simulation only needs to include a sphere, 90 light-seconds across, centered on the room. The simulation can shrink as it runs.

  Likewise, quantum mechanics is a simplifying assumption on small distance scales.

  If we assume that quantum mechanics are relativity are both kludges, tacked on at the last minute to save CPU cycles, maybe coded by different people looking at the problem from opposite ends, it makes sense that they don't reconcile cleanly or easily.

  Given that it's such a dirty hack, the universe probably was written in perl.

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Meme? Meme! MEME!

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Post a comment to this thread, and I will:

1. Tell you why I befriended you.
2. Associate you with something - fandom, a song, a color, a photo, etc..
3. Tell you something I like about you.
4. Tell you a memory I have of you.
5. Ask something I've always wanted to know about you.
6. Tell you my favorite user pic of yours.
7. In return, you must post this in your Journal/Blag/whatever.

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Education, Differences between Repubs and Dems

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 6 years ago

More NCLB-related musings.

  Venture philanthropy: you use your philaonthrophic foundation (like the Gates foundation) to "leverage" your donations in order to pursue your policy goals.

  To run this at a direct profit - you donate $30 mil to a philanthrophy (which you run), and then you get the state to "match" your donation, and then you get the philanothropy to spend the $60 mil buying services form a company which you have set up to provide them. There are all kinds of ways to use this kind of leverage to further your policy goals (directing policy towards "market based" solutions), but this is the most egregious.

  Not only is the Emperor naked - he has invested in the invisible cloth manufacturing concern, and when some kid says "why is that man naked?" they hold him back for a year and he drops out of school instead of graduating.

  Getting back to the difference between the Dems and Republicans: if you study the training offerings which the current crop of educational services have for science education, there is very clearly nothing there. There are warehouses and warehouses all over Texas (also CA and MA) full of invisible cloth that these hucksters want to sell.

  These are all programs that were envisaged and flourished under the administrations of Republican governors.

  The Democrats are also willing and eager to use venture philanthropy as an ideological tool to sell off the country at firehouse-sale rates. But they, at least, are competent enough to produce some kind of useable educational services out of it.

  It's Iraq and Katrina writ large - the Dems have constiuents such that they have some concern over maintaining a functioning society. The Republicans have no such interest - there's no substance at all to their proposals, just the graft.

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NCLB and Education Hucksters in Science

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Firstly, as background, a 2004 report from the Boston Phoenix on policies to push minority kids out of the high schools. My mother is a chemistry teacher in a low income district in MA. This is a variant on a letter that she's been circulating among colleagues and potential political allies; I thought my fellow slashdotters might be interested, since MIT is the hero of the piece, and Harvard Business School is the villain.

"Educational Entrepreneurship" is an enormously powerful nation-wide effort to sub-contract educational administration, curriculum, and professional development services in low-income public school districts to private for-profit partners, after districts are taken over under NCLB. Mass Insight is a leader in this drive, and you can view its proposal to coordinate the takeover process for its partners in a report on its website. They are explicit, in their report, that their eventual target is to take over the entire public education system and run it, free of "bureaucratic interference."

  Another powerful player is New Schools Venture Fund, which has just added former Mass. Education Board chairman Jim Peyser to its partners; The Gates Foundation is a backer, and the Harvard Business School now offers MBA classes in
Educational Entrepreneurship.

  The eventual for-profit providers of services are located under several layers of interlocking "advocacy" organizations, with a conscious strategy of leveraging investment of public and private money to promote the takeover. Texas, Massachusetts, and California are epicenters of the project, where Republican governors have built Education Boards dominated by adherents. An example of a "partner" might be K-12 Inc, which went public last week with a stock offering that raised $108 million, according to the current issue of Education Week.

