April 15, 2014
"when serving in the Militia"

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ 5-word gun control solution

Follow policymic

(via policymic)

(via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

April 15, 2014
tastefullyoffensive:

A Statistical Analysis of Bob Ross’ Paintings [fivethirtyeight/via]

tastefullyoffensive:

A Statistical Analysis of Bob Ross’ Paintings [fivethirtyeight/via]

(via amentalpatientinsheepsclothing)

April 15, 2014

cityofbostonarchives:

In memory of Krystle Campbell, Sean Collier, Martin Richard, and Lu Lingzi.

For more images from the Boston Marathon Temporary Memorial, click here.

April 14, 2014
"There are at least three approaches to evaluating the role of big philanthropy in ed reform. Understanding how they differ makes for a more effective analysis and stronger arguments. The first approach focuses on the failure of specific policies pushed by the foundations and the harm they do to teaching and learning. For example, a critique of using value-added modeling to measure the effectiveness of individual teachers would deal with the inherent unreliability of the calculations, the nonsensical use of faulty formulas to measure growth in learning, and the negative consequences of rating teachers with such a flawed tool. The second approach examines how big philanthropy’s ed-reform activity undermines the democratic control of public education, an institution that is central to a functioning democracy. The questions to ask are these: Has the public’s voice in the governance of public education been strengthened or weakened? Are politicians more or less responsive? Is the press more or less free to inform them? This approach pinpoints certain types of foundation activity: paying the salaries of high-level personnel to do ed-reform work within government departments; making grants to education departments dependent on specific politicians remaining in office; promoting mayoral control and state control of school districts instead of control by elected school boards; financing scores of ed-reform nonprofits to implement and advocate for the foundations’ pet policies—activity that has undermined the autonomy and creativity of the nonprofit sector in education; funding (and thus influencing) the national professional associations of government officials, including the National Conference of State Legislatures, the United States Conference of Mayors, and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices; and funding media coverage of education. The third approach examines large private foundations as peculiar and problematic institutions in a democracy. This approach considers big philanthropy in general and uses ed reform as one example of how mega-foundations undermine democratic governance and civil society. The objections to wealthy private corporations dedicated to doing good (as they see it) have remained the same since the early twentieth century when the first mega-foundations were created: they intervene in public life but aren’t accountable to the public; they are privately governed but publicly subsidized by being tax exempt; and in a country where money translates into political power, they reinforce the problem of plutocracy—the exercise of power derived from wealth."

How to Criticize “Big Philanthropy” Effectively | Dissent Magazine

April 14, 2014
"As a Boston Public Schools parent, I get the urgent need for more quality options. Charters have a place at the education table. But is it too much to ask that politicians pause to look in the eyes of the families of children who attend Boston and other district public schools? They will find no disdain for charter families there. They will see determination to stop charters from taking a disproportionate share of state education aid. This year alone, Boston lost $87.5 million in state aid, and that was just to approximately two dozen charters. The figure will ascend to terrifying heights if the charter cap is lifted.
Politicians will also see anger at the charter lobby for labeling our city’s public schools failures. It reminds me of a bully, grabbing our kids’ lunch money while taunting “nanny, nanny, boo boo, our schools are better.” Traditional public schools are not failing. They deserve support, not scorn. Many Boston Public Schools excel in growth and achievement on state tests, from Orchard Gardens, to Boston Latin Academy, my daughter’s school, which last year had the highest tenth grade scores in the state.
I have other reasons to be proud of my children’s schools. Boston Arts Academy admits students who have struggled academically, engages their creative passions, and sends 94 percent, my senior included, on to college. Two of my children graduated from an elementary school that offers rigorous advanced work classes for students whose first language is Spanish. My son’s current school, the Washington Irving, provides students with disabilities an environment where they can succeed.
In important ways, district schools succeed where charters fail. Take those special needs students at my son’s school. They make up 27.8 percent of our student body. Quite a few are former charter students, some from a school up the street. Charter lobbyists tout that school, the Edward Brooke, as a slam-dunk success. They won’t tell you that the Brooke’s student population includes just 6.9 percent students with disabilities, and an astoundingly low 1 percent English language-learners.
It’s long past time to look those English language learners in the eye. Ride the MBTA Blue Line to East Boston, and visit the Patrick J. Kennedy School, where 70 percent of students are learning English. Then go up the street to Excel Academy charter. Take a look at Excel’s 6.2 percent ELL population, and tell me that charters serve the same students as district schools.
Charters are known for “no excuses” discipline, giving demerits for mismatched socks. How about demerits for inequity? Where is the outrage over the nearly 40 percent suspension rate at Boston’s City on a Hill charter? When will charters admit that their high school graduation rates hide huge attrition, especially acute for boys of color?
Finally, when will politicians take responsibility for the negative impact charters have on urban districts and families? Our eyes are ringed with worry. We’re hemorrhaging, losing social workers, paraprofessionals, enrichment opportunities, safe transportation, and chances for our children to thrive.
The money charters snatch for schools that serve far, far, fewer of our state’s most vulnerable students isn’t the only thing draining us. But it’s a steady stream now. What will happen if we open the floodgates to even more such schools?"

