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Archive for October, 2007

I told you once, i told you twice, I told you a thousands times! So-called public schools are failing our kids!
Instead of teaching our children the fundamentals we have school admins distributing condoms and birth control pills, diversity/multicutural classes, a now yoga and de-stress periods!
Give me a break!

Now an article shows that goverment school are “dropout factories.” Gotta love it folks.

1 in 10 Schools Are ‘Dropout Factories’

WASHINGTON- It’s a nickname no principal could be proud of: “Dropout Factory,” a high school where no more than 60 percent of the students who start as freshmen
make it to their senior year. That description fits more than one in 10 high schools across America.
“If you’re born in a neighborhood or town where the only high school is one where graduation is not the norm, how is this living in the land of equal opportunity?” asks Bob Balfanz, the Johns Hopkins researcher who coined the term “dropout factory.”
There are about 1,700 regular or vocational high schools nationwide that fit that description, according to an analysis of Education Department data conducted by Johns Hopkins for The Associated Press. That’s 12 percent of all such schools, about the same level as a decade ago.
While some of the missing students transferred, most dropped out, says Balfanz. The data look at senior classes for three years in a row to make sure local events like plant closures aren’t to blame for the low retention rates.
The highest concentration of dropout factories is in large cities or high-poverty rural areas in the South and Southwest. Most have high proportions of minority students. These schools are tougher to turn around because their students face challenges well beyond the academic ones – the need to work as well as go to school, for example, or a need for social services.
Utah, which has low poverty rates and fewer minorities than most states, is the only state without a dropout factory. Florida and South Carolina have the highest percentages.
“Part of the problem we’ve had here is, we live in a state that culturally and traditionally has not valued a high school education,” said Jim Foster, a spokesman for the South Carolina department of education. He noted that residents in that state previously could get good jobs in textile mills without a high school degree, but that those jobs are gone today.
Washington hasn’t focused much attention on the problem. The No Child Left Behind Act, for example, pays much more attention to educating younger students. But that
appears to be changing.
House and Senate proposals to renew the 5-year-old No Child law would give high schools more federal money and put more pressure on them to improve on graduation performance, and the Bush administration supports that idea.
The current NCLB law imposes serious consequences on schools that report low scores on math and reading tests, and this fallout can include replacement of teachers or principals – or both. But the law doesn’t have the same kind of enforcement teeth when it comes to graduation rates.
Nationally, about 70 percent of U.S. students graduate on time with a regular diploma. For Hispanic and black students, the proportion drops to about half.
The legislative proposals circulating in Congress would:
-Make sure schools report their graduation rates by racial, ethnic, and other subgroups and are judged on those results. That’s to ensure that schools aren’t just graduating white students in high numbers, but also are working to ensure that minority students get diplomas.
-Get states to build data systems to keep track of students throughout their school years and more accurately measure graduation and dropout rates.
-Ensure that states count graduation rates in a uniform way. States have used a variety of formulas, including counting the percentage of entering seniors who get a diploma. That measurement ignores the obvious fact that kids who drop out typically do so before their senior year.
-Create strong progress goals for graduation rates and impose sanctions on schools that miss those benchmarks. Most states currently lack meaningful goals, according to The Education Trust, a nonprofit group that advocates for poor and minority
children.
The current law requires testing in reading and math once in high school, and those tests take on added importance because of the serious consequences for a school of failure. Critics say that creates a perverse incentive for schools to encourage kids to drop out before they bring down a school’s scores.