  The rationale for forcing public schools to consume these private services is that the services are "research-based" and have proven their effectiveness. A problem is that the research is often biased or distorted by researchers with hidden agendas. In many cases, especially in Texas, it was fabricated outright [she means Reading First]. Most activity has been in math and reading, since those are the high-stakes targets of NCLB. But as concern has risen over the condition of science instruction, vast amounts of money have been appropriated to improve it, and entrepreneurial attention has now focused on science education.

  As you may know [remember this was originally sent to other teachers], the federal "What Works" clearinghouse has failed to recommend very many marketed educational programs as showing "research-based" effectiveness.

  In the current effort to create a follow-up reading commission to get approval for more programs, many public-interest advocacy groups function as lobbyists for partner programs.

  A favorite way to profiteer as well as to consolidate control is to force dumbed-down, "standards based," for-profit professional development programs on teachers in urban districts. Texas is exporting these. I am convinced the only way to save my students or science teaching is to bring the whole monster down.

  If anything, the forced drop-out situation is worse now [compared to the background article before the blockquote] because of the structure of the AYP requirements under the NCLB law. With the requirement that every school's test scores continually increase toward 240 ("proficiency"), even a kid who would pass the test and graduate from high school is a score suppressor. My students have cried when they came to me to turn in their chemistry text and be signed out to Alternative Ed; then they disappeared from my roster and the school system, and didn't even get counted as dropouts somehow. We have been putting our little girls out onto the street with less than a 10th grade education to leverage our MCAS scores. Our graduation rate hovers in the 50-60% range, but we report 0%-5% dropout rates. I promise you I have been fighting it with all my heart every day, and the only reason I still have a job is teacher tenure.

  It may change this year (or not), because our Alternative Ed has been "taken over" by the same Board of Education and private education reform consultants who have been showering my district with awards for our supposedly rising test scores. [This may make it harder to use the alternative Ed to disappear students] If we do succeed in increasing the number of 10th graders who make it through to the test in my school, the MCAS average will undoubtedly fall. So, who is circling over our heads waiting to pick off the urban schools when NCLB finally brings them down? What is Education Reform? Briefly, it is a for-profit "solution" to the problems Ed Reform consultants cause, while they dominate school boards under cover of "non-profit" advocacy groups (with their hidden for-profit partners). Here is an example.

  Nobody can seem to take an aim at the real enemy, who hide behind a dizzy profusion of glossy websites linked to "social capital" and "venture philanthropy" at one end and "market strategy" and profits at the other. They are all over the Education Departments, "leveraging" this and "leveraging" that. The flow of corporate venture philanthropy to its ideological partners becomes an overwhelming tool to shape opinion and policy.

  I think I've found a way to get some traction against the real perpetrators of these outrageous and cowardly education policies: We can demand transparency and accountability. We do have some allies - Deval Patrick has appointed Ruth Kaplan to the Board of Education in my own state, and there is an organization of scientists centered at MIT who have not been and cannot be bought off or scared away. You can meet them through the Parents Care website.

  Exxon has given a $250 million "gift" to improve AP science instruction (the NSMI), and it is being distributed to leverage the take-over of public school science by hucksters. The FAQ for applicants for funding, on the NSMI website, includes the question,
what if there is no suitable non-profit recipient? The answers include the information that a for-profit can only be a cooperating partner, and MUST CREATE a non-profit entity to receive the funds. Demonstrating your political connections in your own state, especially with the governor's office, will also help your application. You will even find helpful links to create your own tax-exempt non-profit.

  We have to reframe the "accountability" debate, and get terms like huckster and for-profit and leveraged take-over out into public consciousness. Is it possible that internet savvy people could discover the identity of for-profit entities currently awarded contracts by their own state and local school boards? The kick back schemes by Reading First never would have been investigated unless competitors complained. Can somebody please advocate for the actual children? Low-income districts with low graduation rates are crucially vulnerable. The data base from the 2007 Gates Foundation Diplomas Count report will help you find them in your state.