‘We’re real parents in a real crisis’

April 14, 2014
Performance Review: Sesame Street Live - “Elmo Makes Music”

Performance Review: Sesame Street Live – “Elmo Makes Music”

My daughter Kay & I took in the performance of Sesame Street Live – “Elmo Makes Music” at Boston’s Orpheum Theatre on April 12 at 5:30.  I am a long time devotee of Sesame Street.  Kay is very fond of Elmo.  It was a match made in heaven.

The basic story is that a new music teacher named Jenny moves to Sesame Street.  Since the…

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April 14, 2014
Song of the Week: “The Liar” by Fennesz

Song of the Week: “The Liar” by Fennesz

Fennesz is electronic artist Christian Fennesz of Vienna, Austria.  “The Liar” is a track that is a pure aural attack that affects some other senses as well.  I learned about it through NPR’s All Songs Considered.

What’s buzzing in your ears this week?  Let me know in the comments.

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April 13, 2014
socialist-twerkers-party:

There’s really no reason why anyone would ever need to make a parody account for the American Libertarian party.

socialist-twerkers-party:

There’s really no reason why anyone would ever need to make a parody account for the American Libertarian party.

(via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

April 13, 2014
Baseball Great Hank Aaron: Obama's GOP Critics Are Like The KKK

justinspoliticalcorner:

Hank Aaron has hit a home run with those comments. 

h/t: Tom Kludt at TPM Livewire

(via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

April 13, 2014

beardedsaint:

I’ll take one of each. Thanks

What if you’re an angry drunk?

(Source: kashimiru, via marissa1982)

April 13, 2014

(Source: christopherstreet, via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

April 13, 2014

(Source: oneluv918, via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

April 11, 2014

psyducker:

do u ever lie on ur side and a small tear leaks out and ur just like whoa wtf body I know I’m sad but not that sad

(Source: babedwire, via eclecticcharms)

April 11, 2014

sixbucks:

pissingonmyfeet:

Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers- Roadrunner Live 1973

I’m in love with rock & roll and I’ll be out all night.

April 11, 2014
When It Comes to Teen Pregnancy, Support Is Prevention

bebinn:

[A] common message spread about teenage pregnancy is that children born to teenage parents are more likely to become teenage parents…However, there has yet to be a collective acknowledgment that without supporting the parents now, we are failing the children of teen parents and by extension maintaining an environment where these children can experience an unintended pregnancy just as their parents did.

Building support systems for education, health care, housing, child care, and career services, as well as comprehensive sex education, will go so much farther than our current framework of shame and scare tactics!

(via lynylfysh)

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