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Social Justice Shorts

February 25th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

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1. OMG! BARACK SAID “CHARTER SCHOOLS!!!!”

Andy Rotherham at Eduwonk points out that it’s interesting to read the chattering about last night’s speech at Politico’s THE ARENA. Mostly the reviews are very good. Many were (rightly) enthusiastic about Obama’s emphasis on education. But there were a few total freak outs about Obama’s single, very short mention of his support for (gasp!) charter schools. (“And we will expand our commitment to charter schools.”)

Cálmate, people.

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2. CITING COST, STATES CONSIDER HALTING DEATH PENALTY

I’m telling you, this is the direction things are trending. From the NY Times.

(Money….DNA reversals….racial disparities….bad injection cocktails…..the NAS Forensics report…

The tide is beginning to reverse.)

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3. BUSH SNEAKS ONE BY US: CARRYING CONCEALED WEAPONS IN NATIONAL PARKS

One of the sneaky little last minute items that the Bush Administration rushed through before it high-tailed out of town on January 20, was a National Rifle Association-driven rule change to allow loaded, concealed firearms in all national parks (except those located in two states: Wisconsin and Illinois, which do not permit concealed weapons). The former rule, put in place by the Reagan Administration, required that firearms transported through national parks be safely stowed and unloaded.

Park advocates are suing to overturn this piece of junk.

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4. WILL HEARST REALLY SHUTTER THE CRON AND MAKE SF NEWSPAPERLESS?

The announcement yesterday that Hearst will try to cut, sell, or close the San Francisco Chronicle (in that order) was a shock. If the latter takes place. SF would be the first big U.S. city not to have a newspaper.

That would be a very, very bad thing.

Here’s what Recovering Journalist has to say.

And here from the NY Times.

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5. FORMER LITTLE LEAGUERS TAKE THE STAND AGAINST A.R. GRACE

In the trial that started Monday, four who played Little League in the Libby baseball fields amid piles of vermiculite, took the stand yesterday and talked about how ill they have become from asbestos exposure.

Trust me, it never bodes well when the Little Leaguers are testifying against you.

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6. REEFER-TAX MADNESS

The LA Times gets partway to sanity and and sorta semi maybe argues for a change in Federal marijuana laws as it slams Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s slightly loopy idea to Tax the State’s Tokers. (As I said, Tom’s idea is only partially whacky, as it does tend to ignore that pesky Federal law standing in the way.) Weed, as it turns out, is California’s biggest cash crop.

Hey, listen, Betty Yee, chair of the state Board of Equalization, which collects taxes in California, is totally for the idea since she estimates it would bring the state $1.3 billion a year.

Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments »

19 Responses

  1. reg Says:

    I’ve found Prof. Harris-Laswell very annoying in the past – she used her alleged “expertise” as an Ivy League professor of poli-sci and Af-Am Studies to throw water on the notion that Barack Obama could possibly get elected President. Next time I saw her she was all dressed up for the party. Not as bitter as Shelby Steele, but certainly not much help when it was needed. She’s entitled to her opinions, but the mantle of academia suggests a little more responsibility in differentiating them from “analysis” and tossing them around in the media. Now I have to say that her comment you linked to is very, very creepy and utterly out-of-touch. Charter schools are open for debate. But that she shifts from simple “disgust” at the very mention of charter schools to self-satisfaction about her own job security as a teacher is just about the most tone-deaf shit one could imagine.

  2. reg Says:

    It’s kind of funny to see Profs. Harris-Lacewell and Ravitch on the same page. Ravitch, of course, is also full of it. Charter schools aren’t even close to a solution to the problems of our school systems, but if she thinks more “regulation” is the solution to the problem – or that charter schools don’t offer some space for parents and educators to experiment and attempt to create localized alternatives in districts that have records of utter failure – she’s completely crazy IMHO. Some charters turn out to be terrible and close down – some are excellent. Bringing the language of “regulation” vs. “deregulation” into the discussion of school reform is idiotic. Presumably Ravich is a standardized test freak. That approach has really worked out well. That Obama got slammed by both of these gals speaks well of him.

  3. Woody Says:

    Did you see the look on Pelosi’s face when Obama mentioned Charter Schools?

  4. reg Says:

