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Bless their thieving hearts!

Isn’t that sweet.

When the Georgia legislature passed a private school scholarship program in 2008, lawmakers promoted it as a way to give poor children the same education choices as the wealthy.


The program would be supported by donations to nonprofit scholarship groups, and Georgians who contributed would receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits, up to $2,500 a couple. The intent was that money otherwise due to the Georgia treasury — about $50 million a year — would be used instead to help needy students escape struggling public schools.


That was the idea, at least. But parents meeting at Gwinnett Christian Academy got a completely different story last year.


“A very small percentage of that money will be set aside for a needs-based scholarship fund,” Wyatt Bozeman, an administrator at the school near Atlanta, said during an informational session. “The rest of the money will be channeled to the family that raised it.”


A handout circulated at the meeting instructed families to donate, qualify for a tax credit and then apply for a scholarship for their own children, many of whom were already attending the school.


“If a student has friends, relatives or even corporations that pay Georgia income tax, all of those people can make a donation to that child’s school,” added an official with a scholarship group working with the school.


The exchange at Gwinnett Christian Academy, a recording of which was obtained by The New York Times, is just one example of how scholarship programs have been twisted to benefit private schools at the expense of the neediest children.

What a true blue governor does

If Martin O’Malley is pretending to be a progressive so he can run for president, well, I wish more Democrats were that ambitious! Can we clone this guy? This is what a real progressive agenda looks like, Gov. Cuomo:

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed into law a package of tax increases Tuesday targeting six-figure earners, tobacco users and companies engaged in real estate transactions to cover record spending on education.


In a two-hour ceremony, it was easily the most recognizable measure O’Malley (D) signed but hardly the most popular. Rather, union members, minorities and interest groups crowded the State House to celebrate more than 200 lesser-known and often narrowly tailored bills. They passed the General Assembly with little fanfare but, taken together, will color the social and political identity of the Old Line State a slightly deeper shade of blue.


The bills included efforts to stimulate the economy, protect the environment and help family farms. And nearly a century after three-quarters of U.S. states ratified the 17th Amendment — which allowed U.S. senators to be elected instead of appointed by state legislatures — Maryland got on board.


One of the first bills O’Malley signed was a capital budget, which will accelerate borrowing of more than $100 million to promote job growth through construction and maintenance of schools, parks and public housing.


Answering a call from President Obama, Maryland will raise the age that children will be required to stay in school, from 16 to 17, and raise it again within five years, to 18.


Maryland will also continue expanding collective bargaining rights to state employees, increase tax breaks for solar, geothermal and other green-energy projects, and become the first state to ban arsenic in chicken feed.


In addition, officials will develop a network of parking and charging stations for electric vehicles, study whether to issue citations rather than jail time for hundreds of minor crimes, and race ahead with implementing Obama’s health-care overhaul.

Lockerbie

As Russ Baker points out at whowhatwhy.com, we still don’t actually know who planted the Lockerbie bomb – and why.

The politics of educated hope

And the Occupy movement.

Kewl

Even if us peons won’t be able to afford it:

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have for the first time succeeded in taking skin cells from patients with heart failure and transforming them into healthy, beating heart tissue that could one day be used to treat the condition.


The researchers, based in Haifa,Israel, said there were still many years of testing and refining ahead. But the results meant they might eventually be able to reprogram patients’ cells to repair their own damaged hearts.


“We have shown that it’s possible to take skin cells from an elderly patient with advanced heart failure and end up with his own beating cells in a laboratory dish that are healthy and young – the equivalent to the stage of his heart cells when he was just born,” said Lior Gepstein from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, who led the work.


The researchers, whose study was published in the European Heart Journal on Wednesday, said clinical trials of the technique could begin within 10 years.

Damn hippies

Throwing themselves in front of a police van, then forcing the driver to take off! Thank God we have a strong media to tell us the truth, right?

Witnesses at the scene, myself included, saw the van conspicuously speed up while nearing the east side of the bridge.


