Archive for January, 2010

Pound on the Doors of Empire! Strike March 4th!

Saturday, January 30th, 2010


“All morons hate it when you call them a moron.” In Memoriam: Holden Caulfield

On the Little Rouge School Front This Week:

Outline of California Budget Cuts From NYTimes: Some public school classes in Los Angeles are so crowded that students perch on file cabinets, or sit on the floor, while teachers struggle to maintain quality and grade hundreds of papers.

Pat Washington Writes On San Diego State’s Entrenched Racism (and look for nepotism, cowardice, and sheer ignorance too)
: Deafening Silence around African American Student Enrollment Quotas at San Diego State University SDSU never admits more than 25% of its qualified first-time African American student applicants and—furthermore—never allows the total campus population of African American students to rise above 5%? … Clearly, SDSU does not have an African American student application problem. Rather, SDSU has an African American student rejection problem… The peril is magnified by SDSU’s elimination of the local student guaranteed admissions policy… African American Student Enrollment Quotas

A Video Demonstrating the Potential of Student/Worker Campus Strike Action:

Washington State Student Zine “We are All Workers”:

UCLA IDEA Report on California School/Society Crises: “More than half of the principals reported a sharp increase in student needs for health, psychological, or social services; many reported extremely high social needs — “an epidemic of hunger” — with children receiving no food when they go home for the night or weekend. Educators have responded by connecting students and families with social service providers or by contributing food and clothing, but budget cuts to social welfare programs and school services have left the system with less capacity to respond to these growing needs.”

NY City–another Bellwether in the School Closings Movement: “Since 2002, the city has closed or is in the process of closing 91 schools, replacing them with smaller schools and charter schools, often several in the same building, with new leadership and teachers. This year, the city has proposed phasing out 20 schools, the most in any year…Because the new schools, at first, accepted relatively few special education and non-English-speaking students, those students began enrolling in greater numbers in the remaining large high schools. Overall enrollment increased at many large high schools, and attendance fell. “While a few schools were successful in absorbing such students, most were not,” the report said…In Chicago, school officials closed 44 schools between 2001 and 2006 more abruptly than New York did: instead of phasing out schools by grade, the entire student body was dispersed at once. When the schools reopened the next year, there were new administrators, teachers and students. But the displaced students often went into other weak schools, adding little benefit for those students and sending those schools into tailspins.”

Alan Singer in Huff Post: What if Capital’s Schools are Working?
“In a society where education is organized to achieve capitalist goals, mass public education has two primary purposes. It sorts people out, determining who will be recruited to the elite, learn and succeed, who will receive enough basic training to make an acceptable living, and who will be pushed to the margins of society. It does this through an elaborate system that includes racially and economically segregated school districts that receive different levels of funding, magnet, private and charter schools that sift-off the highest performing or most cooperative students, and rigorous testing and tracking within schools.”

Romeo and Juliet Meet the Battle in the Detroit Federation of Teachers (one of the more creative reads yet):
“We do not approve your plan.
Now listen up, you purchased man.
Your views have sold us down and out
Hear us now or we’ll just shout.
We move to stop our paychecks taken,
We move to make the presidency vacant,
We move to count our vote recall,
We move to remove you, once and for all.”

John Yoo’s Class Goes Into Hiding: “ Yoo was scheduled to begin his first class of the semester Tuesday night of this week and is the only professor in the law school whose class location is not listed on its class schedule.”

CalSters on the Ropes: “The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, which lost a quarter of the value of its investment portfolio in the spending year that ended June 30, currently faces a $43-billion shortfall in the money it needs to pay future pensions. What’s worse, warns Chief Executive Jack Ehnes, the $134-billion fund could be broke in 35 years – the length of a typical teaching career – if the state Legislature doesn’t raise the employer contributions paid by school districts in the next few years.”

Arne Duncan, “Atta Girl Hurricane Katrina:”
Education Secretary Arne Duncan called Hurricane Katrina “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans” because it forced the community to take steps to improve low-performing public schools, according to excerpts from the transcript of a television interview made public Friday afternoon.”