    There was a time when I would have gotten exercised about the possibility of shutting down the Chronicle – it would have seemed unthinkable. In 2009 – frankly I don’t give a damn. It’s a terrible paper – I quit subscribing months ago and very rarely go to their website. The Chron was always a bit of a joke, but when Herb Caen was alive it had the feel of helping hold the city together. There were others who wrote for the paper who commanded one’s respect and had a following. Of course, the city isn’t the same city either, so it’s no surprise its scribes are increasingly monochromatic and dispensable. What minor service they provide in mediocre local reporting will get picked up some way, some how. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but IMHO the Chron is such a non-essential piece of crap few will miss it. It might just be better to end the charade, get rid of it and let the next generation of local journalism – which WILL arise – take its place. I used to be a compulsive reader and now I wouldn’t spend a dime on the thing. Since I’m more news-oriented than the average person, that says about all Hearst needs to know. Sad but true. But not terribly sad. It amazes me that in the Bay Area a creative publisher couldn’t sell a daily newspaper. There was a time when, crappy as the Chron was, no self-respecting San Franciscan or even Bay Area denizen wouldn’t read the thing for one or another columnist – Caen, Ralph Gleason, Hoppe, Charles McCabe. Now they’re down to one guy I used to like who unfortunately writes too many columns about his cats and his granddaughter. The current cultural stuff is a bore. Hearst at one time had Hunter Thompson writing for his old Examiner. If he had any ambition at all, I’m certain the Chronicle could have stayed on people’s radar. Just not as a bad imitation of a boring daily newspaper. Apparently the “new” Hearst is now braindead. No surprise that was reflected in his product.

  5. dacalicious Says:

    I swear I’m not a one-issue kinda guy, but I was waiting for Celeste to mention Wacky Tom’s pot-taxation scheme … Despite the glee with which the blood-sucking Board of Equalization took to the idea, there’s one huge problem here … What has been decriminalized/legalized in this state (& others) is MEDICINAL marijuana. As in, you need a doctor’s recommendation/prescription to buy or possess it. Therefore, unless I’m mistaken (& please, somebody, correct me if I am), would this not be the first incident in Ca. of PUTTING A STATE SALES TAX ON PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE? The door that this opens has appalling implications, & I’m surprised/dismayed that not one “journalist” at Amiano’s press conference thought this was a point worth raising.

  6. Celeste Fremon Says:

    Dacalicious, very good point. You’re so right. That’s another issue that further muddies the situation.

    Actually he’s talking about decriminalizing marijuana altogether, medicinal and not. But that doesn’t change your point.

  7. reg Says:

    Wouldn’t pot sold under medical prescription be exempted under the current tax scheme ?

    All Ammiano is doing is using his power to submit legislation to force debate over the idiotic criminalization of marijuana and sweetening the “pot” so to speak by dangling dreams of revenue over lawmakers heads. This is legislation as protest or performance art. Obviously doesn’t have a chance of passing. But, of course, it should.

  8. John Moore Says:

    BUSH SNEAKS ONE BY US: CARRYING CONCEALED WEAPONS IN NATIONAL PARKS

    Heaven forbid we should be able to defend ourselves in a National Park.

    Go on, Democrats. Fight against our rights to self defense. It’s a good way to lose, like you did in 1994

  9. Woody Says:

    Speaking of sneaking one by us, take a look at Democrats’ stimulus packages which sneak every socialist program by us under the guise of helping the economy.

  10. Woody Says:

    Oh, but here’s a good one. Obama wants to ban more guns from U.S. citizens so that Mexican drug dealers won’t be able to obtain any. That’ll stop them! Only in a liberal mind does that make sense.

  11. John Moore Says:

    As if the Mexican drug dealers are buying “assault weapons” in the US anyway. The Mexicans are using sub-machine guns, which are real assault weapons, not the semi-autos that the left keeps wanting us to think are “assault weapons” and that they want to ban.

    The difference: AK-47 “assault weapon” semi-auto – each time you pull the trigger, it goes bank. AK-47 sub-machine gun (what the Mexicans and many militaries use): each time you pull the trigger, it goes brrraaaappp and fires many bullets.

    The former are legal for anyone to own in the US. The latter cannot be manufactured or imported for civilian use, cost $10,000 and up (I priced one the other day), and can only be purchased by someone with with a special permit.

    Needless to say, the drug runners, etc don’t need to pay $10,000 for a sub-machine gun. On the world market, an AK-47 full auto is a few hundred dollars.

  12. John Moore Says:

    bank

  13. Randy Paul Says:

    As if the Mexican drug dealers are buying “assault weapons” in the US anyway

    Oh they certainly appear to be:

    The Mexican agents who moved in on a safe house full of drug dealers last May were not prepared for the fire power that greeted them.

    When the shooting was over, eight agents were dead. Among the guns the police recovered was an assault rifle traced back across the border to a dingy gun store here called X-Caliber Guns.

    Now, the owner, George Iknadosian, will go on trial on charges he sold hundreds of weapons, mostly AK-47 rifles, to smugglers, knowing they would send them to a drug cartel in the western state of Sinaloa. The guns helped fuel the gang warfare in which more than 6,000 Mexicans died last year.

    Mexican authorities have long complained that American gun dealers are arming the cartels. This case is the most prominent prosecution of an American gun dealer since the United States promised Mexico two years ago it would clamp down on the smuggling of weapons across the border. It also offers a rare glimpse of how weapons delivered to American gun dealers are being moved into Mexico and wielded in horrific crimes.

    Right there in Arizona.

