Thanks, again, Tim!
Re: 'STAR' Tests
"The kid has the state-mandated, reality-bereft 'STAR' tests this week. Hours of multiple guess that only proves the ability to control ones bladder. Yet, the (public) school's funding is tied into how well the kids perform."
I'm a high school teacher who had to give these tests this morning. It continues for THREE WEEKS in May. I've given the kids a pep talk and told them that they should give it their all, they could get a scholarship, it reflects on the school we are proud of, and so on. I really do want them to do well, and it shows. We even fed them free breakfast so they had the energy to think and stay awake for a change. BUT....
In a moment of clarity we also discussed how it was not their teachers' idea.
That is mostly benefits the corporations that wrote the tests, who bought the politicians who made the laws that require us to take them.
That Mr. Bush signed No Child Left Behind surrounded by executives from textbook publishers and ETS Educational Testing Services who produce tests.
That they really don't care about kids learning, they just want to get rich.
That speech you were just required to read by Ronald Reagan was total garbage.
That many who want "higher standards" for public schools would love to see us fail. They'd love to see vouchers with public money sucked from public schools go to rich kids who can already afford private schools.
Some public school teachers aren't just tools of our handlers.
Some of us have tenure.
Some of us are union members, and proud of it.
When Sec. of Education Rod Paige calls teachers' unions a "terrorist organization," some of us can say (but not in the classroom), go fuck yourself.
(Not sent from work either!)
Couldn't have said it better myself.
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Great weather - but, more heat is coming.
The hot weather should coincide with the Alaskan Grandmother's visit - great, just what we need, something more for her to bitch about.
The farmer's market had the first cherries of the season today.
Actors Mary-Louise Parker and Tony Roberts hold the Drama Desk Award after they read the nominations for the 49th annual presentation of the New York theater awards, in New York Thursday April 29, 2004. The musical 'Wicked' led the list with eleven nominations, followed by the revival of 'Assassins' and 'Henry IV' with seven nominations each.
Photo by Richard Drew
The Information One-Stop
Moose & Squirrel
Peril in the Air for Bush
A strange new sound has been crackling over the nation's radio airwaves, the same airwaves that have been dominated by Rush Limbaugh and other specialists in right-wing Sturm und Drang. Suddenly, in the thick of an election year, a left-leaning equivalent has emerged, riling a mass audience with scathing, eloquent attacks on the Bush administration.
The biggest surprise of all? The long-sought liberal talk radio hero isn't Air America's Al Franken, but that walking, talking wedge issue, Howard Stern.
Fittingly, the politicization of Stern began with a woman's bared breast. The Federal Communications Commission crackdown on broadcast indecency that followed Janet Jackson's Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction" hit Stern hard. The FCC proposed fining broadcast giant Clear Channel Communications $495,000 for several of Stern's raunchy utterances; Clear Channel promptly dropped Stern from its six stations that had carried him.
These days, Stern's broadcasts are divided between his usual schtick - interviews with strippers, off-color song parodies, jokes about celebrities - and rants against the president. Stern will never be mistaken for a policy wonk, but tune in to his show and you'll hear him cogently attacking administration positions on an impressive range of issues: stem-cell research, abortion rights, gay marriage, media consolidation, the handling of Iraq.
For the rest, Howard Stern
Snubbing Nightline Tonight
Sinclair Broadcast Group on Thursday ordered its eight ABC affiliates to pre-empt Friday's "Nightline" broadcast, saying the program, during which Ted Koppel will read the names of US military personnel killed in Iraq, is "motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq."
In a fax to press Thursday, the Baltimore-based media company whose holdings include 62 local TV stations, said that by airing Friday's Nightline program, "ABC is disguising political statements as news content."
If the Sinclair Broadcasting Group's track record of political contributions is any indication, executives at the media group have allowed their own political agenda to dictate the decision to bar the program from airing.
