ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
"When you go to dig your fields, or make a pot from clay, you are disturbing the balance of things. When you walk, you are moving the air, breathing it in and out. Therefore you must make payments."
Oh, unraveling planet, exploited, polluted, overrun with berserk human technology. How does one face it with anything other than rage and despair, which quickly harden into cynicism? And cynicism is just another word for helplessness.
So I listen to the Arhuaco people of northern Colombia, quoted above at the Survival International website, and imagine — or try to imagine — a reverence for planetary balance so profound I am aware that when I walk I disturb it, so I must walk with gratitude and a sense of indebtedness. Walk softly, walk softly . . .
Instead, I live in this world:
"Deep sea ecosystems are under threat of mass industrialization, warned a panel of scientists on Sunday," according to Common Dreams.
JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
In "The Wizard Of Oz," Dorothy assessed the odd things she was experiencing and said to her little dog, "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."
Lately, Sen. Pat Roberts has gained a new understanding of what Dorothy meant. The Kansas Republican has been in the U.S. Senate for 18 years, was in the House for 16 years before that, and was a congressional aide before that. So he's been away for a long time, and now that he's running for another six-year senate term. Roberts has learned that the Kansas he thought he was from — a state of relatively moderate, Eisenhower-style Republicans — has become the Political Land of Right-Wing Oz.
A rabidly extremist, Koch-headed, tea party Republicanism has taken hold of the GOP's primary process and blown out the moderates. The upshot for Roberts is that a hard-right core of Republican voters are now howl-at-the-moon lunatics who demand ideological purity over everything else. Worse for Pat, they've put up one of their own to run against him in the August primary.
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
BuzzFlash at Truthout isn't breaking any new economic theory in stating that corporations and the 1% -- incuding the increasingly dominant Wall Street financial stranglehold on the economy -- are actually quite happy with permanently high (as long as it doesn't cause political de-stabilization) unemployment.
1) The most important value to high unemployment to the 1% is in the ever-increasing profit margin that comes from lowering the cost of labor by decreasing salaries and benefits. This result from competition for jobs among a group of desperate employment seekers is that they have no choice but to accept low-paying jobs.
Therefore, while the media likes to use the benchmark unemployment statistics as a sign of the economy "improving" if the government figure goes down, the 1% actually sees its lopsided share of US assets increase when the unemployment figures are higher and wages lower.
This reality, largely ignored by the mainstream media, is of course facilitated by the trade partnership agreement globalization of jobs to lower cost settings, devaluing the US labor market even further.
GEORGE LAKOFF FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Charles J. Fillmore, one of the world's greatest linguists — ever — died last Thursday, February 13, at the age of 84 in San Francisco. He was the discoverer of frame semantics, who did the essential research on the nature of framing in thought and language. He discovered that we think, largely unconsciously, in terms of conceptual frames — mental structures that organize our thought. Further, he found that every word is mentally defined in terms of frame structures. Our current understanding of "framing" in social and political discourse derives ultimately from his research, whose importance stretches well beyond linguistics to social and political thought — and all of intellectual life. The world has lost a scholar of the greatest significance.
"Chuck," as he was known throughout the linguistics world, got his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1961 and taught at Ohio State University until 1971, when he came to the University of California at Berkeley. Chuck's wife of 40 years, Lily Wong Fillmore, put herself through college and then through graduate school at Stanford, winding up as Professor of Education at Berkeley. She was his constant companion, sounding board, alter ego, the greatest cheer in his life, and much more.
Chuck taught at Berkeley for 23 years until his retirement in 1994. As a Professor Emeritus, he ran a research project on Frame Semantics called FrameNet at the International Computer Science Institute at UC Berkeley for 18 years until 2012, when he became ill.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Libre Initiative, and he was having success hunting around for funding.It was late-2011, and with the presidential election a little more than a year away, Daniel Garza, a former staffer in George W. Bush's White House public liaison office, was pretty darned optimistic. Garza had established a project called the
Garza hoped to raise $1 million by the end of the year. According to The Center for Public Integrity, high on Garza's list of prospects was "representatives of the Koch family." Ultimately, "Garza declined to say ... whether Koch interests ... committed any funds yet to the initiative, a 501 (c) (4) which is permitted to keep donors names secret."
Flash forward to the early days of this year, and with control of Congress at stake in November, the Koch Brothers, GOP officials and its surrogates and campaign funders, once again has their eyes on the Hispanic vote.