  My alarm goes off at 5:30 every morning. I dress professionally, and go into a low-income public school building and teach chemistry all day until, frankly, I can barely stand up. Somebody else needs to expose the Board of Education. Maybe you could help, or maybe you know somebody who wants to.

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Robert Fisk Retires

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Robert Fisk, the outstanding middle-east correspondent for the London Independent has announced that he will retire. A loss for journalism, a loss for human rights advocates, a loss for the world, he will be missed. Slashdotters may know him best for being the origin of the term "fisking" - the practice common on usenet and in forums where a piece of text is broken into little bits and disparaged, commonly characterized by a complete failure to grasp the overall content. He doesn't think he's done any good: I am among those who would disagree - we don't know how much worse it could have been.

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Case studies in Hypocrisy

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Very nicely put.

Intriguing and worth reading.

  David F. Noble, by the way, is the genuine article. He is also a bit nuts.

  Nonetheless, he's an outstanding scholar, very careful and insightful, with genuinely unique ideas (some of which I think are harebrained, but that's an unavoidable consequence of the capcaity for original thought), and probably one of the most dilligent and careful researchers in recent history.

  The case of his tenure at MIT is particularly relevant, because it was denied under rather similar circumstances to those currently surrounding Norman Finkelstein. David won some kind of judgement against MIT (it was a procedural thing, though, obviously the court couldn't rule on the substance of his tenure denial, or lack thereof), which is unlikely to happen in Norman's case, but Norman is hardly the only US scholar to be punished for the excellent quality of his scholarship.

  Anyone who is interested in fixing this country would do well to understand what is wrong with it - Forces of Production: A worker's history of industrial automation - is a must-read for anyone who is serious about fixing this country.

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Censorship in private media

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Firstly, to clarify my original point: I don't think their natural rights were necessarily violated. HOWEVER, it is definitely *a free speech issue* that must be considered, and carefully considered. A blanket statement that free speech is never an issue in commercial media is completely unjustified.

  Shows are cancelled all the time:

  If they are cancelled because they do not have an audience, that is legitimate.

  If they are cancelled because of pressure from advertizers, that is censorship. Thus, Don Imus was censored.

  Let us start from basic principles.

  You have a natural right to communicate with your fellow citizens to the limit of technological and economic feasability, in a market of ideas. If the government artificially raises (or lowers, through subsidy) the cost of such communications, those who benefit from those restrictions or subsidies are answerable to the public interest.

  The FCC officially recognizes this, although their enforcement is a pathetic joke thanks to the lobbying power of the corporate media.

  This is not a socialist statement: you have the right to participate equally in the marketplace of ideas, which is a market (market market market), from those who produce content, to their audiences (market!). MARKET! If the government meddles in this market in such a way that equal participation becomes impossible, that is a violation of our natural rights. Recall that a true market must have an effectively infinite number of participants, with a low barrier of entry or new participants.

  The fact that 90% of supposed free market liberals do not seem to believe this reveals the depths of cynicism to which they have sunk - to an adherent of liberal philosophy, the above statement should not be (MARKET!) controversial.

  Why does XM radio exist? *Completely distinct* from the government charter of the institution itself, you have a government charter for the entire business model - they couldn't stay in business if the government didn't actively prevent other people from decoding the incoming satellite signals without paying some kind of government imposed fee.

  Another basic assertion that should not be non-controversial to liberals: government licenses and privileges (including every kind of intellectual property) is *not* property, and no property rights attach to the person who owns it. If you get a government license of any sort, it is supposed to be in the public interest, and you do *not* have a *natural right* to do whatever you want with the associated government privileges.

  The same is far more true for terrestrial radio, which doesn't just depend on a copyrighted (or whatever) decoding key, but on the government actively intervening to prevent ordinary citizens from setting up "pirate" radio systems, even in unlicensed spectra.

  This is in *no sense* a requirement of the underlying technology - when I was a teenager in California I helped put together pirate radio stations.

