Barack Obama likes to play basketball with his friend Arne Duncan, but does that make Duncan worthy of the nation's top education spot? If Obama's appointees are a reflection of the president-elect's own world view, this one is quite disturbing. Paul Street writes: "Privatization, union-busting (charter and contract schools operate union-free), excessive standardized testing, teacher-blaming, military schooling, and the rollback of community input on school decisions - these are the interrelated hallmarks of private school graduate Arne Duncan's six and a half years at the helm of" the Chicago Public Schools.
A teacher/activist offers some holiday ruminations on education: "Let us celebrate punitive testing, carved up tables and chairs, chain link fence in the stairwells and high strung civil servants who are just marking time until they can get away from the children of the great unwashed." Not cheered up, yet? Let's think of kinder times and inspiring educators, like Rex Fisher, who introduced the author "and my peers to the words of David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Martin Delaney, WEB DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Fannie Lou Hamer and Malcolm X - and that was a rare thing from teachers in the public schools of 1973."
The American Prison Gulag, already one-half Black, is becoming increasingly co-ed. "The US jailed one in 746 women in 2006, up from one in 100,000 back in 1925. Compared to other nations, the female portion of the prison population is highest in the US - at 9%." Melissa Mummert's film, Perversion of Justice, tells the "story of Hamedah Hasan and her three children" to "exemplify the need to repeal the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, and the mandatory minimum laws."
The corporate news media, especially in Britain,
constantly rail against the state-owned press in Zimbabwe, charging The
Herald and The Sunday Mail with acting as "mouth-pieces" for
President Robert Mugabe. But "coverage of foreign affairs in the West is almost
wholly dominated by news media that are controlled by the wealthy, operating to
amplify the views of the Council on Foreign Relations and high state officials
who are either wealthy themselves or owe their position to the patronage of the
wealthy." In southern Africa, so-called "independent" media are in fact funded
by the British or U.S. governments. The Zimbabwean state has every right to
defend itself, through media.
Asks Congress to Stop Sending "Weapons of Mass Destruction"
"As we are about to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's
birthday, let us remember what he said. He said that the United States is the
greatest purveyor of violence on the planet. And guess what: we experienced a
little bit of that violence, because the weapons that are being used by Israel
are weapons that were supplied by the United States government."
"The Great Digital
Giveaway is the biggest squandering of public broadcast resources in the
history of the United States - a conspiracy involving both political parties
for the benefit of filthy-rich broadcast monopolies."
Oscar Grant was murdered by a transit cop on a Bay Area subway platform before hundreds of witnesses. To enable his killer to go free, he had to be murdered again and again in the media and the courts. This book, coming in January, tells the story of these multiple murders.
Teach For America Rap: A Scab is a Scab is a Scab
What do you call cheap "replacement workers" summoned by management? From the HBO series "Treme".
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Was the US and NATO's Libyan intervention a humanitarian campaign to protect Libyans against Muammar Gaddafi’s threats of mass violence and genocide, or was it a cynically “rehearsed military expedition” to force regime change and wield Western authority in the region? Far from being an action to save lives, NATO’s “indiscriminate” bombing of civilian targets and cities such as Sirte (Gaddafi’s birthplace) resulted in genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, and civil war..
The year that saw an African American run for the presidency as a viable contender also witnessed a truly remarkable silence. While millions of words written about the political ascent of one black man, there was virtually nothing about the descent of black leadership into well-nigh total ineffectiveness. Barack Obama’s personal itinerary was mapped in the minutest detail. The larger itinerary of African Americans was mostly ignored.