Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC,

This is one idea that really should be passed around.

We're ALL in this mess together ... it's up to us to fix it ... for our kids!
Read and pass on to 20 of your friends...
Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC,
offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling ...
"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC.
"You just pass a law that says that any time there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP,

all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election."
The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds)
took only 3 months and 8 days to be ratified! Why?
Simple! The people demanded it.
That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.
Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution,
seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land
all because of public pressure. Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email
to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.
In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message.
This is one idea that really should be passed around.
Congressional Reform Act of 2012
1. No Tenure/No Pension
A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.
2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately.
All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

It may not be used for any other purpose.
3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.
Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
5. Congress loses their current health care system
and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 12/1/12.
The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.
Congress made all these contracts for themselves.
Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s),
then go home and back to work.
If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days
for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message.
Don't you think it's time?
If you agree, pass it on.
If not, delete.




Monday, November 12, 2012

Bad Teaching Practice #1: "I am Only Going to Teach Those Who Are Ready To Learn"

Excerpt from article:  To read more click on the link below

I chose this excerpt due to the fact that it clearly outlines the differences between PUBLIC and CHARTER schools!
By Anthony Cody on November 12, 2012 6:51 PM
I cannot help but relate this to a similar phenomenon that is happening on a much bigger scale. One of the things that makes public schools such a valuable resource is that we accept all comers. Unless students set things on fire or bring weapons to school, they have that seat reserved for them. But our public schools are now facing intense competition from charter schools, some of which set up selective criteria. Some require parental involvement, or push students out with zero tolerance disciplinary codes. Some charter schools have been found to lose the lower performing students through attrition, and not replace them when they leave. Charter schools have been found to have lower numbers of special education students and English learners. These schools are, in a way, doing the same thing that novice teacher suggested as her strategy - focusing on the "students who want to learn."
Carried to its logical conclusion, this leads to a situation where the regular public schools house the rejects, the special education students and English learners, and those most damaged by poverty, and the selective charter schools march proudly forward with those "who are ready to learn." This creates a downward spiral for the public schools, as their resources become overwhelmed by the burden of educating the neediest students, and their declining reputation results in people with options moving their children out. We end up with, on a societal level, the kind of win-lose scenario we work so hard in our classroom to overcome. If we want our communities to function well, we cannot tolerate this. For this reason we must make sure our public schools thrive, and are not starved when forced to compete with schools that do not make room for all students.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Urbanathlon Workout

Get in shape for any obstacle with this boot camp style circuit
By Jill Yaworski, Posted Date: May 19, 2011

Read more at Men's Health:


Obama makes history, again

(CNN) -- A black man is returning to the White House.

Four years ago, it was a first, the breaking of a racial barrier. Tuesday night, it was history redux.

In the midst of national splintering and a time of deep ideological animosity, Americans elected President Barack Obama to a second term. And thousands rejoiced in his victory, one that seemed sweeter and, perhaps, more significant.

"This is affirmation that his color doesn't matter and that his message resonated with people," said Yale University sociologist Jeffrey Alexander, author of "Obama's Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power."

"It is very important in that it will indicate that an African-American can be viewed for what he says and not what he is."

Had Obama lost the election, he would likely have been remembered in history as the first black president, and maybe little else, Alexander said.

Now, he has a chance to create a legacy rooted not in his identity, but in his ideas.

"If this country wants President Obama to have another term, I'm ready to say that it's a significant moment," he said.

As an African-American, Lee understood the power of 2008. But his excitement was measured.

He knew the nation was tired then of two costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a sinking economy and an administration that he felt excluded ordinary people. He thought Arizona Sen. John McCain was a weak candidate and that the cards were stacked in Obama's favor. Four years later, Obama traversed a much tougher road, Lee said.

Americans had a strong alternative in the Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. The nation, he felt, was no longer in a desperate state and voters had more of a choice. Despite that, they elected a black man. Again.

"They sent a message to the world that whatever racist proclivities might exist are not enough to preclude Obama from winning," Lee said.

"We cannot deny that this is new social space we occupy in this country."

A changing America, Lee believes, will be very much a part of Obama's national conversation in a second term. That includes a stronger stance on race relations, an issue some believe Obama had to distance himself from in his first term for political expediency. For that, he drew criticism from African-Americans with high expectations of a black president.

"Can you imagine knowing you're the first black president and you have to win the Midwest to win a second term?" he said. "It's such a thin thread that holds together his ability to win as a black candidate.

"The constraints are not going to be there in his second term. He's going to have much more swagger."

In playwright and New York radio show host Esther Armah's estimation, Obama's re-election feels more historic than his first because of what she views as a tide of callousness toward people of color.