  I think that covers all relevant responses to my original post.

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Chuck Hagel - Photoshop

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Two unrelated topics (seemingly...)

  Am I the only person who thinks this news photo looks photoshopped?
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/05/14/world/14cnd_mideast-600.jpg

  On the republican candidates (semi-serious contenders only, at least for VP, which is why I'm not mentioning Ron Paul):
In general, the differences between the Republican candidates are far wider than the ones between the leading dems. Mainly, this is because the dems are not seriously considering running anyone other than a centrist. The same cannot be said for the Republicans. Sorted in increasing order of reprehensibility.

Chuck Hagel - Was the only one of them I could've tolerated. Ah well: http://www.ktvu.com/politics/13314504/detail.html

  If he runs as an independent it'll probably be a 50:50 spoiler (like Ross Perot), but I think is more likely to help dems than to hurt them - even if merely be changing the emphasis of the discourse. Which might very well be his plan. He'd be about as bad as Eisenhower and, on reflection, we could do worse. Specifically, we could have any of these other people.

Mike Huckabee - Is *almost* tolerable. He's plenty socially conservative - he's not a firebrand, but that is not his problem. He's not rapacious enough for the powerful and under-discussed "corrupt cigar-chomping businessman" wing of the party, which is immensely powerful. Also, he seems decent and genuine rather than sleazy and republicans don't trust people like that. Since I don't think the President really has much influence over social policy, an *actually christian* conservative wouldn't be so bad.

Rudy Giuliani - Is not nearly as strong in the general election as people seem to think, but in any case, he won't be nominated - that's pretty clear at this point. It's very nice that he doesn't want to put all the homosexuals in camps, but the president has very little power to enforce a social agenda anyway. A civil liberties agenda is a different matter - and Rudy has an *awful* record on civil liberties as mayor of New York. As a rule, I don't regard gun control as a civil liberties issue - but for Rudy, it is: he wants to take away your guns so we can have a police state. He'd be about as bad as Bush Sr. The following people would be worse.

John McCain - I'll grant that he does have some degree of human decency - the fact that this draws so much attention says something about our lackluster political environment, rather than anything good about McCain. The latest round of ass-kissing to the extreme right is shameful, but hey, you can tell he's ashamed of it. But that's a problem: the religious right wants someone like Romney, who can kiss their asses and feel no remorse. McCain would make a terrible president because he's a fool - which is not the same as being stupid - but anyway he won't win the nomination.

Fred Thompson and Sam Brownback - Are quite reactionary, in a classical sense. They'd be about as bad as Reagan. The following people would be worse.

Mitt Romney - Is a scum-bag (my family lives in Mass), with poor demographics, an embarassingly inconsistent record, and negative charisma. I hope the Repubs nominate him because he doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell. Yes, I'm serious, this guy is worse than Sam Brownback.

Newt Gingrich - *Is* a serious contender - not because anyone would vote for him, but because he might come out as a compromise candidate from a tied convention (to face Gore, nominated the same way). He'd be about as bad as Nixon, but it's a moot point, because here's the plan:
  * Republicans nominate Gingrich.
  * Democrats nominate Ficus.
  * Ficus wins in a landslide.
  * We give up and go home, switching over to a parliamentary proportional system.

Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter - Would be worse than Nixon. If there were any republicans to the right of these guys, I'd say they'd be worse than Hitler. These guys are serious contenders for VP, because of their ability to mobilize the base, especially for a candidate weak on ultra-right-wing credentials.

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I hereby endorse: John Edwards

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Firstly, tactical considerations.
  Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton could either of them win, it's true (especially if the Pachyderms nominate Romney or someone equally unappealing.) However, to nominate either is an unacceptable risk, Obama because he's black and Hillary because no-one likes her. We *must* get the Republicans out of the white house; any risk of failure is too high.
  Edwards is likable. It doesn't even matter if he isn't qualified, or if he's a pretty boy (which people actually like), or a trial lawyer (focus group results: no one cares), or any of his other supposed weaknesses.
  The Republicans would inevitably *attempt* to attack him for running in spite of his wife's cancer. Even knowing that it's a huge tactical mistake, they would still do it. It'd backfire spectacularly.
  Nothing but upsides to this guy.

