Late Night Open Thread

Watching Colbert atm, and this is one of the more boring shows of late. Went to the bathroom, was washing my hands, and saw this display in the mirror happening on the top of my melon:


WTF is up with that hot mess? A widow brow rapidly emerging on the right side of my melon sized head, all with a full frock of curls on top. If I weren’t so fat, I’d just shave my damned head, but I can’t right now because I’d look like 1/3 of the Three Stooges.

And yes, I’d trade being skinny over having hair.

Scenes from the Rainbow Revolution

Video from Dave Weigel, who describes the hours-long goat rodeo:

… It never got violent, but it got heated. At one point, one of the frustrated Latino pastors from New York (churches from that state and New Jersey sent 700 people to the march) broke from the MFM pack and started beseeching the pro-equality protesters for respect. “Free speech!” he said. “Free speech! I have free speech!” I taped him as he bolted to the front of the line, proudly waving his sign and shouting “JESUS!” up until a drag queen who went by Queen Amor invaded his space.

There was a solid hour of this insanity, and a couple hours of lower-grade insanity.

Weigel posted a bunch of great pics later in the afternoon, and finished up with a report from the haters conservative side:

The dominoes are falling,” said Dr. Bob Borger. “They’re falling faster than I ever thought they could.”

Borger, an Annapolis, Md. pastor, was walking back from the first-ever March for Marriage with two fellow Marylanders. They’d rallied outside the Supreme Court as justices heard arguments for the repeal of California’s Proposition 8. All of the Marylanders had worked on the 2012 campaign to ban gay marriage in their state, too. They were carrying huge signs from that campaign, with the slogan Tell the Governor, Tell the President: Protect Marriage.

But they’d lost. Maryland was one of three states that voted to legalize last year, and that fed into the liberals’ case that gay marriage was mainstream.

“The margin was around 100,000 votes,” said Borger. “It was close, and up until the day of the election I thought we would win.”

Tuesday’s march to the court was put together in six busy weeks by the National Organization for Marriage. More than 5,000 conservatives showed up—better than NOM had expected, not shabby for photos. Less than half of them were white. Spanish-speaking chaplains and families called for every child to have una mama y un papa. Chinese prayer groups gathered in circles to sing English hymns translated into Mandarin. Isolde Cambourne, a French student at D.C.’s Catholic University, waved a Tricolor and spread the news about the mega-rallies for marriage in her country.

And yet the mood varied between nervous, defensive, and panicked. Nobody, not even the red-sash-wearing youngsters of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, would predict an outright court win for their side. They had seen too many dominoes fall…

The arc of the moral universe is long…

Blog Host Shaming

This is where all of you explain to me in excruciating detail what an asshole I am. The story- we had 562 draft posts in the WordPress dashboard, so I fired off an email asking all the fp posters if I could delete them. I have no idea why this was such a pressing issue, as it had nothing to do with server performance. But I got a bee in my bonnet, thought everyone had responded, and went ahead and deleted them.

Then got an email from Anne Laurie, and it turns out I deleted stuff she was saving. I feel like the biggest asshole, so here is your chance to say everything nasty you ever wanted to say about me:

Sorry, Anne.

So Apparently Raping is Really Cool Now, huh.

Seriously, we’re just describing rape now.

On today’s #TWiBRadio, we discussed America’s pervasive rape culture, the indefensibility of the defensive anti-gay marriage stance, and I’ve got ideas for another new project.

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And this morning on #amTWiB, #TheMorningCrew were joined once again by Imani Gandy of the Angry Black Lady Chronicles to discuss the outing of the Obama daughters on vacation, whether we’re doing all we can for American veterans, and the politics of lazy ass glaciers.

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Tuesday Evening Open Thread: Welcome to the Future

Doing some housecleaning, at the request of the blogmaster, and found this. Yes, Paisley got to perform this at the White House, too.

What’s on the agenda for the evening?

