Senate group resolves key issues on immigration reform: lawmakers

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-03-2013-05-2008

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A man holds a U.S. flag while receiving his proof of U.S. citizenship during a ceremony in San FranciscoBy Thomas Ferraro and Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With business and labor now in agreement, a bipartisan group of senators has resolved all major issues in a pending deal to overhaul the immigration system and aims to unveil it after Congress reconvenes in the second week of April, key lawmakers said on Sunday. The lawmakers said that while there was no final deal yet, they hope and even expect there to be one soon after the measure is put into legislative language so all eight senators in the group can review it. The U.S. …

North Carolina Republicans plan to deregulate charter schools and force them on local communities

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-03-2013-05-2008

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Rotten apple

Charter schools would be given free rein if a proposal from Republicans in North Carolina’s state Senate is passed. Under the plan, oversight of charters would be taken from the state’s board of education and given to a charter school board with nine of 11 voting members appointed by the governor and legislative leaders and with nothing in the law to prevent members of the new board from having conflicts of interest. And that’s not all:

The charters would no longer be required to assure that at least half the teachers are certified.

Charter schools would no longer be required by law to conduct criminal background checks of their staff.

Local control would also be slashed, with, for instance, local school boards required to rent buildings to charter schools for just $1 a year unless they could show that they absolutely didn’t have the space or couldn’t afford to make the lease. Requirements on charter schools to reflect the racial and ethnic composition of the local population would be weakened, and since the charters don’t provide transportation to school, many low-income students would also be effectively excluded.

It’s the charter school double standard raised to new heights, and, as Diane Ravitch points out, it has a whiff of ALEC model legislation to it. This isn’t even the end game, either. Loosening requirements on charter schools, requiring local communities to allow and even lease to charters whether they want to or not, putting political appointees in charge of the spread of charters without regard to conflicts of interest—it’s simultaneously a massive change and just one step on the road to the ultimate corporate education policy movement goal of total privatization of public education.

The NRA to America: Hey, we’re not crazy, YOU are!

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-03-2013-05-2008

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The NRA is outraged—and apparently shocked to learn that you can, in fact, walk and chew gum at the same time:

The economy is weak, national debt is mounting, too many Americans are out of work, but Obama campaigns against #guns to please the fringe
— @NRA via web

And now, the fringe:

A March 7 poll of voters nationwide by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack)
University shows 88 – 10 percent support for universal background checks, including 85 – 13 percent among gun owners.

Are you pleased yet? If not, contact your senators and tell them to pass universal background checks.

Senate group resolves key issues on immigration reform: lawmakers

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-03-2013-05-2008

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US Senators hold news conference after tour of Arizona-Mexico border in NogalesBy Thomas Ferraro and Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With U.S. business and labor now in agreement, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators has resolved all major issues in a pending deal to overhaul the U.S. immigration system and aims to unveil it after Congress reconvenes in the second week of April, key lawmakers said on Sunday. The lawmakers said that while there was no final deal yet, they hope and even expect there to be one soon after the measure is put into legislative language so all eight senators in the bipartisan group can review it. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest …

On Anthony Lewis

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-03-2013-05-2008

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Anthony Lewis

Last Monday, Anthony Lewis, the great New York Times reporter and columnist, passed away at the age of 85. For those of us of a certain age, it marked the remembrance of an era—an era when our media elite were truly elite. A time when the thoughts and writings of public intellectuals were insightful, persuasive, important.

For the younger amongst us, you may not understand what Anthony Lewis meant to so many of us. The obituary in the New York Times does Lewis justice, but, for me at least, fails to capture the significance of his work in his time.

When I was a young man, reading Anthony Lewis changed me. It made me think about things in an entirely different way. Reading Anthony Lewis made me aware of the humanity behind the issues.

On the other side, more on Anthony Lewis.

Obama Family Attends Easter Service at St. John’s

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-03-2013-05-2008

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Obama Family Attends Easter Service at St. John'sWASHINGTON — Dressed in their Easter Sunday best, President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, Malia and Sasha, attended an Easter service today at St. John’s Episcopal Church. The first family made the short walk from the White House across Lafayette Park to…

Cory Booker Jokes Mayor Job Drove Him to Drink – Coffee That Is

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-03-2013-05-2008

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Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker answered viewer questions from Facebook and Twitter for an ABC News’ web exclusive before joining the This Week roundtable on Sunday.  After Booker discussed his future Senate plans, his time as Newark mayor, and his Twitter routine, he admitted…

