Friday, August 30, 2013

Thomas Sowell - Progressives, Liberals and Race

Wake Up-Rage Against the Machine lyrics

You don't miss your water, 'till you well runs dry

You don't miss your water, clean air, 
good schools, open space, safe streets, easy lifestyle until it's gone.

Say "no" to the urbanization of Marin.

Video: In CA schools, 3 X 4 = 11 in the Common Core Curriculum

see article Video: In CA schools, 3 X 4 = 11
August 20, 2013
By John Seiler

Back in the early 1990s, California schools adopted “New New Math” and “Whole Language” to dumb down the kids. Parents revolted. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the state reformed the curriculum and adopted some decent standards.
But in California, no bad idea stays down for long. This time, it’s adopting President Obama’s Common Core, which brings back “conceptual math” from the New New Math. Instead of just learning the multiplication tables by rote, which people have been doing for centuries, students instead are instructed  to “think through” the answer, and that there really is no wrong answer. So, the answer to 3 X 4 can be 11. Really.
There’s a trick involved here. Of course, it’s good to teach kids about concepts. Until the Deweyite reforms of a century ago, students learned critical thinking as a separate subject. That was dumped in John Dewey’s earlier dumbing down. But critical thinking of the real type isn’t involved here, only muddy thinking.
Here’s a YouTube that explains the Common Core approach to math. It’s serious. As the teacher says, “The emphasis is more toward the explanation.”

Development in Marinwood Development Area won't require rigorous environmental review

Our precious Marin land and our health is being threatened by the "gutting" of CEQA regulations

Transit oriented projects like Marinwood Plaza will be exempt from CEQA environmental review 
in the Marinwood Priority Development Area

Do you know that in an effort to "streamline" development, politicians have gutted rigorous environmental standards for development in the Marinwood Priority Development Area and other "transit oriented development"?

Exemption from Environmental Review "Transit-priority projects" (transit-based development), as defined by California law S.B. 375 is supposed to help achieve the carbon emissions reduction targets mandated by A.B 32. However, rather than strengthen environmental protections and facilitate emission reductions, S.B. 375 provides loopholes that allows Transit-based projects to be fast-tracked by developers and avoid compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

From S.B. 375, page 3: "This bill would exempt from CEQA a transit priority project, as defined, that meets certain requirements and that is declared by the legislative body of a local jurisdiction to be a sustainable communities project. The bill would provide for limited CEQA review of various other transit priority projects."

SEC. 15. (page 37)
(a) If a residential or mixed-use residential project is consistent with the use designation, density, building intensity, and applicable policies specified for the project area in either a sustainable communities strategy or an alternative planning strategy, for which the State Air Resources Board pursuant to subparagraph (I) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 65080 of the Government Code has accepted the metropolitan planning organization’s determination that the sustainable communities strategy or the alternative planning strategy would, if implemented, achieve the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and if the project incorporates the mitigation measures required by an applicable prior environmental document, then any findings or other determinations for an exemption, a negative declaration, a mitigated negative declaration, a sustainable communities environmental assessment, an environmental impact report, or addenda prepared or adopted for the project pursuant to this division shall not be required to reference, describe, or discuss

(1) growth inducing impacts; or

(2) any project specific or cumulative impacts from cars and light-duty truck trips generated by the project on global warming or the regional transportation network.

(b) Any environmental impact report prepared for a project described in subdivision (a) shall not be required to reference, describe, or discuss a reduced residential density alternative to address the effects of car and light-duty truck trips generated by the project.

 For example, a 200-unit residential development a half mile from [Golden Gate Transit Buslines or SMART] might be exempted entirely from CEQA review. The surrounding community would be unable to petition for additional greenhouse gas reduction measures, such as solar panels, car-sharing, construction and exhaust emissions reduction, asbestos mitigation from demolition of existing buildings, voicing site contamination issues, or issues related to aesthetic concerns when proposed development is out of scale with surrounding homes and businesses.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Motivational Song for Common Core (not Satire)

For more fun songs see: Common Core Open Mic Night
 Who says our education dollars are not well spent!?

Martin Niemöller: "First they came for the Socialists..."

Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who opposed the Nazi regime.
He spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps. Germany, 1937.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

Please Sign the Petition to Stop the Strawberry PDA

Big Business Supports the Common Core

Please Sign the Petition to Stop the Strawberry PDA


Please Sign the Petition to Stop the Strawberry PDA

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Biggest Fallacy of the Common Core Standards

Not Everybody is joining the Common Core Parade of Dunces

Diane Ravitch
Historian, NYU professor
from the Huffington Post:  The Biggest Fallacy of the Common Core Standards

Posted: 08/24/2013 8:08 am

Boosters of the Common Core national standards have acclaimed them as the most revolutionary advance in the history of American education.
As a historian of American education, I do not agree.
Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core national standards, and they are being implemented this year.
Why did 45 states agree to do this? Because the Obama administration had $4.35 billion of Race to the Top federal funds, and states had to adopt "college-and-career ready standards" if they wanted to be eligible to compete for those funds. Some states, like Massachusetts, dropped their own well-tested and successful standards and replaced them with the Common Core, in order to win millions in new federal funds.
Is this a good development or not?
If you listen to the promoters of the Common Core standards, you will hear them say that the Common Core is absolutely necessary to prepare students for careers and college.
They say, if we don't have the Common Core, students won't be college-ready or career-ready.
Major corporations have published full-page advertisements in the New York Times and paid for television commercials, warning that our economy will be in serious trouble unless every school and every district and every state adopts the Common Core standards.
A report from the Council on Foreign Relations last year (chaired by Joel Klein and Condoleeza Rice) warned that our national security was at risk unless we adopt the Common Core standards.
The Common Core standards, its boosters insist, are all that stand between us and economic and military catastrophe.
All of this is simply nonsense.
How does anyone know that the Common Core standards will prepare everyone for college and careers since they are now being adopted for the very first time?
How can anyone predict that they will do what their boosters claim?
There is no evidence for any of these claims.
There is no evidence that the Common Core standards will enhance equity. Indeed, the Common Core tests in New York caused a collapse in test scores, causing test scores across the state to plummet. Only 31 percent "passed" the Common Core tests. The failure rates were dramatic among the neediest students. Only 3.2 percent of English language learned were able to pass the new tests, along with only 5 percent of students with disabilities, and 17 percent of black students. Faced with tests that are so far beyond their reach, many of these students may give up instead of trying harder.
There is no evidence that those who study these standards will be prepared for careers, because there is nothing in them that bears any relationship to careers.
There is no evidence that the Common Core standards will enhance our national security.
How do we know that it will cause many more students to study math and science? With the collapse in test scores that Common Core brings, maybe students will doubt their ability and opt for less demanding courses.
Why so many promises and ungrounded predictions? It is a mystery.
Even more mysterious is why the nation's major corporations and chambers of commerce now swear by standards that they have very likely never read.
Don't get me wrong. I am all for high standards. I am opposed to standards that are beyond reach. They discourage, they do not encourage.
But the odd thing about these standards is that they seem to be written in stone. Who is in charge of revising them? No one knows.
When I testified by Skype to the Michigan legislative committee debating the Common Core a couple of weeks ago, I told them to listen to their teachers and be prepared to revise the standards to make them better. Someone asked if states were "allowed" to change the standards. I asked, why not? Michigan is a sovereign state. If they rewrite the standards to fit the needs of their students, who can stop them? The federal government says it doesn't "own" the standards. And that is true. The federal government is forbidden by law from interfering with curriculum and instruction.
States should do what works best for them. I also urged Michigan legislators to delay any Common Core testing until they were confident that teachers had the professional development and resources to teach them and students had had adequate time to learn what would be tested.
Do we need national standards to compare the performance of children in Mississippi to children in New York and Iowa? We already have the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which has been making these comparisons for 20 years.
Maybe I am missing something. Can anyone explain how the nation can adopt national standards without any evidence whatever that they will improve achievement, enrich education, and actually help to prepare young people -- not for the jobs of the future, which are unknown and unknowable -- but for the challenges of citizenship and life? Thebiggest fallacy of the Common Core standards is that they have been sold to the nation without any evidence that they will accomplish what their boosters claim.
Across the nation, our schools are suffering from budget cuts.
Because of budget cuts, there are larger class sizes and fewer guidance counselors, social workers, teachers' assistants, and librarians.
Because of budget cuts, many schools have less time and resources for the arts, physical education, foreign languages, and other subjects crucial for a real education.
As more money is allocated to testing and accountability, less money is available for the essential programs and services that all schools should provide.
Our priorities are confused.

