What you missed on Sunday Kos ...
It?s college football season, and here in South Carolina, that?s a pretty big deal.
Our teams have had some great years and some not-so-great years, but regardless of which team you?re pulling for, you know one thing: you want your team to be successful.
And in our state, if our teams are not living up to their potential, we look to make a change at the top.
We settle for nothing but positive results from our football teams, but we?ve been letting our politicians get away with leading our state to the bottom of the rankings, all the while making ridiculous headlines that embarrass us all.
I believe our state's leaders are not living up to our expectations and it?s time we do something about it.
If the coaching staff of one of our football teams had the kind of win-loss record our elected leaders in Columbia have amassed, they?d be out of a job, but as it is, we are being asked to elect more of the same.
Today, I?m launching a petition on my website, CooperForSC.com, where you can join me in saying that the people who run this state should be held to at least the same standards that football coaches are. [click here to sign the petition]
A new season for South Carolina can begin on November 2, and it?s coming up quick.
You have two choices: You can vote for more of the same and sit back for the next four years and watch the same old plays being called that have sent us plummeting to the bottom of the standings, or you can get in the game and help change the playbook.
So please, sign the petition, share it on Facebook and Twitter, and ask your friends to do the same.
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Nicholas Kristoff has written a very nice column this week in the Times. He takes the theme of journalistic balance and twists it like a pretzel to show its ugly side. I can only quote part, so I'll do the Muslim?Christian opening. But do click through; his cleverness and insight will delight.
Many Americans have suggested that more moderate Muslims should stand up to extremists, speak out for tolerance, and apologize for sins committed by their brethren.He then goes on to tell about his interaction with the editor of the the story of the Portland (Maine) Press Herald. Seems they published a "good Muslim" story on the front page, and all hell broke loose (so to speak); oops, the date was last Sept 11. Balance; gotta add more balance.
That?s reasonable advice, and as a moderate myself, I?m going to take it. (Throat clearing.) I hereby apologize to Muslims for the wave of bigotry and simple nuttiness that has lately been directed at you. The venom on the airwaves, equating Muslims with terrorists, should embarrass us more than you. Muslims are one of the last minorities in the United States that it is still possible to demean openly, and I apologize for the slurs.
I?m sickened when I hear such gentle souls lumped in with Qaeda terrorists, and when I hear the faith they hold sacred excoriated and mocked. To them and to others smeared, I apologize.As should we all, sir. Thank you.
After the 2010 Census is finished, will you know where your district went? That's the question posed by Jeff Reichert in Gerrymandering, a movie which should be shown in every civics and American history class in the US.According to the Constitution: [...]
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"I don't know whether to vote for Fenty or Gray," a D.C. friend confided to me last week.
"Which candidate is backed by the white progressives?" I said.
"Then vote for Gray."
I told him that contrary to what he'd heard, Michelle Rhee wasn't the savior of D.C. schools and it was nothing more than the corporatization of public education. ("If you don't trust Bill Gates to sell you an operating system, why would you trust him to sell you an education system?" is my motto.)
Now that I've read this piece about "Waiting for Superman," the documentary that has the privileged classes all in an admiring tizzy (Arianna is already pushing it, along with the rest of the usual wealthy, high-powered suspects), I'm even more convinced I was right about Michelle Rhee.
The problems in our class system are systemic, going far beyond access to the "right" schools. You can't rationally hold teachers "accountable" for whether they have more students without heat or food than the teacher in the next classroom. You can't lay off experienced inner-city teachers and replace them with shiny Ivy League "Teach for America" recruits who are only passing through, gathering a hip credential on their way to a better job.
While this film may excite liberals whose kids will never see the inside of an inner-city public school (unless Mommy or Daddy brings them along while they're filming documentaries like this), the parents whose kids are in those schools are rightfully wary of Great White Saviors -- as well they should be.
Think about our past experiences with privatization. What are the odds that Superman really exists in the form of a corporate charter schools operator?
Of course, the true believers in Superguy (as charter operator) will argue vehemently that the finding that charters, on average, are average does not shake their belief? because the ?upper half of charter schools is really good!, better than average, in fact!? Skeptically, I respond ? isn?t the upper half of all schools better than average? If so, might Superguy actually be found in any school that?s better than average? But who am I to nitpick?
The most compelling evidence that Superguy exists was provided in Caroline Hoxby?s finding regarding NYC charter schools that:
On average, a student who attended a charter school for all of grades kindergarten through eight would close about 86 percent of the ?Scarsdale-Harlem achievement gap? in math and 66 percent of the achievement gap in English.