“The vast majority of educators do not want to push out kids, but the pressures to raise test scores above all else are intense,” said Bethany Little, vice president for policy at the Alliance for Excellent Education, an advocacy group focused on high schools. “To know if a high school is doing its job, we need to consider test scores and graduation rates equally.”
Little said some students pushed out of high schools are encouraged to enroll in programs that prepare them to take the GED exam. People who pass that test get certificates indicating they have high-school level academic skills. But the research shows that getting a GED doesn’t lead to the kind of job or college success associated with a regular diploma.
Loretta Singletary, 17, enrolled in a GED program after dropping out of a Washington, D.C. high school that she describes as huge, chaotic and violent. “Girls got jumped. Boys got jumped, teachers (were) fighting and hitting students,” she said.
She said teachers had low expectations for students, which led to dull classes.
“They were teaching me stuff I already knew … basic nouns, simple adjectives.”
Singletary said a subject she loved was science but she wasn’t offered it, and complaints to administrators went unanswered. “I was interested in experiments,” she said. “I didn’t have science in 9th or 10th grade.”
A GED classmate of Singletary’s is 23-year-old Dontike Miller, who attended and
left two D.C. high schools on the dropout factory list. Miller was brought up by a single mother who used drugs, and he says teachers and counselors seemed oblivious to what was going on in his life.
He would have liked for someone to sit him down and say, “‘You really need to go to class. We’re going to work with you. We’re going to help you’,” Miller said. Instead,”I had nobody.”
Teachers and administrators at Baltimore Talent Development High School, where 90 percent of kids are on track toward graduating on time, are working hard to make sure students don’t have an experience like Miller’s.
The school, which sits in the middle of a high-crime, impoverished neighborhood two miles west of downtown Baltimore, was founded by Balfanz and others four years ago as a laboratory for getting kids out on time with a diploma and ready for college.
Teachers, students and administrators at the school know each other well.
“I know teachers that have knocked on people’s doors. They want us to succeed,” 12th-grader Jasmine Coleman said during a lunchtime chat in the cafeteria.
Fellow senior Victoria Haynes says she likes the way the school organizes teachers in teams of four, with each team of teachers assigned to a group of 75 students. The teachers work across subject areas, meaning English and math teachers, for example, collaborate on lessons and discuss individual students’ needs.
“They all concentrate on what’s best for us together,” Haynes said. “It’s very family oriented. We feel really close to them.”
Teachers, too, say it works.
“I know the students a lot better, because I know the teachers who teach them,” said 10th-grade English teacher Jenni Williams. “Everyone’s on the same page, so it’s not like you’re alone in your mission.”
That mission can be daunting. The majority of students who enter Baltimore Talent Development in ninth grade are reading at a fifth- or sixth-grade level.
To get caught up, students have 80-minute lessons in reading and math, instead of the typical 45 minutes. They also get additional time with specialists if needed.
The fact that kids are entering high schools with such poor literacy skills raises questions about how much catch-up work high schools can be expected to do and whether more pressure should be placed on middle schools and even elementary schools, say some high-school principals.
“We’re at the end of the process,” says Mel Riddile, principal of T.C. Williams High School, a large public school in Alexandria, Va. “People don’t walk into 9th grade and suddenly have a reading problem.”
Other challenges to high schools come from outside the school system. In high-poverty districts, some students believe it’s more important to work than to stay in school, or they are lured away by gang activity or other kinds of peer or family pressure.
At Baltimore Talent Development, administrators try to set mini-milestones and celebrations for students so they stay motivated. These include more fashionable uniforms with each promotion to the next grade, pins for completing special programs and pizza parties to celebrate good attendance records.
“The kids are just starved for recognition and attention. Little social rewards matter to them,” said Balfanz.
Balfanz says, however, that students understand the biggest reward they can collect is the piece of paper handed to them on graduation day.
Without it, “there’s not much work for you anymore,” he said. “There’s no way out of the cycle of poverty if you don’t have a high school diploma.”

