Killing the spider plant

spiderplant

I recently killed a spider plant. I did my best to keep it alive, but the southern exposure was too intense and even a spider plant couldn’t handle it. Still, it’s depressing, being the kind of person who managed to kill a spider plant.

The U.S. economy is a lot like that spider plant — almost impossible to kill, and yet, we did it anyway.

Incomes for the bottom 90 percent of Americans only grew by $59 on average between 1966 and 2011 (when you adjust those incomes for inflation), according to an analysis by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston for Tax Analysts. During the same period, the average income for the top 10 percent of Americans rose by $116,071, Johnston found.

To put that into perspective: if you say the $59 boost is equivalent to one inch, then the incomes of the top 10 percent of Americans rose by 168 feet, Johnston explained to Alternet last week.

Walmart sues union

I wonder when it will occur to these 1%ers that if they keep it up, they will never again be able to go out in public without a backlash:

(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) has sued a major grocery workers union and others who have protested at its Florida stores, the latest salvo in its legal fight to stop “disruptive” rallies in and around its stores by groups seeking better pay and working conditions.

Wal-Mart does not have union-represented workers in its U.S. stores. Nevertheless, it has long faced opposition from various labor groups including the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), and from a small but vocal group of current and former employees backed by the union and known as OUR Walmart.

SCOTUS hears Prop 8 arguments today

It really is an idea whose time has come. If not this decision, another one — because the tide has turned, finally.

A four-year legal battle to extend the right of marriage to same-sex couples no matter where they live gets its moment before the Supreme Court on Tuesday in historic oral arguments difficult to imagine even a decade ago.

The first of two days of oral arguments over what supporters call marriage equality brings the boldest of the claims that gay rights activists will make — that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage that states may not deny.

The nine justices will consider California’s Proposition 8, which voters passed in 2008 to define marriage as between a man and woman and to overturn a state Supreme Court decision earlier that year that approved same-sex marriage.
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A confederacy of reformers

Go read it all:

Rather than trying to fix the schools which have poor students who are performing poorly, Reformers believe it’s better to close the doors and shove all those kids into higher performing schools, no matter how high the class size gets. Just this past week Rahm Emmanuel closes 54 schools in Chicago and shuffled all those kids to other schools. I have not seen any studies that show this strategy works. I have seen some that show these students are more likely to feel disaffected by school, by the longer bus rides, the cramped classrooms, by the loss of all their friends and teachers, and tend to perform worse the next year and even drop out. You won’t see any studies showing this is effective, because it’s not. What you will see is “school” scores which Reformers point to and say things are going swell. What they don’t tell you is they routinely change these formula from year to year to make them say whatever they want to say. Pre-school closing and privatizing they say how horrible the scores are. After a few years of destructive policies they boost the scores by adding points or changing the test and say all is going well and pat themselves on the back. For the schools that even the most generous boosts are insufficient they simply exclude from the rankings. You can’t be disappointed by what you can’t see. To make sure you can’t see it they usually stop providing data to researchers and remove all traces of historical or current school data from their websites, as Louisiana has done.

So what’s my point do you ask?

I could go on, and maybe I will later when the fancy strikes me, but I hope this is enough for you to start seeing the picture I am.

What I am seeing is a purposeful plot to destroy public schools, and to profit from the destruction. These folks say they are data conscious and want to rely on “data driven decisions” but if that were true the data already readily available shows that everything they are doing is having the opposite effect of what they are purporting to provide. There is too much coordination for this to be accidental, and they are too successful for me to believe they are simply not competent enough to understand the data that disproves everything they claim. These groups have gone out of their way to spin the data, falsify the data, or simply hide or destroy the data to prevent people from seeing what is going on. These groups are fully aware of what they are doing – destroying public education in our country. Some of them are doing it purely for profit driven motives, but there is more going on here. These are some of the puzzle pieces I have and what I see. Now if we allow this to continue, what do you see?

Halfway houses

I have to wonder: Is this a legitimate piece of research, or were they told to come up with this conclusion so the state could slash spending?

The federal government and states across the country have spent billions of dollars in recent years on sprawling, privately run halfway houses, which are supposed to save money and rehabilitate inmates more effectively than prisons do.

But now, a groundbreaking study by officials in Pennsylvania is casting serious doubt on the halfway-house model, concluding that inmates who spent time in these facilities were more likely to return to crime than inmates who were released directly to the street.

The findings startled the administration of Gov. Tom Corbett, which responded last month by drastically overhauling state contracts with the companies that run the 38 private halfway houses in Pennsylvania. The system costs more than $110 million annually.

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