Investigates Dark Side of Time Travel
New 'Dr. Who'
Cult British sci-fi series "Dr. Who" is to get an edgy new Doctor in Christopher Eccleston who hopes to portray the time-traveler's "melancholy side" as he drifts through time and space.
The drama, which has been off air since 1989, was previously typified by tacky sets and foppish Doctors like Tom Baker in his multicolored scarf and floppy trilby.
Modern audiences "turn on the television to look into people's souls," Eccleston told the Daily Telegraph newspaper on Thursday. "That's basically what they're looking for -- human feelings and emotions."
He said the new Doctor would struggle with his "desire to belong" as he journeyed through alien civilizations.
New 'Dr. Who'
Celebrity twins Mary-Kate, left, and Ashley Olsen touch their new star after dedication ceremonies on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles' Hollywood district Thursday, April 29, 2004. They are the first twins to receive the Hollywood sidewalk honor.
Photo by Nick Ut
Visits Detained U.S. Asylum Seekers
The plight of children separated from their asylum-seeking parents was highlighted by American actress Angelina Jolie this week in visits to three Arizona sites where they are detained by the United States.
"Many of these children have survived tragedy so being separated from their families can only add to their suffering," said Jolie, 29, a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR and the star of the "Lara Croft" adventure films.
Jolie visited the Southwest Key facility for unaccompanied children in Phoenix; a federal Department of Homeland Security holding facility for more then 300 men, and a private corrections facility that provides beds for women under a contract with the Homeland Security agency, UNHCR said.
Heading MS Program
Teri Garr has been named the first national chair of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's Women Against MS program.
The program is an education and fund-raising program that has raised about $2 million in the past five years by holding charity luncheons.
The 55-year-old actress received the National MS Society's Shining Star Award in 2002, the second time the award had been given. The first recipient was actress Annette Funicello.
Signs Off NPR Today
Just shy of 25 years at the microphone, Bob Edwards is signing off Friday as host of National Public Radio's "Morning Edition."
Edwards' removal as one of the nation's most recognizable radio voices launched a petition drive and protests, but they haven't changed the decision by public radio executives to reassign him.
Edwards will become senior correspondent of NPR News, with reports appearing on all of the network's broadcasts. A permanent successor hasn't been named, but Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne will fill in starting Monday.
In The Kitchen With BartCop & Friends
Quits Film Over Donkey Killing
John C. Reilly
American actor John C. Reilly has left the shooting of the latest film by Danish director Lars von Trier in protest at the planned killing of a donkey as part of the script, film production company Zentropa said.
In one scene of the film "Manderley", currently being shot in Trollhaettan in southwestern Sweden, a donkey is to be killed on camera, a prospect which caused Reilly to resign from the crew.
Zentropa head Peter Aalbaek Jensen said none of the other actors, who include Bryce Dallas Howard, Danny Glover and Lauren Bacall had any problems with the donkey issue.
The donkey was to be put down anyway, and Von Trier's team got permission to keep it alive a little longer, for the purposes of the film, he said.
John C. Reilly
A new portrait of Prince Philip, husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, with a bluebottle fly resting on his shoulder and cress growing from his fingertip was unveiled in London, Thursday April 29, 2004. Acclaimed artist Stuart Pearson Wright said he aimed to remind the viewer of the 82-year-old Prince's mortality by featuring the metallic-blue fly, which breeds on decaying organic matter.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Delays Tour After Surgery
Diane Schuur, Grammy-winning jazz singer and pianist, has delayed her 25th anniversary tour for 10 days while she recovers from gall bladder surgery, her publicist said.
The two-time Grammy winner underwent surgery Wednesday in Naples, Fla., where she was appearing as part of the Concord Jazz Festival, according to a statement from the public relations firm Solters & Digney.
Her anniversary tour will resume May 7 in East Greenwich, R.I., followed by a weeklong engagement May 11 in New York City, the statement said.