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We were getting life altering world ending predictions for the hurricane season again this year and yet it was TAME to say the least. Not that I was not greatful for mother nature to bless us with a calmer season but all the alarmists in the MSM media were calling for a dire season.

So this year was one of the warmest years on record right?
Several records broken just last week in North East and The Chicago Marathon was canceled because it was too hot.

Yet where are all the Hurricanes.
Dr. Gray made his annual predictions for Hurricanes back at the beginning of the year. It was also revised downward from 17 named storms, nine hurricanes and five high-intensity storms to 13 named storms, 8 Hurricanes and 3 High intensity storms.

So far Gray has not gotten it all right after all. Mind you however, Dr. Gray is the leading Hurricane forecaster in the US if not the world and he got it wrong even with years of research and analysis.

Yet just last week Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize. Which is an absolute joke and a mockery of such a prestigious award. An award that is supposed to embody great scientific work for the betterment of man kind and in some ways bringing more peace to the world and you give it Al Gore? Who’s only real accomplishment is making OODLES of money touting Junk Science Global Warming.

I didn’t get it.
In Gores film (An Inconvenient Truth) he talked about the intensity of Hurricanes being directly related to Global Warming and how many more Katrina’s are waiting to happen. He made it sound so factual despite there being no real correlation to that notion.

In fact a Judge in the UK Ruled the film had 9 errors that it touts as facts. And that is just the proverbial tip of the ice berg.

In a stinging rebuttal to Gores claims of man made global warming and on the day of Gores announcement of winning the Peace Prize, Dr. Gray ripped Gore and his film a new one:

ONE of the world’s foremost meteorologists has called the theory that helped Al Gore share the Nobel Peace Prize “ridiculous” and the product of “people who don’t understand how the atmosphere works”.

“We’re brainwashing our children,” said Dr Gray, 78, a long-time professor at Colorado State University. “They’re going to the Gore movie [An Inconvenient Truth] and being fed all this. It’s ridiculous.”

“The human impact on the atmosphere is simply too small to have a major effect on global temperatures,” Dr Gray said.

He said his beliefs had made him an outsider in popular science.

“It bothers me that my fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong,” he said. “But they also know that they’d never get any grants if they spoke out. I don’t care about grants.”

So far gores winning of the Peace Prize has been seen as ridiculous and getting plenty of flak. Soon the rest of Al’s message will ring as just as ridiculous to folks as well.

But not yet, lets wait till after the Hurricane season this year is over. Watch all the light bulbs go off in peoples heads, hopefully they are Fluorescents.

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Yes folks, as though the Global warming BS could not get any weirder not Greenpeace wants everyone to eat more Kangaroo’s. I am shaking my head here too folks.

MORE kangaroos should be slaughtered and eaten to help save the world from global warming, environmental activists say.
The controversial call to cut down on beef and serve more of the national symbol on our dinner plates follows a report on curbing greenhouse gas emissions damaging the planet.

Greenpeace energy campaigner Mark Wakeham urged Aussies to substitute some red meat for roo to help reduce land clearing and the release of methane gas from flatulent cattle and sheep.

“It is one of the lifestyle changes we can make,” Mr Wakeham said.

“Changing our meat consumption habits is a small way to make an impact.”

The eat roo recommendation is contained in a report, Paths to a Low-Carbon Future, commissioned by Greenpeace and released today.

It also coincides with recent calls from climate change experts for people in rich countries to reduce red meat and switch to chicken and fish because land-clearing and burping and farting cattle and sheep were damaging the environment.

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Hey the DEA should take some pointers from the Canadians.
Makes perfect sense to me. But I am sure the ACLU would be all over this here in the US as some sort of right infringement here.

It’s not hard for police to identify the pot growers in this western Canada town: They merely scan residents’ utility bills to determine who is using a lot more power than the average homeowner.

Armed with that information, local authorities cut the power off to the home of the suspected offender, often leaving scores of pot growers without the artifical light and water needed to cultivate their home-grown cash crop.

British Columbia, with a population of four million, has an estimated 20,000 inhabitants who raise a potent local marijuana known here as “B.C. Bud.”

The plants, collectively worth nearly seven billion dollars each year, account for a whopping six percent of this province’s power consumption.

The labor-intensive crop is an energy sponge thanks in large part to the 1,000 watt halogen lights, fans, irrigation pumps and other equipment needed for their cultivation. As a result, the pot growers’ energy bills are about three times that of the average consumer.

Those energy consumption patterns drew the notice of authorities, who have benefitted from a 2006 law allowing BC Hydro, the area’s main power company, to share its residential power consumption records with local officials.

