hanging from the ceiling by a bottle

(no subject)
spin with a grin.

Don't play politics with the facts. (subtitle: Repugs are getting desperate)
spin with a grin.
On September 10 and 11, ABC Television is planning to run an inaccurate film depicting the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks. The film was written by an avowed conservative and it largely places the blame for failing to prevent the attacks on the Clinton administration while whitewashing the failures of the Bush administration.

Our review of the film shows it to be full of such inaccuracies. Its distorted version of history is inconsistent with the 9/11 Commission Report, upon which it claims to be based. The events leading up to September 11, 2001 are too important and too tragic to play politics with the facts.

In addition, ABC is sending letters to 100,000 high school teachers encouraging them to see this movie. Such brainwashing should be stopped.

Tell ABC to tell the truth about 9/11 - A project of ThinkProgress.org

Lunch w/ a thirsty Solopsist.
spin with a grin.
She was sitting at the café, her chin propped on two closed fists on the table, staring intently at three glass pitchers: one full of mango juice, one full of watermelon juice, one full of guava juice.

She didn't look up at me when she spoke. She said, "I've been looking so long at these pitchers of juice that I almost believed they were real."

spin with a grin.
PUBP603 - Quantitative Methods II (3 credits), Professor Jaeger

This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of econometrics. The emphasis is on those techniques that are of most use to social scientists and policy analysts. PUBP602 and PUBP605 will supply the prerequisite skills. The course will begin with regression estimation and the theory of least squares including examination of Gauss-Markov assumptions, the least squares estimator, and properties of estimators, transformations, consistency versus unbiasedness, inference and hypothesis testing, and multiple regression. Next is a discussion of econometrics when the Gauss-Markov assumptions are violated. Topics include autocorrelation, heteroskedasticity, specification error, simultaneous equations, lags and distributed lag models, omitted variable bias, limited dependent variables, pooling time series and cross section data, multicollinearity, regression diagnostics, and prediction and simulation.

I keep a hand cupped over one eye to focus my attention.
spin with a grin.
Today was deja vu. Work. Bad news. Not unexpected, really.

17 days now until a subtle/significant change. Life keeps moving me along, and I find it easier to accept, accept, bend with its motions, keep moving, moving, we're almost there. Motion then peace. Peace then comfort.

Follow me as if I knew the way.

(no subject)
spin with a grin.

craving cheesecake.
spin with a grin.
why does every food i love contain dairy?

quick summary.
spin with a grin.
-second job
-virginia apartment hunting
-east hall attic
-new 'ped
-jared diamond

(no subject)
spin with a grin.
New York Times
April 15, 2006

Law to Segregate Omaha Schools Divides Nebraska


OMAHA, April 14 — Ernie Chambers is Nebraska's only African-American state senator, a man who has fought for causes including the abolition of capital punishment and the end of apartheid in South Africa. A magazine writer once described him as the "angriest black man in Nebraska."

He was also a driving force behind a measure passed by the Legislature on Thursday and signed into law by the governor that calls for dividing the Omaha public schools into three racially identifiable districts, one largely black, one white and one mostly Hispanic.

The law, which opponents are calling state-sponsored segregation, has thrown Nebraska into an uproar, prompting fierce debate about the value of integration versus what Mr. Chambers calls a desire by blacks to control a school district in which their children are a majority.

Civil rights scholars call the legislation the most blatant recent effort in the nation to create segregated school systems or, as in Omaha, to resegregate districts that had been integrated by court order. Omaha ran a mandatory busing program from 1976 to 1999.

"These efforts to resegregate schools by race keep popping up in various parts of the country," said Gary Orfield, director of the Civil Rights Project at Harvard, adding that such programs skate near or across the line of what is constitutionally permissible. "I hear about something like this every few months, but usually when districts hear the legal realities from civil rights lawyers, they tend to back off their plans."

Nebraska's attorney general, Jon Bruning, said in a letter to a state senator that preliminary scrutiny had led him to believe that the law could violate the federal Constitution's equal protection clause, and that he expected legal challenges.

The debate here began when the Omaha district, which educates most of the state's minority students, moved last June to absorb a string of largely white schools that were within the Omaha city limits but were controlled by suburban or independent districts.

"Multiple school districts in Omaha stratify our community," John J. Mackiel, the Omaha schools superintendent, said last year. "They create inequity, and they compromise the opportunity for a genuine sense of community."

Omaha school authorities and business leaders marketed the expansion under the slogan, "One City, One School District." The plan, the district said, would create a more equitable tax base and foster integration through magnet programs to be set up in largely white schools on Omaha's western edge that would attract minority students.

The district had no plans to renew busing, but some suburban parents feared that it might. The suburban districts rebelled, and the unicameral Legislature drew up a measure to blunt the district's expansion.

The bill contained provisions creating a "learning community" to include 11 school districts in the Omaha area operating with a common tax levy while maintaining current borders. It required districts to work together to promote voluntary integration.

But the legislation changed radically with a two-page amendment by Mr. Chambers that carved the Omaha schools into racially identifiable districts, a move he told his colleagues would allow black educators to control schools in black areas.

Nebraska's 49-member, nonpartisan Legislature approved the measure by a vote of 31 to 16, with Mr. Chambers's support and with the votes of 30 conservative lawmakers from affluent white suburbs and ranching counties with a visceral dislike of the Omaha school bureaucracy. Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican facing a tough primary fight, said he did not consider the measure segregationist and immediately signed it.

Dr. Mackiel, the Omaha superintendent, said the school board was "committed to protecting young people's constitutional rights."

