Diane Ravitch sends along a warning about Arne Duncan’s replacement at DOE

Ravitch writes, “Valerie Strauss describes John King’s stormy tenure as State Commissioner of Education in Néw York. To learn about the style of the man who will replace Duncan, read this. A rabid advocate for Common Core, testing, and charters. A brilliant man who earned both a doctorate at Teachers College, a law degree at Harvard, and ran a no-excuses charter, apparently at the same time.” http://www.dianeravitch.net/2015/10/02/if-you-thought-arne-was-contriversial-meet-john-king/

Pope “meets” with Kim Davis -or- Kim Davis stands in line?

Well surprise surprise… it now seems Mrs. Davis’ “visit” with Pope Francis may not in fact unfolded exactly as she and her lawyers have previously described.

I am shocked.

Vatican on Pope Francis and Kim Davis: Meeting ‘No Support’ for Her Case
By Rosie Scammell, Religion News Service, David Gibson, Religion News Service 10-02-2015

The Vatican is downplaying Pope Francis’ controversial meeting with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk jailed for refusing to grant marriage licenses to gay couples, saying their encounter “should not be considered a form of support of her position.”

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, also said in a statement issued Oct. 2 that Davis was one of “several dozen” people Francis met at the Vatican Embassy in Washington on Sept. 24 as he prepared to leave for New York, the second-leg of his U.S. trip.

“Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the pope’s characteristic kindness and availability,” the statement said. It added that the “only real audience granted by the pope” at the embassy that day “was with one of his former students and his family.”

– See more at: https://sojo.net/articles/vatican-pope-francis-and-kim-davis-meeting-no-support-her-case#sthash.9YvTDkdT.dpuf
– See more at: https://sojo.net/articles/vatican-pope-francis-and-kim-davis-meeting-no-support-her-case

50 years after the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Alabama-style voter suppression rears its ugly head

Most of these voter suppression tactics were made illegal after the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Voter suppression is a strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing people from exercising the right to vote. It is distinguished from political campaigning in that campaigning attempts to change likely voting behavior by changing the opinions of potential voters through persuasion and organization. Voter suppression instead attempts to reduce the number of voters who might vote against the candidate or proposition advocated by the suppressors.

Because elections are locally administered in the United States, voter suppression varies among jurisdictions. At the founding of the country, most states limited the right to vote to property-owning white males. Over time, the right to vote was formally granted to racial minorities, women, and youth. However, throughout the latter 19th and early 20th centuries, Southern states passed Jim Crow laws to suppress poor and racial minority voters; among other things, such laws included poll taxes, literacy tests, and grandfather clauses. (Wikipedia)

According to Common Cause, just one year after implementing a controversial voter ID requirement, Alabama announced that it’ll close 31 DMV offices — leaving 29 counties without a single place to get a driver’s license, the most common form of voter ID that’s required to vote under the new law. Here’s the worst part: no county where Black voters are 75% or more of those registered will still have a DMV (or easy access to IDs) if this change goes through.

Allegra Chapman, Director of Voting and Elections for Common Cause says Alabama’s 2011 strict voter ID law turns away potential voters if they can’t present specific forms of photo ID, like a driver’s license. We opposed this law, and still do. Now, closing these DMVs and taking away the most accessible way to get valid identification will make it even worse — because if you don’t have a photo ID in Alabama, you can’t vote.

The state says they’re closing these DMVs for budgetary reasons — but protecting the fundamental right to vote for every citizen should be a top priority. If the state can’t afford to make sure every eligible voter can get a photo ID, then they shouldn’t require one to vote Chapman says.

How the white man nearly destroyed that which native peoples most hold dear, their LANGUAGE

I recall several years ago attending a film series sponsored by the nearby Gun Lake Tribe leaders about the Native American boarding schools, particularly the one in Mt. Pleasant. The impetus was to integrate native people’s offspring into white culture and it very nearly killed Michigan’s native languages. Only an estimated three people with the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians are still fluent in Anishinaabemowin, which was the language of the Great Lakes for millennia.