Armed with a list of likely offenders, a team of inspectors — including a firefighter, an electrician, an admistrative employee and two policmen — is dispatched to each suspect residence.

“We inspect between 70 and 80 homes a month, said Len Garis, head of firefighters in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver.

Inspectors are looking to verify, first and foremost, that the power lines’ insulation coating is in good condition and that the circuit breakers are working properly.

About 90 percent of the time, this is not the case: Inspections often reveal serious problems in the electrical connections as a result of the high demands placed on them. According to the city, pot growers’ homes have a 24 times greater chance than the average home of catching fire and burning down.

In the event of electrical problems, the current to the home is cut and cannot be reestablished until repairs are made.

The inspection team rarely sees the real target of the operation — the pot plants — because authorities are obliged by law to notify residents at least 48 hours prior to an inspection. The early tip usually gives the home pot grower more that adequate time to stow away his illicit crop.

“It’s not about a criminal operation, but simply a means of insuring security for the people,” said Joel Giebelhaus, an aide to Surrey’s mayor.

Since the beginning of inspections in 2006, the number of home cannabis plantations has dropped by 65 percent in Surrey and 14 other towns in the province participating in the power-cutoff approach to the war on drugs.

“I’m afraid of these inspections,” one local marijuana farmer told AFP, under condition of anonymity, acknowledging that without power, it would be impossible to operate the powerful lights he has going 18 hours a day to keep his pot plants growing.

It is not a one-sided battle however.

Marc Emery, who heads the “BC Marijuana Party,” a small political group pushing for the legalization of pot, insisted that the province’s offensive will prove futile, as growers figure out new methods to grow their crops without overtaxing the power infrastructure.

For example, one company selling hydroponic crop equipment also stocks a lamp that consumes 80 percent less energy than the traditional grow lamps.

In a counter-punch however, officials in some localities decided in late September to impose tighter restrictions on the companies selling hydroponic growing equipment.

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Wow I am like Totally Shocked…..

Few things I agree with Whoopi on an and this is one of them.

Sharpton responds to Whoopi’s demand for Duke lax apology

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Blogger Spins Facts.

I stumbled across another bloggers post about Michael Medveds recent Townhall.com article.

Round of applause for the Spin of the blog. Nice indeed. The Blogger falls WAY short of being anywhere near coherent or for that matter factual. In fact his liberal spin starts from the very Tittle of the post.
White conservative says slavery is exaggerated

Here are the basic FACTS that Medved lays out.

FACT:
SLAVERY WAS AN ANCIENT AND UNIVERSAL INSTITUTION, NOT A DISTINCTIVELY AMERICAN INNOVATION.

FACT:
SLAVERY EXISTED ONLY BRIEFLY, AND IN LIMITED LOCALES, IN THE HISTORY OF THE REPUBLIC – INVOLVING ONLY A TINY PERCENTAGE OF THE ANCESTORS OF TODAY’S AMERICANS.

FACT:
THOUGH BRUTAL, SLAVERY WASN’T GENOCIDAL: LIVE SLAVES WERE VALUABLE BUT DEAD CAPTIVES BROUGHT NO PROFIT.

FACT X100!:
IT’S NOT TRUE THAT THE U.S. BECAME A WEALTHY NATION THROUGH THE ABUSE OF SLAVE LABOR: THE MOST PROSPEROUS STATES IN THE COUNTRY WERE THOSE THAT FIRST FREED THEIR SLAVES.

FACT:
WHILE AMERICA DESERVES NO UNIQUE BLAME FOR THE EXISTENCE OF SLAVERY, THE UNITED STATES MERITS SPECIAL CREDIT FOR ITS RAPID ABOLITION.

Arbitrary:
THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT TODAY’S AFRICAN-AMERICANS WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF THEIR ANCESTORS HAD REMAINED BEHIND IN AFRICA.

—But if you are one of those African Americans that feel you would be there is always expedia.com—

Medved also lays out facts to his points made.
At no point in time does he even TRY to say that the horrors of slavery were exaggerated. Simply that the exaggeration is Americas complete and sole culpability in slavery as it is made out to seem by liberals and those seeking reparations.