"If that includes litigation, then that certainly is a consideration," Dr. Mackiel said.

Some of Nebraska's richest and most powerful residents have also questioned the legislation, including the billionaire investor Warren Buffett as well as David Sokol, the chief executive of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, which employs thousands in Nebraska and Iowa.

"This is going to make our state a laughingstock, and it's going to increase racial tensions and segregation," Mr. Sokol said in an interview.

The Omaha district has 46,700 students, 44 percent of them white, 32 percent black, 21 percent Hispanic and 3 percent Asian or Native American. The suburban systems that surround it range in size from the Millard Public School District, with about 20,000 students, 9 percent of whom are members of minorities, to the Bennington district, with 704 students, 4 percent of whom are members of minorities.

Parent reaction is divided. Darold Bauer, a professional fund-raiser who has three children in Millard schools, said he was pleased that the law had eliminated the threat of busing, although he said he was not thrilled about sharing a common tax levy with the Omaha schools.

"What this law does is protect the boundaries of my district," said Mr. Bauer, who is white. "All the districts in the area are now required to work together on an integration plan, and I'm fine with that, because my kids won't be bused."

Brenda J. Council, a prominent black lawyer whose niece and nephew attend Omaha's North High School, said of the law, "I'm adamantly opposed because it'll only institutionalize racial isolation."

Whether the law goes unchallenged is unclear. "We believe the state may face serious risk due to the potential constitutional problems," Attorney General Bruning said in his letter.

But Senator Chambers, a 68-year-old former barber who earned a law degree after his election to the Legislature in 1970, was unmoved. He lists his occupation as "defender of the downtrodden," and suggests that is precisely what he is doing.

"Several years ago I began discussing in my community the possibility of carving our area out of Omaha Public Schools and establishing a district over which we would have control," Mr. Chambers said during the debate on the floor of the Legislature. "My intent is not to have an exclusionary system, but we, meaning black people, whose children make up the vast majority of the student population, would control."

During an interview in his office, Mr. Chambers took time out to answer calls questioning the plan. He told several people bluntly that they were misinformed, but he remained polite.

"You call me anytime, whether you agree with me or not," he signed off one conversation.

He acknowledged that he had nursed a latent fury with the Omaha district since enduring the taunting of schoolmates during classroom readings of "Little Black Sambo" when he attended during the 1940's. He also accused the district of returning to segregated neighborhood schools when it ended busing in 1999, although no high school is more than 48 percent black.

Other black leaders in Omaha criticized the new law.

"This is a disaster," said Ben Gray, a television news producer and co-chairman of the African-American Achievement Council, a group of volunteers who mentor black students. "Throughout our time in America, we've had people who continuously fought for equality, and from Brown vs. Board of Education, we know that separate is not equal. We cannot go back to segregating our schools."

Pat Robertson: fascist is as fascist does.
spin with a grin.

From Americans United for Separation of Church and State:

Liberian President Charles Taylor is known for many things: accused embezzler, jail escapee, human rights abuser and rebel leader responsible for starting a bloody civil war. Taylor can now add a new title to his resume: Pat Robertson business partner.

According to a report published yesterday in The Virginian Pilot, the TV preacher reached a deal with Taylor that allows a Robertson-owned company, Freedom Gold Ltd., to mine for gold in the Bukon Jedeh region of Liberia. The company, which lists Robertson as its president and sole director, was reportedly formed offshore in the Cayman Islands last December.

"Clearly, Robertson's greed knows no bounds," said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Religious Right watchdog group. "This gold-mining deal with a vicious tyrant is shocking even by his standards.

"If there's profit to be made, it seems Robertson doesn't care who he has to deal with," Lynn added. "Despite all the rhetoric and grandstanding, this deal shows Robertson is more interested in money than morality."

The Virginian Pilot story reports that Taylor fled to the United States in 1983 after allegedly stealing $1 million from the Liberian government. After being arrested by U.S. officials, he escaped from a Massachusetts jail in 1985. Four years later, backed by armed rebels, Taylor began a civil war in which half of Liberia's 3 million people were killed or displaced.

Human rights observers have reported extensively on the appalling atrocities that took place during the seven years of fighting, including the killing, torture and forced labor of Liberian civilians. The Virginian Pilot reported one incident in which Taylor critic Samuel Dokie, his wife and two others were killed after being taken into custody by members of Taylor's special security bodyguards.

Two weeks ago, Taylor temporarily removed virtually his entire Cabinet and several heads of public corporations after these employees failed to attend a prayer service ordered by Taylor. "Any government official who does not know God will not serve in my government," the Virginian Pilot quoted Taylor as saying.

According to the Norfolk newspaper, the new financial deal will need ratification from the Liberian legislature. If it passes, the country's government will receive a 10 percent equity interest in Robertson's gold-mining company. After an exploration period, 15 percent of shares in the company will be available to Liberian investors.

Robertson's interest in African mining is not new. In the early 1990s, another African dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, gave Robertson diamond-mining rights in Congo (a country then known as Zaire). That enterprise ultimately led to a Virginia state investigation when two pilots reported that Robertson relief planes intended for humanitarian purposes were actually used to transport equipment for the diamond-mining operation. The results of that investigation are still pending.

Robertson, who heads the Christian Coalition and serves as president of the Christian Broadcasting Network, is claiming the gold-mining deal is intended to benefit the Liberian economy.

Americans United is a church-state watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. that monitors the Religious Right. Founded in 1947, the organization represents 60,000 members and allied houses of worship in all 50 states.


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