Here in my area, Ed Pigeon has worked as the Gun Lake Tribe’s Cultural Coordinator since 2005. Ed’s primary focus is teaching and preserving the Pottawatomi language although he does regular cultural workshops for the membership.

“As a member of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians I feel it is all of our duty to maintain our traditions, language and culture. Each one of us must do our part to preserve these things for future generations as they are at the core of what defines us as Anishnabek people.”

To learn more about the Gun Lake Tribe’s Language Program follow this link – http://www.mbpi.org/Administration/languageculture.asp

Also Michigan Radio’s Emily Fox has more on this story about the role that a school in one of Michigan’s favorite vacation destinations played in the decline of native speakers.  http://michiganradio.org/post/native-american-boarding-schools-have-nearly-killed-michigans-native-language#stream/0

Flint school students told to BYOB – bring your own (water) bottle

Earlier this week, Flint residents got more bad news about their water system when a new report estimated it will cost the city $1.5 billion to repair the damage done since the switch to the Flint River as a water source.  In 2014, under the direction of the Emergency Financial Manager appointed by Governor Rick Snyder, the city switched its drinking water source ostensibly to save money. Flint Mayor Dayne Walling who is powerless under the current structure was a guest on Michigan Public Radio’s Stateside this week and he urged the Governor to approve a corrosion-control plan “as fast as humanly possible” to help keep lead out of the water. In the meantime, students have been instructed to bring bottled water to school and homeowners are scrambling to get hold of water filters for home use. If you have missed parts of the Flint water story, here’s a quick rundown http://michiganradio.org/post/have-you-missed-parts-flint-water-story-heres-quick-rundown#stream/0


There’s money in dealing drugs, that’s for sure

Pharmaceutical industry, under scrutiny for prices, has history of big political wins

Soaring drug prices already had customers unhappy. The pharmaceutical industry hardly needed a new poster boy to add volume and passion to the complaints. But that’s just what it got last week when Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, made a name for himself after he hiked the price of a drug for … read more



Boehner as king of the fundraiser: Raking it in and shoveling it out

Boehner raised nearly $100 million over career, gave much of it to party and candidates

Whatever else is said about him, you can’t say he didn’t share.

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) raised $97 million for his House campaigns and leadership PAC from the time he received his first donations in 1989, Center for Responsive Politics data shows — far more than any other sitting House member. Only Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) have raised more in their careers, and both of them have been presidential candidates.

But the soon-to-be-former speaker’s political money profile depicts a party leader trying to raise most Republican boats with his fundraising tide. No current lawmaker, House or Senate, has given away more money to the party and its congressional candidates, a total of $41.1 million from his campaign committees and PAC — nearly double the gifts of the No. 2 on that list, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

Click here to read the full article http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2015/09/boehner-raised-nearly-100-million-over-career-gave-much-of-it-to-party-and-candidates/


Bernie Sanders raises over $40 million dollars without having a Super PAC!

From: Bernie Sanders <info@berniesanders.com>
Date: Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Thank you
To: Jeffrey Salisbury
Jeffrey –
Thank you VERY much for your financial support for our campaign.
When we talk about a “political revolution,” we are not just talking about tinkering around the edges of American society. We are talking about transforming our country in many respects — the economy, health care, education, the environment, criminal justice, immigration and many other areas.

But what we are also talking about is transforming our corrupt campaign finance system — a system which, as a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, now allows millionaires and billionaires to buy elections and undermine the very foundations of American democracy.

What we have done together so far in this campaign is not only extraordinary and unprecedented, it is transforming American politics. What we have shown is that we can raise over $40 million dollars without having a Super PAC. What we have shown is that we can raise an amount of money which makes us financially competitive by securing 1.3 million contributions from, unbelievably, 650,000 Americans. What we have shown is that we can run a successful campaign without having to depend upon donations from the wealthy and the powerful, and that we can do it with an average campaign contribution of only $30.

Our political system is corrupt. Big Money controls much of what happens.
Together, you and I are changing that.
Thank you again for your support.