And, that's where Daniel Garza and his Mission, Texas-based Libre Initiative comes into play. And, as might be expected, he is again bubbling with optimism.
Veteran journalist Chris Moody recently reported in Yahoo News that "A group of Hispanic conservatives is ramping up an aggressive campaign to attract Hispanic voters as part of an ongoing effort on the right to bring more minorities into the fold."
PAUL BUCHHEIT ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Profit-seekinghas victimized Americans. Now it's b eginning to happen in education, with our children as the products.
There are good reasons - powerful reasons - to stop the privatization efforts before the winner-take-all free market creates a new vehicle for inequality. At the very least we need the good sense to slow it down while we examine the evidence about charters and vouchers.
1. Charter Schools Have Not Improved Education
The recently updated CREDO study at Stanford revealed that while charters have made progress since 2009, their performance is about the same as that of public schools. The differences are, in the words of the National Education Policy Center, "so small as to be regarded, without hyperbole, as trivial." Furthermore, the four-year improvement demonstrated by charters may have been due to the closing of schools that underperformed in the earlier study, and also by a variety of means to discourage the attendance of lower-performing students.
EUGENE ROBINSON ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Oh dear. The Republican Party's worst nightmare is coming true. Obamacare is working.
The news that nearly 1.2 million people signed up last month for insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchanges is highly inconvenient for GOP candidates nationwide. It looks as if the party's two-word strategy for the fall election -- bash Obamacare -- will need to be revised.
Wednesday's status report on the health insurance reforms was by far the best news for Democrats and the Obama administration since the program's incompetent launch. January was the first month when new enrollments surpassed expectations, as the balky HealthCare.gov website began functioning more or less as intended.
Cumulatively, 3.3 million people had chosen insurance plans through the state and federal exchanges by the end of January. That is fewer than the administration originally hoped, but well above the predictions of critics who believed -- or hoped -- that the program would never succeed. The Congressional Budget Office now projects that 6 million people will have chosen plans through Obamacare when the initial enrollment period ends March 31, down from a pre-launch estimate of 7 million. Not bad at all.
The numbers are even more encouraging when you look more closely. The proportion of young people -- from 18 and 34 -- who chose insurance plans through the exchanges increased slightly to 27 percent, compared with an average of 24 percent in previous months. This is important because premiums would have to rise if not enough young, healthy people enroll.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
"The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy."
This is how we talk about learning, growth and the human future?
Things are getting worse in the American classroom, not better. The experts and the special interests purporting to fix the educational system are continuing, instead, to asphyxiate it.
The grandiose quote, above, in which "our young people" show up as abstractions needing to be prepped for some simplistic, highly competitive imaginary future (fully understood by the experts), is part of the mission statement of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, the Obama administration's showcase education reform initiative.
Just like the disastrous No Child Left Behind Act of the Bush era, in whose wake it follows, it's all about testing and uniform standards and the "rigorous" evaluation of schools and teachers; and it's clueless about the nature of childhood development, not to mention reality. Its primary mission, as with NCLB, is to pull education out of the hands and hearts of teachers and turn its administration over to politicians and their corporate sponsors. It both defunds and belittles the learning process.
JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Assume that you ran a business that was found guilty of bribery, forgery, perjury, defrauding homeowners, fleecing investors, swindling consumers, cheating credit card holders, violating U.S. trade laws and bilking American soldiers. Can you even imagine the kind of punishment you'd get?
How about zero? Nada. Nothing. Zilch. No jail time. Not even a fine. Plus, you still get to stay on as boss, you get to keep all the loot you gained from the crime spree, and you even get an $8.5 million pay raise!
Of course, you and I would never get such outrageous, absurd, kid-glove pampering by legal authorities. But, then, we're not the capo of JPMorgan Chase, America's biggest bank and a crime syndicate that apparently is too big to jail.
ANN WRIGHT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
It looks like the U.S. Navy is playing fast and loose with the new military exercise regulations in areas with a concentration of marine mammals that it has received from the National Marine Fisheries Service.
One seldom sees a nuclear submarine on the surface of the ocean except when they are going into homeports, such as Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. But, this weekend I saw three U.S. nuclear submarines on the surface with crewmen sunning themselves on the deck—in a protected national marine sanctuary, no less!
I was whale watching off the Hawaiian island of Maui, Sunday, February 9, 2014 and was shocked to see three U.S. Navy nuclear submarines surface and remain about a mile offshore from the town of Lahina in the shallow waters of the protected Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.