She criticized measures like the new voter ID laws in several states, which she said obstruct participation and "desecrated" American democracy. She said re-electing Obama represented a denunciation of those measures and the Republican presidential candidate who supported them.

"It's really important to recognize that this was not just a choice to put someone back into the White House," Armah said, "but a choice to reject a man who demonstrated callousness."

"I have exhaled. I am breathing," she said.

Obama's victory, said CNN contributor Van Jones, was possible because of the support of a coalition of people who reflect America's demographics.

"Nobody believed four years ago that you could have black folks and lesbians and gays and Latinos and young folk standing together to move the country forward," said Jones, a former special adviser to Obama.

But Obama was demonized, he said, and turned into a cartoon character. African-Americans asked if someone like Obama is not acceptable, then who is?

"There is vindication here," Jones said. "This is a backlash against the backlash. You saw African-Americans stepping up, Latinos stepping up, young people stepping up ... saying we're better than we've been seeing on the attacks on this president."

The challenge for Obama in the next four years, however, will no longer be racial in nature, Alexander said. It is certain to be ideological.

Obama won't ever have to run for office again, but he will have to make his case for policies, Alexander said.

"His goal has been to be a post-polarization candidate, and he naively believed he could do that as a president," he said. "He didn't want to be a highly partisan figure. As a result, he couldn't control the political debate. He's going to have to keep campaigning and not become a policy wonk."

Obama seemed to recognize that in his victory speech early Wednesday in Chicago, the city where he first fostered hopes and launched dreams.

He told the roaring crowd, made up of that previously improbable coalition, that he planned to sit down with Mitt Romney in the weeks ahead to chart a new course for the country.

"We believe in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant's daughter who pledges to our flag, to the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the street corner, to the furniture worker's child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a diplomat or even a president," Obama said.

"We will rise and fall as one nation, and as one people. It doesn't matter if you are black or white, young or old, rich or poor. You can make it in America, if you're willing to try."

It was a reflection of his own journey, of a man who'd made it as a two-term black president.

Big gains for women in 2012

Washington (CNN) – In some quarters, Election Day 2012 turned into ladies night.

With CNN projecting wins for Rep. Tammy Baldwin in the Wisconsin Senate race and Heidi Heitkamp in the North Dakota race, 20 women now hold seats in that chamber. Furthermore, New Hampshire now has an all female congressional delegation and a newly-elected female governor, former state Sen. Maggie Hassan.

Democrat Elizabeth Warren beat incumbent Republican Scott Brown in the high profile Massachusetts Senate race.

There was at least one notable loss. Republican Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love lost to Democrat Rep. Jim Matheson in Utah's 4th Congressional District race.

Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill defeated Republican challenger, U.S. Representative Todd Akin-whose comments about a woman's body preventing pregnancy after "legitimate rape" helped upend the race and ultimately may have helped cost him the election.

Democratic women's groups applauded the wins.

"It's been an incredible night we're seeing a record number of Democratic women elected to office," said Jess McIntosh, a spokeswoman with Emily's list, an organization which works to help pro-choice, Democratic women get elected to office. "It says voters saw a clear contrast between the parties …there was an absolute rejection of extremist Republican (proposals)."

But Democrats weren't the only beneficiaries of efforts to crack the glass ceiling in politics.
Over in Nebraska, Republican Deb Fischer won the seat currently held by retiring Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson.

And even though, as of this writing, votes haven't been tallied in Hawaii, that state is guaranteed a female senator since Democrat Mazie Hirono faced off against Republican Linda Lingle.
The gains by female candidates are especially historic in a year in which rhetoric about the so-called "war on women" drew into sharp relief ideological differences on such issues as abortion and contraception.

A Gallup Survey conducted in mid October found that women in the swing states differed greatly from men when asked to name the most important issues facing their gender in the 2012 election.
"A plurality of female registered voters offered abortion (39%) as the most important issue for women, followed by jobs, healthcare, the economy, and equal rights," the Gallup survey found. "In contrast, men see jobs (38%) and the economy (37%) as the two most important issues facing men."

Likewise, 60% of female registered voters in 12 key states, rated government policies on birth control as an extremely/very important issue influencing their vote, versus 39% of registered male voters.

And there are some indications that social issues directly impacting women might have helped sway votes.

Tuesday's early exit polls showed 51% of Missouri voters say they believe abortion should be legal all or most of the time. Of those voters, exit polls showed 76% supporting McCaskill while 19% voted for Akin.

Forty-seven percent of Missouri's voters said abortion should be illegal. Exit polls showed Akin netted 67% of this group's votes while 27% of people who think abortion should be illegal supported McCaskill.