Obama, family attend Easter services near the White House

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-03-2013-05-2008

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U.S. President Obama waves as he walks with first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters after attending Easter service at St. John's Episcopal Church in WashingtonWASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and his family walked to church on Sunday for Easter services across from the White House. Wishing "Happy Easter" to onlookers, Obama, his wife Michelle, and their daughters Malia and Sasha, strolled through a park to St. John's Church, where they have attended services before. Their presence at the nearby Episcopal church had not been announced in advance, and the minister, Rev. Dr. Luis Leon, admonished some gawking and picture-taking churchgoers during the service to return to their seats. …

Midday open thread

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-03-2013-05-2008

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  • Keep an eye on this:

    It is normal for the ice to crack and for leads to occur. However, this is very extensive cracking and there are some very big leads, and all of it seems to come earlier than expected. Given last year’s melting mayhem and the low amount of multi-year ice, it makes one wonder whether this early cracking will have any effect in the melting season to come.

    There are still several weeks to go before this part of the Arctic is going to start melting, up till then the ice will actually thicken some more, even when the Sun’s rays start to reach the ice. But the ice is already getting broken up in smaller pieces, which means that 1) the pack becomes more mobile (like we saw last year), and 2) the thin ice that now grows to fill up the leads, will go first when the melting starts, potentially leading to more open water between floes to absorb solar energy and convert it to heat.

    But maybe not. Maybe this will have zero influence. We don’t know. That’s why we watch.

    And here is a visual:

  • Brilliant:

    So, let’s recap. North Korea parades six missiles though Kim Il Sung Square and then sends them out to South Hamgyong Province or some other barren piece of North Korean real estate. We commit to a $1 billion dollar decision to add 14 interceptors that totally solve the problem, provided the North Koreans don’t build nine instead of six ICBMs. By the way, the new interceptors won’t be ready until 2017, but we’re hoping to have a successful flight test at some point during the wait.

  • Another big lie by the small minded climate change deniers is easily debunked: Jeff Masters of Weather Underground explains that anthropogenic global warming is not slowing down.
  • A helpful compilation of all the good reasons why we need the Keystone XL pipeline to be approved. Among my favorites:
    • Because it will encourage and give a green light to other countries who want to exploit their own deposits of more greenhouse intensive fossil fuels.
    • Because it will support the globe’s dependency on gasoline for its automobile fleets.
    • Because it will make oil companies richer and more powerful.
    • Because it will make it more difficult to resist the current oil based economic system.
  • This makes one wonder about the quality of education of policy-makers:

    States have cut their support for public colleges and universities – deeply, in some cases – and schools have raised tuition as a result. They’ve also dropped classes, eliminated faculty and reduced other services to compensate.

    For high school seniors nervously waiting for admissions decisions this spring from public colleges and universities, the recession’s impact might mean fewer acceptances, in some cases, and higher costs for many who do get in, according to a study on the impact of state education cuts by the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

  • Fox “news”
  • Rabbi Herschel Schacter has died:

    It was April 11, 1945, and Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army had liberated the concentration camp scarcely an hour before. Rabbi Schacter, who was attached to the Third Army’s VIII Corps, was the first Jewish chaplain to enter in its wake.

    That morning, after learning that Patton’s forward tanks had arrived at the camp, Rabbi Schacter, who died in the Riverdale section of the Bronx on Thursday at 95 after a career as one of the most prominent Modern Orthodox rabbis in the United States, commandeered a jeep and driver. He left headquarters and sped toward Buchenwald.

    By late afternoon, when the rabbi drove through the gates, Allied tanks had breached the camp. He remembered, he later said, the sting of smoke in his eyes, the smell of burning flesh and the hundreds of bodies strewn everywhere.

    He would remain at Buchenwald for months, tending to survivors, leading religious services in a former Nazi recreation hall and eventually helping to resettle thousands of Jews.

  • More compassionate conservatism:

    Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts: We must cut food stamps to save them

  • How to turn your state liberal.
  • And on the other side of the planet:

    New research from the Antarctic Peninsula shows that the summer melt season has been getting longer over the last 60 years. Increased summer melting has been linked to the rapid break-up of ice shelves in the area and rising sea level.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan: Catholic Church’s Nature Means It Will be Out of Touch Sometimes

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-03-2013-05-2008

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Cardinal Timothy Dolan: Catholic Church's Nature Means It Will be Out of Touch SometimesDuring an interview for “This Week,â€? Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that the Catholic Church’s very nature means it will be — from time to time – out of touch with the concerns of its followers. “Sometimes by nature, the…