Decoding Planner Speak

Planners are easy to understand

by Robb Caldwell

In hopes of promoting understanding I’m providing a translation to standardized English for use with Agenda 21 vocabulary. Certain words just go together and any article involving any issues ecological written since the beginning of this decade just has to have the word “stakeholder” in it. I challenge anyone to pen a story on Plan Bay Area without using it . Kind of like describing Buddhist monks without saying “saffron”. It should also be noted it’s not paranoia if they really are out to “get ya”.

Vision: My ideas and people who think as I do.

Sustainable: If this type of thing went on for a long time I wouldn’t agitate against it.

Inter-disciplinary: If I don’t agree with the science I’ll get someone on board who will, preferably a sociologist from Berkeley who is good at public relations.

Common Good: I know what’s best for you.

Best Management Practices: Don’t blame me because things went wrong, I covered my butt with a long paper trail.

Restoration: I want things to look just like they do on modern Hollywood westerns.

Public/Private partnerships: My friends are going to get a piece of this thing and if you go along you can too.

Watershed: Catch and release fly fishermen.

Preserve: Preserved for bird watchers only.

Endangered species: Not a vegetable or mineral, amended to include any plant except those sold in Whole Foods.

Historic Preservation: I want cute looking houses to drive past and I’m going to make you keep your house cute by law.

Benefit of all: I know what’s best for you in the long run even if you don’t.

Consensus: We might pretend to listen to you, but at the end of the day we’ll simply outlast you at the meeting and vote later after you’ve gone home.

Traffic Calming: We’re going to put in traffic circles so you and your doggone horse trailers don’t drive in my neighborhood. Can also mean raised beds with annuals.

Landscape: Used with words like “wide” or “level” meaning someone wants to impose something over hundreds of square miles. Something pretty enough to be photographed. A tell that the user has origins in the burbs of one coast or another where landscaping is what you pay people much poorer than yourself to do to your yard.

Facilitator: Someone to calm the crazies without committing to anything.

Affordable Housing: We don’t want trailers so we’ll build some condos school teachers can afford but please, no poor people.

Smart Growth: Sprawl with bike paths.

Livable Communities: Cul de sacs with bike paths all the way to Starbucks.

Stakeholder: blood sucking vampire that can only be put to rest with a wooden stake through the heart. If someone calls you a stakeholder consider yourself officially “undead”.

Smart Growth: My ideas are smart, yours are dumb.

Editor's Note: This comment was sourced from an article in High Country News, that attacked people opposed to smart growth plans as anti government conspiracy extremists.

price of apathy...

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Parents are Capitalist Pigs!

California Lawmakers Continue to Undermine Property Rights

See Article: California Lawmakers Continue to Undermine Property Rights

Under SB-1, urban "sprawl" i.e. suburban developments like Marinwood can be deemed "blight" and taken over by eminent domain to make way for multi-unit development. 

Urban renewal rears its ugly head again in the Golden State.

California’s redevelopment law was designed to revive inner-city neighborhoods by giving city planners extra powers to invest tax dollars and direct development decisions in areas that were deemed to be blighted. It morphed into a financial sleight of hand, whereby officials subsidized auto malls and hotels to divert tax revenues that would go elsewhere.

Property-rights activists loathed redevelopment because it gave cities an excuse to take property via eminent domain and give it to developers who had “better” plans for the property. Anything eyed by these agencies, critics said, became “blight.”

Even many redevelopment supporters — who point to the revival of San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter and other projects as proof of its success — admit that agencies sometimes abused their power. But in the end, their financial approach was their undoing.

In 2011, a state budget crisis that prompted the new governor to look for ways to fill a budget gap led to the end of redevelopment, given that agencies ended up grabbing about 12 percent of state property tax revenues. Sure enough, these agencies have dissolved and new successor agencies can’t start new projects, but can only pay off the debt on old ones.

Redevelopment’s advocates, including the developers, bond dealers, consultants and government planners involved in it, tried to revive redevelopment last year, but the governor vetoed the bills. They are back again, and SB 1 by Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, passed a key committee on Wednesday.

