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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 11:18 PM
Number of posts: 74,815

Journal Archives

The Talibangelicals' War on Critical Thinking continues


Kentucky's GOP lawmakers question standards for teaching evolution in schools

Linda B. Blackford
The Lexington Herald-Leader


Kentucky's Senate Republicans pushed successfully in 2009 to tie the state's testing program to national education standards, but three years later, they're questioning the results.

Several GOP lawmakers questioned new proposed student standards and tests that delve deeply into biological evolution during a Monday meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education.

In an exchange with officials from ACT, the company that prepares Kentucky's new state testing program, those lawmakers discussed whether evolution was a fact and whether the biblical account of creationism also should be taught in Kentucky classrooms.

"I would hope that creationism is presented as a theory in the classroom, in a science classroom, alongside evolution," Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, said Tuesday in an interview. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/08/15/3763138/kentuckys-gop-lawmakers-question.html#storylink=cpy



New York MTA: Suburban Passengers Get $7 Per Ride, Subway Riders, A Buck





NY’s MTA Chief said his agency contributes more than $7 to each Long Island Railroad passenger’s ride, compared to just over a dollar per subway ride.

Joe Lhota came out swinging Thursday in defense of the payroll mobility tax struck down by a state court Wednesday.

Lhota held a press conference in Grand Central Terminal to call the ruling ”flawed and erroneous.” He showed up armed with some figures. Suburban rides on Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad receive a bigger subsidy per ride, than NYC subway rides.

.....(snip).....

Now, there are millions of subway riders and only hundreds of thousands of LIRR riders (and we’re tracking down the additional figures to flush out this kind of comparison) but Lhota’s point is that the subsidy isn’t exactly a suburbs-to-city stream of tax money. The biggest winners are the riders of Long Island Rail Road, coincidentally, exactly the people who vote for Nassau County (aka Long Island) Executive, Ed Mangano, the man who filed the lawsuit challenging the mobility tax. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://transportationnation.org/2012/08/23/mta-suburban-passengers-get-7-per-ride-subway-riders-a-buck/



New York MTA: Suburban Passengers Get $7 Per Ride, Subway Riders, A Buck





NY’s MTA Chief said his agency contributes more than $7 to each Long Island Railroad passenger’s ride, compared to just over a dollar per subway ride.

Joe Lhota came out swinging Thursday in defense of the payroll mobility tax struck down by a state court Wednesday.

Lhota held a press conference in Grand Central Terminal to call the ruling ”flawed and erroneous.” He showed up armed with some figures. Suburban rides on Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad receive a bigger subsidy per ride, than NYC subway rides.

.....(snip).....

Now, there are millions of subway riders and only hundreds of thousands of LIRR riders (and we’re tracking down the additional figures to flush out this kind of comparison) but Lhota’s point is that the subsidy isn’t exactly a suburbs-to-city stream of tax money. The biggest winners are the riders of Long Island Rail Road, coincidentally, exactly the people who vote for Nassau County (aka Long Island) Executive, Ed Mangano, the man who filed the lawsuit challenging the mobility tax. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://transportationnation.org/2012/08/23/mta-suburban-passengers-get-7-per-ride-subway-riders-a-buck/



Howard Zinn at 90 -- Lessons from the People's Historian





Published on Thursday, August 23, 2012 by Common Dreams
Howard Zinn at 90 -- Lessons from the People's Historian

by Bill Bigelow


This Friday -- August 24 -- would have been the 90th birthday of the great historian and activist Howard Zinn, who died in 2010. Zinn did not merely record history, he made it: as a professor at Spelman College in the 1950s and early 1960s, where he was ultimately fired for his outspoken support of students in the Civil Rights Movement, and specifically the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); as a critic of the U.S. war in Vietnam, and author of the first book calling for an immediate U.S. withdrawal; and as author of arguably the most influential U.S. history textbook in print, A People's History of the United States. "That book will knock you on your ass," as Matt Damon's character says in the film Good Will Hunting.

It's always worth dipping into the vast archive of Zinn scholarship, but at the beginning of a school year, and as the presidential campaign heats up, now is an especially good time to remember some of Howard Zinn's wisdom.

Shortly after Barack Obama's election, the Zinn Education Project sponsored a talk by Zinn to several hundred teachers at the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference in Houston. Zinn reminded teachers that the point of learning about social studies was not simply to memorize facts, it was to imbue students with a desire to change the world. "A modest little aim," Zinn acknowledged, with a twinkle in his eye.

In this talk, available as an online video as well as a transcription, Zinn insisted that teachers must help students challenge "fundamental premises which keep us inside a certain box." Because without this critical rethinking of premises about history and the role of the United States in the world, "things will never change." And this will remain "a world of war and hunger and disease and inequality and racism and sexism." .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/08/23-6



MTA, NY Pols Fire Off on Court Decision Striking Down Key Transportation Tax


(New York, NY – WNYC) When news broke last night that a New York Supreme Court Justice had struck down a crucial transportation tax, the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority issued a tart remark that included a promise to “vigorously appeal today’s ruling.”

Then the authority’s financial officers had overnight to contemplate the prospect of having a $1.2 billion hole blasted into their annual budget if the ruling is upheld.

That could not have produced sweet dreams. Instead, it prompted the authority to send forth a more robust denunciation of Justice R. Bruce Cozzens Jr.’s finding that the tax, collected from 12 counties in and around New York City served by the NY MTA, was levied in a way that violated the state constitution.