Inspirational leaders

I’m becoming quite the scholar on the money side of the school reform industry. It’s a defensive move and it’s personal. We have a democratically-run public school district here and I’d like to hang onto it. I have not yet had to ask the ACLU to sue for access to correspondence between my local elected leaders and school reform industry funders, and I intend to keep it that way.

The school reformers and their elected backers like to use the phrase “the civil rights issue of our time.” But the more I read on the money side, the more I think reformers must be attending the publicly-funded private religious schools in the school reform industry “demo state” formerly known as Louisiana because this is unlike any civil rights effort I am familiar with.

Maybe like this?

Never doubt that a small group of hedge fund managers, media moguls and billionaires can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

This civil rights movement comes with products. Here’s Murdoch employee Klein. pushing his school reform industry gadget. Notice the careful placement of President Obama’s signature education reform, Race To The Top, within the sales pitch:

Klein said the educational market was worth about $700 billion total, and outlined a $17 billion K-12 market targeted by Amplify. He said due to upfront costs of developing technology Amplify has invested about $180 million and expected to generate about $100 million in revenue this year—mostly contracts with about 200 school systems around the country. Klein said technology is “saving money,” and that “school systems want this.” He said Amplify’s business was growing at about 22% a year and he expected revenues to catchup and surpass current losses. He hailed the Obama’s administration’s Race to the Top program which offers grants to imaginative state-designed education programs and said that a subscription model was likely to win out in the educational sector.

I’ll give you a moment to collect yourself after that inspiring profit forecast and we can ponder whether Rupert Murdoch and children are a natural fit.

This civil rights uprising is vehemently anti-labor. Here’s reform industry spokesperson Michelle Rhee responding to the fact that parents and teachers are sick to death of the endless (and profitable) standardized tests she promotes. No-excuses Rhee blames teachers unions for this rebellion to her directives. She doesn’t mention that the backlash is biggest in the state of Texas, because that information would tend to contradict her blame-the-unions claim:

The nation’s biggest backlash against standardized testing is taking place in Texas, where most students are required to pass 15 exams to graduate. More than 10,000 people recently rallied in Austin, the state capital, to demand fewer tests and more school funding. And nearly 900 school districts representing more than 90% of Texas public school students have passed a resolution to reduce testing and mandate no fixed role for test scores in teacher evaluations.

This civil rights effort sometimes replaces local career employees with temps:

No longer are TFA corps members only filling spots that would otherwise go to long-term subs. In some districts TFAers are replacing veteran teachers who have been let go. Other districts, like the one I used to teach in, appear to cycle through corps members every two years, with high turnover among TFA teachers who are in turn replaced by a fresh slate of bushy-tailed, ill-trained corps members.

This civil rights movement tries not to engage in messy and sometimes…negative public interaction.The Mayor of Chicago plans to displace tens of thousands of children by closing their neighborhood public schools. The Mayor and CEO of School Reform wasn’t actually on the front lines the day plans came out, but that’s probably because it’s hard to march in support of closing public schools when you’re wearing skis. And in Utah.

I don’t have any problem with “public school reform.” I just think it a load of bullshit to sell “public school reform” when so many of the reformers are actually bent on replacing a universal public school system with a publicly funded, private school system. Those two things are not the same. How do I know public and publicly funded aren’t the same? Because we have a publicly funded private health care system, and it’s a disaster. I’m not supporting trading an existing universal public system for a publicly funded private system, and no, I won’t take an Amplify! tablet or Gates-bucks in exchange. We’ll regret this transaction. I know we will.

I’ll leave you with this great Kevin Drum piece on myths regarding student test scores:

There are a lot of stories you can tell with this data depending on how you cherry-pick it. But the one thing you cannot say, unless you torture the numbers beyond recognition, is that kids today are more poorly educated than kids of the past two generations. Contrary to the tired annual horror stories about how Johnny can’t read, the truth is that at worst, our kids don’t know any less than we do, and at best they may know quite a bit more.

Open thread

A friend of mine once said he’d like to start a band called Bread Zeppelin. It would do David Gates-style covers of Led Zeppelin songs.

That’s all I’ve got. Talk about anything.