Starting in January 2013, the following women will be serving as U.S. senators:

Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), 1987-

Dianne Feinstein (D-California), 1992-

Barbara Boxer (D-California), 1993-

Patty Murray (D-Washington), 1993-

Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), 1997-

Susan Collins (R-Maine), 1997-

Deborah Stabenow (D-Michigan), 2001-

Maria E. Cantwell (D-Washington), 2001-

Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), 2002-

Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), 2007-

Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), 2007-

Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), 2009-

Kay R. Hagan (D-North Carolina), 2009-

Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-New York), 2009-

Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), 2011-

Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), 2013-

Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), 2013-

Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), 2013-

Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), 2013-

Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), 2013

CNN's Joe Von Kanel contributed.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Social Security combats bullet rumors

By Lateef Mungin and Michael Pearson, CNN

 (CNN) -- Praise the Internet and pass the ammunition: the blogosphere is roiling with conspiracy theories over a Social Security Administration shopping list for 174,000 hollow-point bullets.

Depending on whom you believe, police who protect Social Security Administration officers are either preparing for impending financial doom by purchasing lethal ammo to put down rioting citizens, or they're just making a standard purchase of ammunition for a federal police agency.

It all began last month when the agency, which is primarily responsible for distributing benefits to the disabled and retired people, posted an announcement seeking bids for 174,000 hollow-point bullets.

Why? cried some bloggers.

Infowars, a website operated by right-wing talk show host Alex Jones, wanted to know if the agency was preparing for "civil unrest."


When to take Social Security?

"Social Security welfare is estimated to keep around 40 per cent of senior citizens out of poverty. Should the tap run dry in the aftermath of an economic collapse which the Federal Reserve has already told top banks to prepare for, domestic disorder could ensue if people are refused their benefits," it said in a post.

Each bullet potentially "represents a dead American," wrote retired Maj. Gen. Jerry Curry, an Army vet.

"If so, why would the U.S. government want the SSA to kill 174,000 of our citizens, even during a time of civil unrest?" Curry wrote on the conservative website The Daily Caller, founded by commentator Tucker Carlson.

Conspiracy theorists had previously speculated that a purchase of hollow-point bullets by the Department of Homeland Security was similarly meant to quell impending riots. A few years ago, theorists similarly questioned why the Federal Emergency Management Agency was stockpiling body bags and other supplies, suggesting the agency was preparing for civil collapse.

In the face of the furor, the Social Security Administration's public affairs shop -- which spends most of its time issuing releases about speeding disability decisions or looking up benefits information -- issued a statement explaining that its 295 agents need the bullets for target practice and to protect the agency's 66 offices across the nation.

"These investigators have full law enforcement authority, including executing search warrants and making arrests," the agency said in an August post. "Our investigators are similar to your state or local police officers. They use traditional investigative techniques, and they are armed when on official duty."

Hollow point bullets are standard-issue items for many police agencies, the Social Security Administration said. The bullets expand when they hit a target and can help prevent injuries to bystanders from bullets passing through a body, according to police.

Investigators "use this ammunition during their mandatory quarterly firearms qualifications and other training sessions, to ensure agent and public safety," the administration added.

This is just the latest in a long history of uniquely American anti-government conspiracy theories, said Kathryn Olmsted, a University of California at Davis history professor and author of "Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories in American Democracy."

That another one would surface in the midst of a contentious election cycle and continued unease over the nation's financial future is not all that surprising, Olmsted said Tuesday.

But this one, she said, seems particularly tenuous.

"It strikes me as one of the more extreme conspiracy theories," Olmsted said. "I'm surprised it has any traction."

Yet it does.

"You don't use hollow point bullets for target practice," one Twitter user posted Tuesday. "Sorry we're not buying it social security agency. #youarefullofit."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Who Has Confidence In U.S. Schools?

Posted by Matthew Di Carlo on October 24, 2012

For many years, national survey and polling data have shown that Americans tend to like their own local schools, but are considerably less sanguine about the nation’s education system as a whole. This somewhat paradoxical finding – in which most people seem to think the problem is with “other people’s schools” – is difficult to interpret, especially since it seems to vary a bit when people are given basic information about schools, such as funding levels.

In any case, I couldn’t resist taking a very quick, superficial look at how people’s views of education vary by important characteristics, such as age and education. I used the General Social Survey (pooled 2006-2010), which queries respondents about their confidence in education, asking them to specify whether they have “hardly any,” “only some” or “a great deal” of confidence in the system.*

This question doesn’t differentiate explicitly between respondents’ local schools and the system as a whole, and respondents may consider different factors when assessing their confidence, but I think it’s a decent measure of their disposition toward the education system.