I find the blog interesting in that in Point 2 he wants to point to the beginning of slavery from the point of the BRITISH COLONIES and not from the point of the US emancipation from Britain. Interesting indeed. Also interesting how Britain is never held culpable by any African Americans that are so gung-ho about the slave trade in the Americas. No blame rests ever on the Portugese that enslaves millions, none on the Spaniards either. Just on America itself but only to point the finger at America.

Fact is that the colonies were extensions of the British Empire and it is FACTUALLY correct and Historically correct to talk about America from the point of its emancipation from Britain.

LMFAO…. In the blog in part 3 he says basically that Medved used the true definition of genocide and then in part 4 blames him for not defining wealthy. LMFAO… This blogger is a moron.

In part 5 he solidifies his stupidity in this blog. Again discounting the fact that Slavery was not a American invention yet says it should not have happened. Fact is that again it did happen and happened often throughout history from the Sumerians all the way till TODAY with the sex slave trade around the globe. All are deplorable but America was the FIRST of the western Nations to stop Slavery in its tracks. Which is again Medveds point but the blogger loves to spin. Residual problems persisted in it yes as in Indentured Servitude and Civil Rights violations but that again has been sped up by Americans when even in Latin America and even in African countries being too dark is shun and those folks are treated differently.

On point 6. Africa MAY have been a different continent today had it not been for Slavery but it would PROBABLY I would venture to say it would be almost as savage as it is today. Probably more so. Still to this day you have tribes and regions killing each other but don’t believe me just look at Rwanda, Somalia and the Congo.

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:eek2::eek2::eek2:

Federal officers in Southern California over the last two weeks have arrested more than 1,300 immigrants, most of whom either have criminal records or have failed to abide by deportation orders — part of an intensifying but controversial effort across the nation to remove such violators.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which plans to announce the operation at a news conference in Los Angeles today, called the sweep the largest of its kind in the U.S. Nearly 600 of those arrested at homes, workplaces and in jails have already been deported.

“Where these laws may not have been enforced in the past, that has changed,” said Jim Hayes, Los Angeles field office director for ICE.

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, pressure has been growing on the federal government to crack down on illegal immigrants, especially those who have committed crimes. And ICE has been waging a public relations battle to show that it is addressing the problem.

In the recent ICE operation, nearly 90% of the immigrants arrested had criminal records, deportation orders or had reentered the United States after being removed. The rest, 146, were “collateral” arrests — people who encountered the agents and could not prove they were in the United States legally. Officers arrested 530 immigrants in their homes and workplaces and took custody of nearly 800 others from jails in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

The 1,327 arrests surpassed the 1,297 undocumented immigrants arrested by ICE agents at meat processing plants in six states last December, part of an investigation into identity theft.

The enforcement is the latest example of the how some local law enforcement agencies are cooperating with federal authorities to ensure that criminals are identified and deported, rather than simply released from jail. ICE recently created a 24-hour command center, complete with a specific e-mail address and phone number, where local law enforcement officers can exchange information with immigration agents to identify possible deportees.

Though Los Angeles police, under a controversial policy, do not routinely inquire about suspects’ immigration status, Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino counties have formal agreements with ICE that allow local sheriff’s officials to check the immigration status of inmates. ICE agents also work in some city jails, including Costa Mesa and Anaheim.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca called the partnership between ICE and jail personnel “very successful.” He said his department had identified and interviewed 8,000 illegal immigrant inmates in the county jail system between January and September.

“It shows the volume in Los Angeles County is significant when it comes to the managing of illegal immigrants that have committed local crimes,” Baca said.

In Orange County, officials found that about 10% of the 46,000 inmates that have gone through the system since mid-January were illegal immigrants.

“It’s exceeding our expectations,” Sheriff Michael S. Carona said of the screening program. “The communities are slowly but surely” buying into it. “We are not going down the street asking people for their immigration status.”