Berkeley Rising on March 4th: “The UC Berkeley General Assembly yesterday voted to organize for militant action on the nationwide March 4 Strike and Day of Action: a campus strike 7am to noon, noon rally at Bancroft and Telegraph, followed by a mass march to join the Oakland March 4 rally at Ogawa Plaza.” (From Jack G)

A San Diego Educator Warns Against SDEA Concessions: “Why should SDEA leadership continue to prosper with their non-reduced salaries and non-reduced operating budget when all the rest of us have to “do our fair share”??”

Paul Moore on Bloomberg, Klein, and More: “The new danger appears in the rise of the seamless melding of the corporation and the state in the US. The corporate-state was certified as constitutional by the US Supreme Court in its recent decision on corporate campaign financing. The new reality is reflected in the unprecedented amount of money Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suddenly has at his disposal to undermine the public schools.”

Mug Shots Of Billionaire School “Reformers”:

The Perpetual Wars and Booming Inequality Front:

Seeking National Security Secrecy Status for AIG Bailout Scam: “The request to keep the details secret were made by the New York Federal Reserve — a regulator that helped orchestrate the bailout — and by the giant insurer itself, according to the emails.”

Those Who Scored Well on High Stakes Exams Muck Up Military:
“The red tape isn’t just on the battlefield. Combat commanders are required to submit reports in PowerPoint with proper fonts, line widths and colors so that the filing system is not derailed. Small aid projects lag because of multimonth authorization procedures. A United States-financed health clinic in Khost Province was built last year, but its opening was delayed for more than eight months while paperwork for erecting its protective fence waited in the approval queue.”

The Yes Men Strike Again (click on the Interviews) at the World Economic Forum:

A Pot For Every California Garage:
“Supporters of legalized marijuana announced today that they have gathered about 700,000 signatures for their initiative, virtually guaranteeing voters will see it on the November ballot.”

Obama is Bush Too on Bogus Terror Surveillance:
“ yet another sign that the Obama administration can be just as assertive as Bush’s in claiming sweeping and controversial anti-terrorism powers.”

Stiglitz on the Obamagogue/Bush Bankster Scams:
“the failures in our financial system are emblematic of broader failures in our economic system, and the failures of our economic system reflect deeper problems in our society” — including growing inequities of wealth, a lack of accountability on the part of business and political leaders, and an emphasis on short-term gains as opposed to long-term benefits… we will emerge from the crisis with a much larger legacy of debt, with a financial system that is less competitive, less efficient and more vulnerable to another crisis.”

The Supremes Sing: Dollars are Here and Now You’re Gone:
“The coup is over. We lost. The ruling is one more judicial effort to streamline mechanisms for corporate control. It exposes the myth of a functioning democracy and the triumph of corporate power. But it does not significantly alter the political landscape. The corporate state is firmly cemented in place….
There is no national institution left that can accurately be described as democratic. Citizens, rather than participate in power, are allowed to have virtual opinions to preordained questions, a kind of participatory fascism as meaningless as voting on “American Idol.” Mass emotions are directed toward the raging culture wars. This allows us to take emotional stands on issues that are inconsequential to the power elite.   ”

Hey! Just Who is the Enemy Anyway? “Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan – Western forces killed four Afghan troops Saturday in an airstrike, and military officials disclosed that an Afghan interpreter had shot dead two U.S. service members a day earlier, in a rare concentration of deaths at the hands of allies…relations between the two sides are sometimes marked by
mistrust. ”,0,1723475.story

Staughton Lynd on the Death of His Friend, Howard Zinn: “I came to feel that historians practicing “history from below” and “history from the bottom up,” of whom I was one, had a tendency to romanticize the poor and oppressed persons whom they studied and, especially, to believe that such folks were motivated by ideology to a greater degree than was in fact the case.”

In Memory, Howard Zinn:
“There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people’s thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible…

What leaps out from the history of the past hundred years is its utter unpredictability.
An optimist isn’t necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places–and there are so many–where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

Thanks to Yvonne, Joe B, Amber, Paul, Elvira, Sandy, Sally, Lloyd, Emily, Mr Z and J, Ken and Barb (no kidding), Doug, Adam, Gina, Perry, Penny and Sue, Ruth, Jenna, Crystal, Donna, Candace, Lila, Ann S, Vicko, Tony, Kino, Tommie and Bob, Della, Judy Sanden, Dennis, Melissa, Marisol, Luis, Edgar, Michael, Georgie, Mr J and Z, Sneaky Pete and Dirty Edd.

Good luck to us, every one. r