First, let’s see the distribution of responses overall, as presented in the graph (I limited the sample to respondents 25 years or older).

Only a small slice of Americans (about 16 percent) express “hardly any confidence” in U.S. education, while roughly one in four (27 percent) say they have “a great deal.” But most respondents (58 percent) take the middle road – expressing “only some” confidence. On the whole, the majority of Americans have at least moderate confidence in the school system.

Now, let’s break this down by a small selection of core characteristics, as in the graph below.

This figure is a bit bulky, but when you eyeball it, you’ll notice that there aren’t many stark differences between these groups (remember that these are smaller samples, and so there’s more noise in the estimates). Somewhat surprisingly, Democrats, Republicans and independents don’t vary too much in their views, and the same goes for men and women, and people with and without children.*
Moving down to the very bottom of the graph, which presents the breakdown by age, the differences are very modest, but the relationship appears to be non-linear. Faith in the system is highest among the youngest and oldest cohorts, and lowest toward the middle (as always, there are age/cohort issues here).
Although the lack of differences between subgroups is the most noteworthy feature of these simple tabulations, one thing that also stands out is the relatively high confidence levels from the least educated respondents – those without a high school diploma. About 43 percent of this group expresses “a great deal” of faith, compared with 20-25 percent among other groups. Similarly, confidence is significantly higher among minorities (36 percent) than among white respondents (24 percent).
In a future post, I hope to take a closer look at these results by fitting some models, as these characteristics are all interrelated. In the meantime, what these data would seem to suggest is that the Americans who are typically viewed as being most poorly served by the education system – e.g., high school dropouts and minorities – seem more likely to exhibit high levels of faith in that system.
- Matt Di Carlo
* The wording is as follows: I am going to name some institutions in this country. As far as the people running these institutions are concerned, would you say you have a great deal of confidence, only some confidence, or hardly any confidence at all in them – Education?
** As would be expected, a more disaggregate breakdown by party affiliation shows that “strong Republicans” are significantly different from “strong Democrats,” but the discrepancies are not as large as one might expect. In contrast, when you ask respondents to identify as liberal or conservative, there is a huge uptick in the proportion expressing “hardly any” confidence among people identifying as “extremely conservative.”

Common Core Standards by Todney Harris

American education in the twenty first century has been affected by poverty, low student performance, an ever changing parental structure and most importantly, federal legislation and enforcement for educators and students.  During the last fifteen years or so, technology has taken an important role in the manner in which students are learning and performance related outcomes.  Internet and social media have led to globalization within the field of education.  Through the use of hardware and software, students can not only learn differently but can remain in contact with educators once the traditional classroom hours have expired. In addition, educators can have additional means to stay in contact with parents through technology.  Software Programs have been created to track student performance that parents can monitor through the use of software programs in the Internet.  In order to make use of this technology, the means through which students are learning and performing have been addressed through the creation of new Common Core standards which many states have begun to implement.  Therefore, curriculums must be completely rewritten in order to meet the requirements of the new Common Core Standards.

So, what is Common Core?  The standards were developed by David Coleman and Susan Pimentel two lead authors of the new standards.  The standards involve all grade levels and many educators, parents, and education experts have all contributed to the creation of the standards. The purpose for the creation of the CSS is to standardize the means through which all students are learning in addition to performance related outcomes via projects and or examinations.  The primary purpose is to educate students in preparation for global competition.  Again, technology has transformed the manner in which business is conducted.  In order to be competitive, students must be given the tools necessary to compete in a global economy.  Therefore, the CSS standards give educators a standardized means of teaching with clear expectations and give the students clear expectations for learning as well.

Thus far, the state of Connecticut has adopted the new CSS standards as of July 7, 2010.  The curriculums are being written in response to the new standards.  Language Arts, Mathematics and Social Studies content areas have been revamped to meet the needs of the new CSS standards.  Technology has an important role in standard implementation.  How?  Students are given the opportunity to use digital media, software programs and Internet to apply the research based skills that are a requirement in the CSS standards.  For example, within the content area of Social Studies, as students explore and master content, they must improve their ability to locate and interpret information and their ability to share that information through reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing and presenting. Social studies information comes in a variety of formats, from text to picture to graph, from newspaper to blog to geographic information system. Some of these formats may challenge students, but they need to experience all these media to build the analytical and evaluative skills of effective citizens.