MTA head, Joe Lhota said, ”the ruling is flawed as well as erroneous.” He added the lawsuit also contests four other dedicated taxes, totaling $1.8 billion peryear. ”The payroll mobility tax drives the entire economy of New York. Without the MTA, New York would choke on traffic,” he warned. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://transportationnation.org/2012/08/23/cuomo-ny-mta-fire-back-at-court-decision-striking-down-key-transportation-tax/



US Open Prognostication

I'm going to make my picks, but with two big caveats:

MEN -- Novak Djokovic, but it all depends on his state of mind. He really is the best player on hard courts with his ridiculous defensive skills, but something tells me he's just not mentally right at the present. If not, Mr. Federer collects GS no. 18.

WOMEN -- Serena Williams, but only if that mental/physical fatigue that was obvious in Cincy fades quickly. In the end, Serena is the only person who can defeat Serena. If she's still tired (she IS 31 now), she'll go out surprisingly early and Victoria Azarenka shrieks her way to her second GS title of the year.



A new bullet train whisks passengers from Beijing to Shanghai - 800 miles in a mere 5 hours




A new bullet train whisks passengers the 800 miles from Beijing to Shanghai - 800 miles in a mere 5 hours
August 20, 2012|By Huntly Collins, For The Inquirer


BEIJING - With its sparkling domed skylight, polished granite floor tiles, grand piano, and string of retail outlets such as Timberland and Nautica, the Beijing South Railway Station could compete with the world's finest for modernity and cleanliness.

It was here in December that we boarded China's new high-speed bullet train that whisked us off to Shanghai, more than 800 miles to the south, in just five hours. For efficiency and comfort at a relatively low price ($185 round-trip for second-class seats that were nicer than those on Amtrak's Acela), you can't beat it. Cruising at about 185 m.p.h., the bullet train provides a smooth, quiet ride through China's eastern industrial corridor as it snakes south through four provinces before reaching its terminus at Shanghai's Hongqiao Rail Station. This is like leaving Philadelphia's 30th Street Station at 10 a.m. and arriving in Atlanta by 3 p.m.

Opened with much fanfare on June 30, 2011, the Beijing-to-Shanghai line is the world's longest high-speed railway. It was constructed in just three years at a cost of $32 billion, part of the massive government stimulus package that helped cushion China from the ravages of the global financial crisis. Not surprisingly, the rapid infusion of money into the state-run railway system brought not only economic stimulus but also corruption, mismanagement, and lax safety oversight. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://articles.philly.com/2012-08-20/news/33273369_1_bullet-train-high-speed-rail-system-train-crashes



Drew Peterson has received love letters since trial started


Is someone looking to become the next late Mrs. Peterson?



Drew Peterson has received love letters since trial started
By MICHAEL SNEED msneed@suntimes.com August 22, 2012 7:48PM


Sneed is told accused wife murderer Drew Peterson has received a pile of “love letters” since his trial began in Will County several weeks ago.

◆ Go figure: “The love and friendship letters are primarily from women . . . approximately 90 percent,” said Peterson’s attorney Joel Brodsky. “Most are from women who want to meet him.”

◆ Peterson, the jailed former Bolingbrook cop, gets “nine letters a day” doled out to him at the jail, but he’s been told jail administrators are “holding a truckload,” Brodsky tells Sneed.

◆ Incoming: Sneed hears jail guards were surprised and hesitant at first to give Peterson the incoming pile of letters.

◆ Background: Peterson, who has been in jail awaiting trial for the past three years for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio — the mother of two of his six children — initially received letters from love-struck women convinced of his innocence — but the river of mail dried up over the last year. Even his ex-girlfriend stopped visiting him. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.suntimes.com/14660546-761/drew-peterson-has-received-love-letters-since-trial-started.html



Jobless Claims in U.S. Climb for Second Week to One-Month High


(Bloomberg) The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits climbed last week to a one-month high, showing little progress in the labor market.

Jobless claims rose by 4,000 for a second week to reach 372,000 in the period ended Aug. 18, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 41 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 365,000. The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, increased to 368,000.

Companies may be keeping payrolls lean after slashing headcounts during the recession while waiting for further assurances that economic growth will pick up. The European debt crisis and slowdown in Asia remain headwinds to investor and business confidence.

“It’s still very sluggish, and growth itself is implying we should not see any acceleration in hiring at this point,” Yelena Shulyatyeva, a U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York, said before the report. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-23/jobless-claims-in-u-s-climb-for-second-week-to-one-month-high.html



Economic crisis impacting Europe's coffee culture





from the WSJ:


MADRID—Deepening economic troubles have reached the soul of Southern Europe: the local café.

Across the region, consumers are forsaking daily visits to local coffee bars—considered by many to be the cornerstone of social life—as unemployment, wage cuts and higher taxes slash household budgets.

While Europe's per-capita coffee consumption remains the highest in the world, demand for less expensive options is growing. This trend has upended coffee markets, where coveted arabica coffee had traded at a hefty premium to its bitter counterpart, robusta, for more than two years.

Prices for arabica beans have dropped 30% so far this year while the cost of robusta has climbed 18%, moves that traders attribute largely to shifting demand in Europe. Meanwhile, the gap between the prices of the two coffees recently had shrunk to its smallest since July 2009, when the continent's debt problems were developing. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444082904577605492272301750.html


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