Called the “Sustainable Communities Investment Plan,” it’s basically the same process but with a new environmentally oriented twist.

In the old redevelopment, agencies targeted an area that was deemed “blighted” based on a wide range of mostly subjective factors. All new property tax revenues above the level when the project area was created, called “tax increment,” went to the agency, which floated bonds and subsidized developers.

The new redevelopment is pretty much the same thing except that instead of targeting urban blight it targets urban sprawl. Supporters believe that new developments should be built in existing urban areas to reduce global warming. Redevelopment redux is a mechanism for providing fiscal incentives to spark the construction of apartments, high rises and stadiums, with “blight” defined as anything that doesn’t fit the infill vision.

Marko Mlikotin, president of the Folsom-based California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights, believes eminent domain could be more easily invoked under SB 1 than before given the broad blight definition.

From a financial perspective, however, SB 1 is a kinder-gentler approach. Before, city agencies could create project areas and unilaterally grab tax revenues that would have gone to counties, school districts and special districts. The state reimbursed the schools, which is why Brown put an end to it.
The new legislation requires the districts and cities to work together to create the project, so it can no longer be a mechanism for taking others’ revenue. That greatly reduces the incentive to create project areas and stems the money flow. For that reason, the state’s best-known anti-redevelopment crusader, former Assemblyman Chris Norby of Orange County, sees it as a far cry from the bad old days, even though he is opposed to redevelopment’s return. “Once Frankenstein is dead, it’s very hard to rebuild him,” he said.

Steinberg’s policy advisor on the issue, Steve Shea, reminded me that the new redevelopment will start the base year for calculating tax increment in 2014, so it will take many years before it can accumulate the kind of tax revenue that old redevelopment agencies had amassed. It is redevelopment on a much smaller scale, something he said is necessary to help ameliorate the higher costs of building projects in urban areas.

But like his boss, Steinberg, Shea strongly defended the use of eminent domain as an urban-planning tool. So it might not be long before Californians see some of the property-rights controversies that gave redevelopment a black eye, even if it takes years before the agencies become the fiscal sinkholes that led to their demise.

The most important threat to your community from Sacramento lawmakers today


Stop Plan Bay Area

California Lawmakers Continue to Undermine Property Rights: Urban renewal rears its ugly head again in the Golden State

Article by Stephen Greenhut
California's 1940s-era urban-renewal policy, "redevelopment," is coming back - only less so in some ways but more so in others.

California's redevelopment law was designed to revive inner-city neighborhoods by giving city planners extra powers to invest tax dollars and direct development decisions in areas that were deemed to be blighted. It morphed into a financial sleight of hand, whereby officials subsidized auto malls and hotels to divert tax revenues that would go elsewhere.

Property-rights activists loathed redevelopment because it gave cities an excuse to take property via eminent domain and give it to developers who had "better" plans for the property. Anything eyed by these agencies, critics said, became "blight." Read the full article here 

(Redevelopment Resurrected)
This bill is a THREAT to Rural and Suburban property owners

Expanding the Definition of
Declares suburban and rural lifestyles-which it terms "inefficient land use patterns-as "blight." Declaring suburban and rural land use a "blight" has appalling and stunning legal and political implications. How does it feel to have a target on your back from these people?
Creates mini-ABAGs (redevelopment agencies) not controlled by cities and towns.  Allows eminent domain and funding power to assemble and fund massive high density housing projects in suburban downtowns.
If you own property in an area that the government wants to upzone (such as property in a  PDA), they can arbitrarily take your property and put it with others so they have enough area to develop 
high density housing near mass transit.  It also provides permanent funding for 

Citizens MUST oppose this law 
Speak Up

"What is the Meaning of this City?"

T.S. Eliot 1888-1965 Writer, Poet, Playwright and Social Critic

"When the Stranger says: 'What is the meaning of this city? Do you huddle close together because you love each other?' What will you answer? 'We all dwell together to make money from each other'? or 'This is a community'?"

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Our People's History, not part of Common Core.

Osceola, Seminole leader.

History, not part of Common Core

Hollywood has perverted the history of Native Americans for decades, even more than a century. The movie industry is filled with images of “Indians” in war paint and riding across the plains slaughtering people and stealing horses. ALL of this is nothing more than box office appeal.