Cartoonist Finds Success in Smaller Papers
Khalil Bendib used to be a full-time editorial cartoonist for California's San Bernardino County Sun, but decided it was too difficult to say exactly what he wanted in a mainstream-journalism job. So he opted out in 1995, and began syndicating his work to smaller publications -- including the ethnic and progressive press.
"Censorship and self-censorship are not exclusive to third-world countries," Bendib told Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) convention attendees. He said the increased corporatization of mainstream media into fewer hands has created a climate "often hostile to free expression" in that media.
Bendib added: "As a Muslim, Arab, and progressive, I have a least three strikes against me in John Ashcroft's America."
For more, Khalil Bendib
Menudo, the popular Puerto Rican teen pop band of the '70s and '80s, is being revived.
Menudo Entertainment bought all the merchandising and property rights about a month ago from Latin record executive Oscar Lloyd, and is working with talent agencies and radio stations in its search for band members, company spokeswoman Cathy Callegari said Wednesday.
Auditions for boys ages 10 to 16 are planned for this summer in the United States and Latin America. Plans are for finalists to be nationally televised and judged by a celebrity panel with worldwide viewer voting.
Formerly 'The Vidiot'
Hired By Clear Channel
Riding the wave of success of his NBC hit show "The Apprentice," Donald Trump will use the Clear Channel network to launch a national radio show, "Trumped!" starting June 15, the company said Wednesday.
The weekday show will span business and nonbusiness topics, including the real estate mogul's thoughts on the media and entertainment world as well as politics.
Leanne Brass, Collection manager of the Anthropology division at the Australian Museum, seen holding an arrow which was believed to have been made from the bone fragments of the famous 17th-century English explorer Captain Cook in Sydney in this July 2002 file photo.
Photo by David Gray
Credits Exile for His Success
Looking back on a filmmaking career filled with critical acclaim and Academy awards, Czech-born director Milos Forman has a simple explanation for his Hollywood success: He had no choice.
Unlike other foreign directors who returned home when Hollywood didn't pan out, Forman had to stay in the United States after the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968 and a hard-line Communist government took control.
So the only way for him to continue his career was to forge a new one in the United States, Forman told Reuters at the recent 47th San Francisco International Film Festival where he received a lifetime achievement award for directing.
For the rest, Milos Forman
Playing Pete Rose
Tom Sizemore will play Pete Rose in the upcoming made-for-television movie "Hustle."
Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, "Hustle" will depict Rose's downfall during the 1980s when a penchant for gambling destroyed his career and tarnished his legacy. Production begins in May and the movie airs Sept. 25 on ESPN.
For women of a certain age, Curves -- a physical-fitness chain -- seems like a blessing. No men, no mirrors. No expensive membership fees, no complicated dance-step routines.
What's not to like? Curves is inviting, rather than intimidating. Unlike many gyms, Curves fitness outlets don't feel like "meat markets" or look like nightclubs. By offering easy and accessible exercise, Curves helps some 2 million overweight and overworked middle-age women lose weight, get fit and improve their health -- just what public-health officials hector us to do.
So is there any reason why you shouldn't rush out to join this Wal-Mart of gyms that's helping so many women improve their health?
Well, yes. The owner, Gary Heavin, has given at least $5 million of his profits to some of the most militant anti-abortion groups in the country.
For the rest, 'Curves'
Laundry Label Calls President an 'Idiot'
Tom Bihn Bags
Insulting a president can be profitable, a Washington state bag maker has discovered, but it is best if the insult is written in French and tucked away on a tiny laundry label.
Labels on most of the backpacks, messenger and laptop bags made and sold by Tom Bihn have his company's contact information along with washing instructions in English and French along with a message reading: "Nous sommes desoles que notre president soit un idiot. Nous n'avons pas vote pour lui."
The translation reads: "We are sorry that our president is an idiot. We did not vote for him."
Tom Bihn Bags
A female golden monkey holds her newly-born baby at Hangzhou Zoo in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang province, Wednesday, April 28, 2004. Two monkeys gave birth to two cubs 10 days apart at the zoo recently.
Photo by Xinhua
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