  14. "reg" Says:

    Randy – surely you don’t believe the communist New York Times is a better source of information on all things guns and ammo than Crazy John Moore…after all he just explained to us liberals the difference between an automatic and a semi-automatic weapon using the kinds of sounds that kids in second grade are so adept at. This is the kind of knowledge that only gun experts – and people who own television sets or go to movies – generally have access to. Of course he forgot to note the fundamental distinction that makes a gun a classic military assault weapon as opposed to older generations of army rifles or machine guns – selective fire. He’s right in that under US regulatioins, assault weapons are defined primarily by overall design rather than by the semi-auto/automatic fire option.

    The real mystery that lingers, however, is why the hell even a semi-auto in the assault weapon family would possibly be the firearm of choice for a normal person, since they’re too low-caliber for hunting (even banned for deer hunting in somes states) and less reliable than a shotgun for home defense, other than fulfilling the weird fantasies of poseurs. So-called assault weapons – whether soley semi or selective-auto – were designed specifically for military operations – compact and versatile in the relatively short range of combat, with smaller cartridges, larger magazines, simple action, lower accuracy and less recoil than a high-powered rifle – which is why outside of combat they’re favored by gangs and gun nuts.

  15. Randy Paul Says:

    Actually reg, I’m more surprised (or perhaps I shouldn’t be) that he’s so utterly unaware about a story that has been in his hometown newspaper for nearly a year.

    Gotta agree with you on the self-defense and hunting issues. You need accuracy at a distance when hunting deer (which is why I have so much more respect for bow hunters) and I’d much rather have a pump-action twelve gauge for home defense than an AK47.

    There’s got to be a Freudian element to it as well. Given the incessant whining from the starboard side these days, they should just man up and grow a pair.

  16. John Moore Says:

    In leftist logic, one exception makes a trend.

    What I do see in my home town paper is lots of stories about the drug cartel using automatic weapons – and there have been a number of cases where they have been used in Arizona.

    after all he just explained to us liberals the difference between an automatic and a semi-automatic weapon using the kinds of sounds that kids in second grade are so adept at.

    I was aiming for your reading comprehension level, reg.

    Of course he forgot to note the fundamental distinction that makes a gun a classic military assault weapon as opposed to older generations of army rifles or machine guns – selective fire.

    Since that distinction is utterly irrelevant to the debate about banning “assault weapons.” It is the media and anti-gun nuts who leave out the critical distinction which is the ability for fully automatic fire in a true assault weapon.

    The rhetoric about “assault weapon” availability in the United Sates exacerbating the drug war in Mexico is just an excuse to ban the weapons. There are more AK-47s in the world than any other kind of firearm, and most of them are fully automatic.

    Then we get this lunacy:

    The real mystery that lingers, however, is why the hell even a semi-auto in the assault weapon family would possibly be the firearm of choice for a normal person, since they’re too low-caliber for hunting (even banned for deer hunting in somes states) and less reliable than a shotgun for home defense, other than fulfilling the weird fantasies of poseurs.

    An AK-47 or derivative fires a cartridge with almost the exact ballistics of a 30-30, a long time weapon of choice for those in the wild, because of its combination of adequate deadliness and relatively low weight.

    An AK-47 variant makes a fine general purpose carbine – low cost, available in a wide variety of styles, and lots of ammunition capability.

    The hunting red-herring is typical in this debate – as if hunting is the only valid reason to own a weapon. At least you guys throw in self defense. So are those the only reasons one can have to justify owning a firearm?

    But about hunting… An AK-47 or derivative fires a cartridge with almost the exact ballistics of a 30-30, a long time weapon of choice for those in the wild, because of its combination of adequate deadliness and relatively low weight. That it is not a deer rifle doesn’t make it useless. Besides, I have no interest in shooting Bambi’s (that’s deer, for you, reg).

  17. Randy Paul Says:

    In leftist logic, one exception makes a trend.

    When you don’t have the facts on your side, you manufacture strawmen.

    I never used the word trend, but that didn’t stop you from attempting to put words in mouth.

    An adult when he was wrong. Don’t be such a wussy. Man up.

  18. Randy Paul Says:

    That should say an adult acknowledges when he is wrong.

  19. Randy Paul Says:

    As to whether it is a trend or not, who should I believe, JM you or the ATF under GWB:

    Nearly all illegal guns seized in Mexico come from the United States, the head of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Monday.

    ATF acting director Michael Sullivan said investigators have traced 90 to 95% of the weapons found in Mexico to the U.S. Generally, only law-enforcement officers or military personnel can legally possess guns in Mexico.

    Sullivan, speaking at the fifth annual Border Security Conference at the University of Texas at El Paso, said the weapons are being traced as part of an effort by the U.S. and Mexico to stop the illegal flow of guns south.

    “In Mexico, investigators have provided some tremendous leads … to weapons trafficking organizations,” Sullivan said.

    One bust came in May, when the owner of a Phoenix gun shop was arrested on charges that he knowingly sold hundreds of weapons to “straw purchasers” who funneled the weapons to violent drug cartels in Mexico. Two Mexican men accused of helping to set up the sales also were arrested.

    Better to do a modicum of research rather than merely let that knee jerk.

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