I was told most of my life that the history of our people has been passed from generation to generation by “word of mouth” by the elders. I want to pass some of this history along to you, but in this case it will be in writing.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida bears a motto of never being defeated or signed a treaty with the United States of America. The Seminoles of Florida rightly own and operate lands completely governed by a Tribal Government. They provide their own police department, have schools that out perform the public schools of the state. The Tribe purchased Hard Rock Cafes and Casinos and turned the tribe into one of the richest in the world.

But we are here to talk about history:

The Seminole wars lasted for years and the attempt to destroy the tribe was led by many army generals and at least one President. The tribes knowledge of jungle warfare was the reason for the development of today’s guerrilla warfare tactics. Not only the jungle warfare tactics in the swamps and forests of the Southeast though, but the hit and run tactics if the plains tribes was very successful. So successful in fact that the Army had to resort to trickery to gain any victory as evidenced by the great warrior Osceola of the Seminole tribe.

Osceola’s capture, under a controversial flag of truce offered by Gen. Thomas Jessup, remains today one of the blackest marks in American military history. A larger-than-life character, Osceola is the subject of numerous myths; his 1838 death in a Charleston, S.C. prison was noted on front pages around the world. At the time of his death, Osceola was the most famous American Indian.

Another myth perpetrated by Hollywood is the taking of scalps by the plains tribes. This practice was learned from white Indian fighters in Texas. The “counting coupe” as described by Hollywood did not mean scalping of enemies. This practice was initially the mere touching the dead body of a fallen brave. It was believed that if you touched the body of a fallen enemy, his bravery and spirit would transfer to you.

In a particularly bloody battle in Northern Texas, several “Indians” were killed and the white mercenaries involved scalped the bodies to take back as proof for payment. Needless to say this incensed the warriors that returned to collect the bodies of their fallen comrades. So the practice was performed in retaliation in future raids.

If you get the chance, please go to the Sand Creek Battleground on Colorado. The history here is that portions of the 7th U. S. Cavalry had surrounded a settlement of “Indians” at Sand Creek just before dawn. At dawn the soldiers attacked before anyone was awake and slaughtered all inhabitants in their tepees. When the Lakota braves returned they found that 300+ women and children had been slaughtered in their beds. This was given as one of the reasons that there was no mercy given to anyone in the battle of The Little Bighorn with the 7th Cavalry.

Another myth about the settlement of Oklahoma is disputed by the relocations cited as:

The Trail of Tears is a name given to the forced relocation and movement of Native American nations from southeastern parts of the United States following the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The removal included many members of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations, among others in the United States, from their homelands to Indian Territory in eastern sections of the present-day state of Oklahoma. The phrase originated from a description of the removal of the Choctaw Nation in 1831.

Many Native Americans suffered from exposure, disease and starvation on the route to their destinations. Many died, including 60,000 of the 130,000 relocated Cherokee, intermarried and accompanying European-Americans, and the 2,000 African-American free blacks and slaves owned by the Cherokee they took with them. European Americans and African American freedmen and slaves also participated in the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek and Seminole forced relocations.

In the late 1800′s two of the Seminole clans escaped from the Indian Territory and literally disappeared. One of those clans settled in Southwestern Missouri and became farmers and very productive members of that Wild West community. Of the members of that group that I, personally, know of included:

Farmers and ranchers throughout the areas in Northern Arkansas and Southwestern Missouri. One of which, because doctors and dentists wouldn’t treat them, pulled his own teeth with pliers. He also treated himself for gunshot wounds. When he needed to repair a fence he straightened the fingers of his hand that had been deformed by a gunshot but he needed to use it.

I have the flag that covered the casket of 2dLt. John Elgin Hughes, who was a pilot shot down over Italy in WW II.

Lt. Hughes’ brother, another uncle of mine, was a POW in France and was liberated during the D-Day invasion.

A cousin of theirs that died in a VA hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas because of what today would have been classified as PTSD. He was a bull dozer operator in WW II. His job was to dig and cover bodies for Graves Registration.

Two cousins of mine were soldiers in the Korean War. One was wounded and spent the remainder of his life with excruciating back pain.

As you can see: the Hollywood depiction of Native Americans is “just a little off”. I don’t believe any of this history will appear in the Common Core curricula.