Who other than Superguy could close the Harlem-Scarsdale gap? However, Stanford University researcher Sean Reardon explains:
Because the report relies on an inappropriate set of statistical models to analyze the data, however, the results presented appear to overstate the cumulative effect of attending a charter school.
Superguy in Gotham is also assumed to have competitive effects, lifting entire neighborhoods wherever he may be present. This evidence is often cited to Marcus Winters? (Manhattan Institute) finding that:
The analysis reveals that students benefit academically when their public school is exposed to competition from a charter.
But thwarting this Superguy sighting is Wellesley economist Patrick McEwan?s observation that:
The statistical analysis suggests that increasing competition has no statistically significant impact on math test scores, but that it has small positive effects on language scores. The report does not conclusively demonstrate that the results are explained by increasing competitive pressure on public school administrators; they may also be explained by shifting peer quality or declining short-run class sizes in public schools.
Yes, public schools have big problems. Selling them off to unregulated private bidders will only make things worse.
Gallup's latest national poll of registered voters, hot off the press:
Generic Ballot Virtually Tied: Democrats 46%, Republicans 45%
PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup's generic ballot for Congress for the week of Sept. 13-19 shows a 46% Democratic and 45% Republican split in registered voters' preferences for the midterm congressional elections. It is the second week out of the last three in which the two parties have been virtually tied.
Gallup's been all over the map this cycle and this is not a poll of likely voters, so don't start preparing a victory parade just yet. However, according to their own numbers, in August the GOP had a six point advantage in interviews conducted with 7,025 respondents. So far in September, that advantage has shrunk to one point based on 5,625 surveys.
Although these numbers are by no means the final word, they offer at least some sign that Democratic fortunes may be improving. The timing actually makes sense given that President Obama kicked off the campaign on Labor Day and the GOP has been on defensive over their opposition to his tax cut plan. And don't forget that the GOP has marched off the edge of the cliff with the nomination of Christine O'Donnell in Delaware and Joe Miller in Alaska.
Gallup isn't alone in showing a narrowing generic: since August, Pollster.com shows a dramatically narrowing GOP lead (and it's even closer if you exclude Rasmussen). At the very least, these numbers should remind Dems (particularly those in Congress who want to punt on the tax cut issue) that they shouldn't give up now. We may not be favorites, but we're still in the game.
GMAC, the struggling financing arm of General Motors, whose mortgage arm holds $26 billion of mortgages, just suspended foreclosures in 23 states in a harried, chaotic policy shift. The only thing I can think of to elicit that kind of reaction is the[...]
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Wisconsin District Attorney Kenneth Kratz, who sent sexually suggestive text messages to a domestic abuse victim whose ex-boyfriend he was prosecuting, has been accused of inappropriate behavior with another woman, according to a letter made public today by Gov. Jim Doyle's office.
According to The Wisconsin State-Journal, the letter was written by a woman who once allegedly went on a date with Kratz, and said that he "even went so far as to inviting me to go with him to the autopsy (provided I would be his girlfriend and would wear high heels and a skirt)."
The woman, who said she met Kratz on Match.com, said at first she was "hesitant" to go on a date with him because "he had written some things that were inappropriate to say to someone at that stage of communicating."
She added that Kratz also sent her a number of text messages following their date:
If I didn't answer his texts immediately, he would become insecure and question why I hadn't responded and would attack me or my character," she wrote. "He would remind me of who he was, how he had prosecuted the biggest case around here and what a 'prize' he was.
As we reported, Kratz admitted to sending domestic abuse victim Stephanie Van Groll text messages in an attempt to strike up an affair with her, while he was handling her case. One of the text messages said: "Im serious! Im the atty. I have the $350,000 house. I have the 6-figure career. You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but I am the prize! Start convincing."
According to a case report by the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation obtained by TPM, Kratz also initially considered a lesser charge in Van Groll's domestic abuse case. In October 2009, the report says, Van Groll met with Kratz to discuss her case, and "she thought it was funny that Kratz asked her if she would mind if he dropped the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. Van Groll then stated that she told Kratz that strangling someone was a felony in the State of Wisconsin."
The Associated Press reports that Van Groll's attorney said Van Groll "was frightened that, to the extent she didn't at least be civil to this district attorney, that charge might be lessened and her greatest fear was that it would be dropped altogether. Whether intended or not, it amplifies the harmful nature of the statements he made to her."
Gov. Doyle gave a press conference today, in which he said he would take steps to remove Kratz from office. Doyle said he found reports of Kratz's actions "deeply, deeply troubling."
Kratz has said he will not step down, though earlier today he announced that he will take indefinite medical leave from his position.
Dick Armey: "Social Security is a pay-as-you-go Ponzi scheme." Ponzi scheme - United States - Social Security - Politics - Government[...]
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