In many cities, there has been a rising backlash to special treatment of illegal immigrants, including in Los Angeles, where officers have long interpreted the department’s Special Order 40 as prohibiting them from asking the immigration status of suspects in most routine cases. Anti-illegal immigrant groups are suing to overturn the order.

The federal arrests also signal a change in how Immigration and Customs Enforcement deals with absconders and violators. In the past, most immigrants simply ignored their deportation orders, knowing there was little chance of arrest. Even those who were detained often posted bond and hid in plain sight in the community.

“There is no question that the immigration problems that our country is facing are problems that have grown over a long period of time,” said ICE Assistant Secretary Julie L. Myers. “Historically, the agency was not aggressively focused on detaining those who posed a risk of flight.”

But Myers said the agency is expanding bed space, detaining more immigrants and increasingly using alternatives to detention, such as electronic monitoring.

In 2003, ICE created 17 fugitive operations teams to target specific immigrants. As of this week, there are 75 such teams around the nation, including five in the Los Angeles area. Since the program’s inception, ICE teams have arrested more than 61,000 immigrants, including 17,331 who had criminal convictions.

Overall, there are an estimated 595,000 immigration fugitives in the United States, down 37,000 from a year ago — marking the first-ever decline, ICE authorities said.

About 1,100 of the recent arrestees were from Mexico. An additional 170 were from Central America, and others were from countries including Vietnam, Indonesia and Ireland. They had committed crimes such as burglary, domestic violence, assault and transportation of drugs, agents said. Some of them were legal, permanent residents who were deportable because of the crimes they committed.

The U.S. attorney’s office plans to prosecute more than 45 of the arrestees for reentry after deportation, a felony that could land them in prison for up to 20 years.

“These are people who, No. 1 , have no right to be in the United States legally and they’ve exacerbated that crime by committing additional crimes,” Hayes said. “These aren’t people that we want in our communities. These aren’t just people looking for work.”

At 5:15 a.m. last Thursday, several armed officers wearing bullet-proof vests met at a Food 4 Less parking lot in Maywood. Supervisory Agent Jorge Field ran through the list of targets they were seeking.

Among them was Ramon Yac Mahik. Field showed the officers his photo and recited his information: Male from Guatemala. Thirty-five years old. Previous convictions for vehicle theft and domestic violence. An Immigration Court ruled against him. His appeal was denied by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Several ICE vehicles pulled up quietly on his street in Los Angeles and within seconds the officers had surrounded the house. They knocked on the front door, but the people living at the apartment didn’t know him. Then a woman came down a side stairway leading to an upstairs apartment.

Field asked her name and her husband’s name. After getting permission to go inside, officers found Mahik. Field told him that he had an immigration warrant for his arrest. After the Guatemalan said goodbye to his children and gave his wife his boss’ phone number, he was handcuffed and escorted to a van.

Later that morning, he sat on a metal bench at an immigration processing center in Santa Ana. In an interview, he acknowledged his criminal record but said it was from years earlier and that he deserved to have a chance to stay in the United States. Mahik said he was ordered deported in 1999 after posting bond and then failing to show up in court.

He works in the garment industry and has three U.S.-born children, ages 16, 10 and 5. His wife was injured in a recent car accident and can’t work, he said.

“I don’t consider myself a criminal,” he said in Spanish. “I would like to fight to see if they let me stay here with my children. To leave them abandoned would be horrible for me. . . . And I don’t want them to suffer.”

The arrests break up families and create an unfair and inaccurate impression of the immigrant community, which is by and large law-abiding, said Reshma Shamasunder, director of the California Immigrant Policy Center. Enforcement actions also cause fear in immigrant neighborhoods and families that may include U.S. citizens.

“It directs public attention away from the real need to reform the immigration system overall,” she said. “This is not going to solve our problems. . . . This is just one narrow-minded, mean-spirited way of trying to fix the immigration problem.”

Anti-illegal immigration groups, however, said the action showed what the government can do when it is motivated to enforce the law.

“I hate to sound ungrateful, because we’re grateful for any enforcement,” said Rick Oltman with Californians for Population Stabilization. “But at this point, we’re wondering what took so long.”

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