As a Social Studies educator, it is my humble opinion that the CSS standards will benefit students.  It is apparent that these new standards if given the proper support via state departments of education,  can be beneficial for all parties.  I look forward to working with the students based on these new standards which will supplant the NCLB testing requirements in the near future.  Performance related outcomes based on student interest and involvement will help with motivation for learning in addition to performance related outcomes.  If students are given choices, then it is my humble opinion that student achievement will increase exponentially.

Todney Harris.



Still 'paranoid' after all these years By Todd Leopold, CNN

What is your opinion?  Thoughts?  Comments?  Questions?

Still 'paranoid' after all these years

By Todd Leopold, CNN

(CNN) -- Ever have the feeling you're being lied to by the news media, the authorities, the corporate world? That somebody -- or something -- is out to get you?


You're not alone.


Welcome to 21st-century America.

Look around. Trust is hitting historic lows. Just a third of Americans have a favorable view of the federal government, a decline of 31% since 2002, according to the Pew Center for People and the Press. Gallup has Congress' approval rating is in the low 20s, after nearing single digits last summer. And the news media aren't much better off.


"Negative opinions about the performance of news organizations now equal or surpass all-time highs on nine of 12 core measures the Pew Research Center has been tracking since 1985," a Pew report said.


Add in our wired, social media-addicted world, and rumors reign. You've heard them all, whether they involve the presidential candidates, global climate change or illegal immigration.

 To finish reading the article, click on the link below:

A white man asked his black friend, “Are you voting for Barack Obama just because he’s black? The black man responded by saying, “Why not? In this country men are pulled over every day just because they’re black; passed over for promotions just because they’re black; considered to be criminals just because they’re black; and there are going to be thousands of you who won’t be voting for him just because he’s black! However, you do not seem to have a problem with that! This country was built on the sweat and whip of the black slaves’ back, and now a descendant of those same slaves has a chance to lead the same country, where we weren’t even considered to be HUMANS but rather property, where we weren’t allowed to be educated, drink from the same fountains, eat in the same restaurants, or even vote. So yes! I’m going to vote for him! But it’s not just because he’s black, but because he is hope, he is change, and he now allows me to understand when my grandson says that he wants to be president when he grows up, it is not a fairy tale but a short term goal. He now sees, understands and knows that he can achieve withstand and do anything, just because he’s black.".....


Hit Your Peak: 8 Tips For Max Muscle by Shannon Clark
Hit Your Peak: 8 Tips For Max Muscle

If your biceps and behind aren’t blooming fast enough, it might be time for you to take a look at your training routine. Check out these 8 training tips for added size and shape!

You've been under the bar for a while, but you're a little disappointed—you haven't built the size or achieved the shape you so desperately want. Your chest could be wider. Your back could be thicker. You could have more defined shoulder caps and a sharper biceps peak. What you need, my friend, are some tweaks.

Strength and size training have many similarities, but there are some particular things you can do to get the most from your hypertrophy workouts. Try these eight tips to build muscle, shape, and density.


Superset For Size

To do a superset, pair two exercises and perform them back-to-back with no rest in between. It's best to do supersets with antagonist muscles like the biceps and triceps, or quads and hamstrings. Supersets are great for increasing muscle size because they enhance the release of testosterone, which is key to building muscle.

Supersets also enhance hypertrophy because they represent a higher-intensity workout. Your muscles have to adapt to the extra sets and low rest. Because they're working so hard, your muscles must adapt. Often, that adaptation is increased size.

You can superset compound exercises, but compound movements aren't always best for getting that refined, defined look. They're good for strength and mass, but if you're trying to build a bodybuilder body, use isolation movements.


Add High-Rep Isolation Movements

Finishing your workout with high-rep isolation movements like biceps curls, triceps extensions, lateral raises, leg extensions, or hamstring curls is a great way to increase the overall blood flow to your muscles. This pump will give you a more defined appearance while you lift, but it also helps bring the necessary muscle-building nutrients to your muscles.

Doing high repetitions causes glycogen depletion during the workout. Your body will compensate for this by increasing the amount of glycogen stores in the muscles. This, in turn, will enable you to perform at a higher level next time around. Eventually, you will be able to store more muscle glycogen, which can further increase your size.


Use a Pre-Workout Product

Supplements designed to be taken before a workout have transformed over the years. Some of the best ones are all-encompassing cocktails that will help you maximize your muscularity. Most supplements in this category focus on the effects from stimulants that will knock your socks off. If they help you focus and train harder, then these cognitive enhancers can be a huge advantage to your training session.

In addition to helping you get in the zone, most pre-workout products also include ingredients that will directly affect your muscles and reduce fatigue. This usually includes creatine, which supplies the phosphate needed to fuel your anaerobic activities in the gym, not to mention directly increasing muscle volume (making you look fuller).