  For my money, Obama would make a devastatingly good running mate. All those closet rascists would *love* to see an affable, empathetic white southerner with a black sidekick. They'd be frickin' thrilled.

  Secondly, policy considerations.
  Okay, the state of American politics is so bad that most people don't even *know* the policy differences (such as they are) between the main candidates. They don't amount to much.
  However, among those who have a chance of being nominated (so not Gravel or Kucinich) Edwards has made the best policy statements. Obama is one of those people who seldom *says* much of anything, and Hillary is to the right of her husband, who was practically a Republican, on the bread-and-butter issues I care about.

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Anarcho-Syndicalism

sam_handelman sam_handelman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

A business - including especially a joint stock corporation - is nothing but a small government. In the case of a joint stock corporation, this is literally true - they are created with a constitution by a writ of one or another "real" government.

  Some forms of anarchist thinking maintain that such institutions should be demolished entirely. This is not the position of anarcho-syndicalist thinkers, which is:

  * Any institution, if it controls resources or wields power of any kind, is a form of government.
  * The restrictions which liberal thinking places on governments should be applied to all such institutions.
  * If their existence cannot be justified, they should be demolished.
  * If their existence can be justified, they should be democratic in nature, and be forced to respect fundamental human rights.
      - Stockholders in General Motors have no more right to make decisions for General Motors than someone who holds a US Treasury Note has a right to make public policy.
      - This does not involve the abrogation of private property (which is generally recognized as a natural right), but there is no concept of stock. You can own a physical object, but not an institution (or an idea, for that matter.)
      - The institution cannot fire you because the governance of that istitution (even if properly democratic) does not like you or does not like what you say. Any punitive action against an employee must be justified.
  * The material interests of the community are a justification. Therefore, it is legitimate for institutions to engage in economic activity (provided that the gain in efficiency is great enough to justify the inevitable loss of some personal freedom, which is a judgement call), and to provide for community needs which require the coordinated action of multiple people.

  The other key philosophical assertion of anarcho-syndicalism is that it is consonant with the inherent moral nature of human beings; it is intended to be a codification of the better aspects of human nature, and derived from (rather than imposing itself on), that nature.

  Anarcho-syndicalism is generally a gradualist form of anarchism, rather than a revolutionary one. Actions which elevate the power of individuals, which weaken illegitimate institutions, which force existing institutions to respond to the public will (becoming more democratic, even if not formally so) or which strengthen individual rights are seen as steps towards achieving a just society within existing frameworks.

  The key differences between anarcho-syndicalism and anarcho-capitalism are:
* Anarcho-capitalist notions are cynically exploited by the wealthy to pursue their own agenda. 90% of articulate anarcho-capitalists in the media (e.g. the Economist) are frauds, being neither anarchists nor capitalists, being advocates of corporate power, which amounts to a return to feudalism and private government.

* Anarcho-syndicalism views taxation for purposes of providing social services as legitimate, provided that justification can be met, which in the case of social services it generally can. It should be noted that, even in the United States, a majority of the population agrees (supports socialized medicine, for example.)

* Anarcho-syndicalism does not recognize property rights in so far as they attach to ideas or institutions. Anarcho-syndicalism does not ascribe natural rights to institutions. It should be noted that some anarcho-capitalists share these ideas, but not the 90% of articulate anarcho-capitalists who are cynical liars.

* Individuals have a natural right to a stake in, and to control of, their own productive output, which must be balanced against, and generally trumps, any property rights invested in capital goods.

* Anarcho-syndicalism views wage labor, as it exists today, as little better than slavery.

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