It had been moving slowly, then gained speed as some in the crowd began to let it pass. A handful of protesters, three of whom told the Occupied Chicago Tribune they were fearful for their friends and fellow demonstrators behind them, tried to slow the van down by pushing back on its hood. It was then that the driver accelerated in full, reaching a completely unacceptable speed while still in the midst of the crowd. One protester, James “Jack” Amico was struck, thrown to ground, and treated for a concussion at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.


NBC 5 Chicago sparked the asinine rabble, which continues to claim that the hit protester was faking, by posting this video, which shows an uninjured protester skidding along the hood of the van. The cameraman was far east of the bridge, where the actual incident had occurred. The protester featured in NBC 5′s coverage is not Amico. At the time of that video, Amico was lying on the street, surrounded by his girlfriend Lauren DiGioia and a team of street medics assessing his condition.


A better, though still murky, video of a protester getting hit and going down can be seenhere (between the 18-21 second marks).


In short time, the 1% Chicago Tribune, along with other mainstream media, filed in lock-step behind CPD Superintendent Garry McCarthy’s story: that the protester faked his injury, that someone had punched the driver in the head, giving him a concussion, that protesters attacked the van, and that the videos, though unclear, seem to confirm this official narrative.

The story, like many of McCarthy’s this weekend (along the lines of “That wasn’t blood gushing out of a blunt-force head wound, it was red paint!”), smelled like the sweaty taint of a riot cop after Sunday’s 90-degree march. For one, I didn’t see a single police van driving around with its windows rolled down. Something of the spectacle of force is lost when a sergeant lets the breeze run through his hair. And certainly, if a cop driving through a sea of demonstrators doesn’t think to roll up his window, what appeared to be a concussion to McCarthy may be a simpler condition: That cop really is just that dumb.


But what’s missing from all the news reports is Amico’s story. Before leaving Chicago Monday night, he spoke with the OCT. His Northwestern Memorial Hospital bracelet was still on his wrist.


Amico approached the van when, he says, he saw his friend standing, unaware, with his back to it. Amico was hit in the chest and fell hard, slamming his head onto the pavement.


“It stomped on the gas the second I stepped in front. It was intentional,” he told OCT. “Mind you, they sped off after this. It was a hit and run.”

You oughta know

Matthew Mayfield:

After the love is gone

Earth Wind & Fire:

Pressure


But you will come to a place where the only thing you feel
Are loaded guns in your face
And you have to deal with pressure!

Rough day. I’ve been applying and interviewing all over the place — and while people may be hiring, they are making applicants jump through a LOT of hoops, which is no fun. And then I find out that the place where my son’s worked for 10 years is closing. So not only is he getting booted out of his apartment, he won’t have anywhere near enough money to get another one – and he was already sharing with two other people.

And I feel really, really bad that I’m not in a position to help him. I suppose he’ll figure something out eventually, but still, I’m feeling pretty bad about this. In addition, I’m running out of money myself and I wonder if I’m ever going to get another job. Sigh…

Ruby Tuesday

From American Songwriter:

“Ruby Tuesday” defies expectations in a couple of ways. First of all, it’s a tender ballad courtesy of The Rolling Stones, so you might expect it to be a Mick Jagger creation. You’d be wrong though: As Mick told Jann Wenner in 1995: “It’s just a nice melody, really. And a lovely lyric. Neither of which I wrote, but I always enjoy singing it.”


Keith Richards actually did most of the work on the song, writing the lyrics after coming up with the music with the help of Brian Jones. That music is the second reason that “Ruby Tuesday” is such a surprise. Melodic ingenuity was supposed to be the domain of the Stones’ chief rival, The Beatles. Yet this song, which was a #1 hit here in the U.S. in 1967, has a downright gorgeous tune, aided by Jones lovely work on the recorder, proving that those things that we all had to play in grade school music could indeed have a purpose.


Richards claimed at different times that the lyrics were based on a groupie and on his mid-60’s girlfriend Linda Keith. Given his reputation, you can understand how Keith’s recollections might be fuzzy, but it’s impossible to deny he came up with a first-rate song. And he wisely left it in Jagger’s hands to deliver a moving vocal.

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