Tuesday, November 14, 2006


rays.list@comcast.net and we'll be happy to send the full article.



Just Whose Idea Was All This Testing?
Fueled by Technology, Nation's Attempt to Create a Level Playing Field Has
Had a Rocky History

By Jay Mathews
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 14, 2006; A06

Second in a series of occasional articles on testing.

In ancient Greece, Socrates tested his students through conversations.Answers were not scored as right or wrong. They just led to more dialogue.Many intellectual elites in the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. cared more aboutfinding the path to higher knowledge than producing a correct response. Tothem, accuracy was for shopkeepers.

Today, educators often hold up the Socratic method as the best kind ofteaching.

So how did we go from that ideal to an educational model shaped -- andperhaps even ruled -- by standardized, normed, charted, graphed, regressed,calibrated and validated testing? Students in the Washington area are likelyto know more about the MSA (Maryland School Assessments), the SOL(Virginia's Standards of Learning) and the D.C. CAS (D.C. ComprehensiveAssessment System) than they do about Socrates and his illustrious studentPlato.



Persistent Race Disparities Found
Minorities Still Lag in Income, Education, Census Data Show

By Stephen Ohlemacher
Associated Press
Tuesday, November 14, 2006; A03

Decades after the civil rights movement, racial disparities in income,education and home ownership persist and, by some measurements, are growing.

White households had incomes that were two-thirds higher than those ofAfrican Americans and 40 percent higher than those of Hispanics last year,according to data released yesterday by the Census Bureau. White adults werealso more likely than black and Hispanic adults to have college degrees andto own their own homes. They were less likely to live in poverty.

"Race is so associated with class in the United States that it may not bedirect discrimination, but it still matters indirectly," said Dalton Conley,a sociology professor at New York University and the author of "Being Black,Living in the Red."



Fantastic Job, Mr. President

By Richard Cohen
Tuesday, November 14, 2006; A31

There is something refreshing about George Stephanopoulos. After George Bushannounced that he was firing Don Rumsfeld, Stephanopoulos -- on the air atthe time -- actually seemed shocked that just a week earlier the presidenthad said he would do no such thing. Stephanopoulos not only suggested thatthe president had lied but that he was wrong to have done so. In Georgetown,where the ABC newsman lives, such innocence must be considered quaint.

Washington's easy acceptance of lying, especially presidential lying, isbeyond lamentable. It has cost the country plenty, including, of late, a warin a godforsaken place, which we are losing and are fighting for reasonsthat we no longer remember or that even matter. (Democracy? Weapons of massdestruction? A link to terrorism? Aw, forget it.) In the most recent case,Bush not only lied but compounded the lie by lying about why he lied in thefirst place.



Elections May Divide Congress Even More

By John Fortier
Special to washingtonpost.com's Think Tank Town
Tuesday, November 14, 2006; 12:00 AM

Since last Tuesday's momentous election, there has been much talk about areturn to the sensible center and the new importance of incoming moderatesin Congress. A closer look, however, reveals that while there are someprominent moderates in the incoming Democratic class, there were far moreRepublican moderates swept out of office.

The Democratic victory on November 7th was broad. It swept in many Democratsof different stripes across the country including some who won in Republicandistricts and who are socially conservative on issues like guns, abortion,and gay marriage. There were also victories by Democratic military veterans,who projected a more hawkish outlook than much of their party in Congress.But all in all, these social conservatives and veterans make up a minorityof new members, at most one third of Democrats who took Republican Houseseats.



Democrats' Real Victory
Self-Deluding Spin on Both Sides

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006; A31

LITTLE ROCK -- Elections provoke myth-spinning. Republicans are in danger ofspinning away from a full appreciation of the magnitude of their defeat lastweek. Democrats could spin themselves into useless arguments rooted in thepast and ignore the opportunity American voters have offered them.

Some Republicans, including President Bush's political architect, Karl Rove,are trying to say that Tuesday's vote was no big deal. Democratic gains wereat or below the incumbent party's usual losses in the sixth year of apresidency, and anyway many of the Democrats elected this year are"conservative."

Republicans believe this spin at their peril.

Many who play down the Democratic gains are the very same people who saidsix months ago that the Democrats had no chance of winning either the Houseor Senate. Incumbent-friendly congressional boundaries and the fact thatmany of the House and Senate seats Democrats needed to win were inpreviously pro-Bush areas meant Democrats needed a big and unlikely surge.



Get Jim in Here, Pronto!

By Michael Kinsley
Tuesday, November 14, 2006; A31

If I told you that there was something in Washington called the Bakercommission but didn't tell you what it was about, you still could probablyname many of its members. If you are of a certain age, you might wonder,"Jim or Howard?" And you might have a quibble or two.

Where is Dick Holbrooke? Does Sandra Day O'Connor's new availability meanthat Madeleine Albright is out of luck from now on? Are they sure that LarryEagleburger is still alive? But Vernon Jordan is there, along with Ed Meeseand Alan Simpson and Lee Hamilton. This is one torch that has not beenpassed to a new generation, although former Virginia senator andpresidential son-in-law Charles Robb (age 67) is a fresh face in the pool ofWashington Wise Men. Welcome, Chuck.



November 14, 2006
Vatican Official Blasts Human Trafficking
Filed at 9:54 a.m. ET

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Human trafficking, including women forced to becomeprostitutes or minors forced to do child labor, is worse now than the tradein African slaves of past centuries, a top Vatican official said Tuesday.

''It's worse than the slavery of those whose slaves who were taken fromAfrica and brought to other countries,'' said Cardinal Renato Martino,former longtime Vatican envoy to the United Nations and current head of theHoly See's office concerned with migrant and itinerant peoples.

At a news conference to present Pope Benedict XVI's annual message dealingwith the problems of migrants, the cardinal singled out modern-day forms ofslavery -- minors who are sold to do child labor or who are forced to besoldiers, as well as women forced to prostitute themselves -- and challengedcountries to combat these problems.



November 14, 2006

Backing Murtha Is Risky for Next House Speaker

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 - The intensifying fight for the No. 2 Democraticleadership job in the House is evolving into an early test of the power ofthe incoming House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, after her decision to throw herpublic support behind Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Murtha, widely considered an underdog to Representative Steny H. Hoyerof Maryland, the current second-ranking Democrat, sought on Monday to use anew letter of support from Ms. Pelosi to gain ground, asking for new pledgesfrom Democrats who converged on Washington after their decisive midtermelection victory.



November 14, 2006

For Evangelicals, Supporting Israel Is 'God's Foreign Policy'

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 - As Israeli bombs fell on Lebanon for a second weeklast July, the Rev. John Hagee of San Antonio arrived in Washington with3,500 evangelicals for the first annual conference of his newly foundedorganization, Christians United For Israel.

At a dinner addressed by the Israeli ambassador, a handful of Republicansenators and the chairman of the Republican Party, Mr. Hagee read greetingsfrom President Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and dispatchedthe crowd with a message for their representatives in Congress. Tell them"to let Israel do their job" of destroying the Lebanese militia, Hezbollah,Mr. Hagee said.

He called the conflict "a battle between good and evil" and said support forIsrael was "God's foreign policy."



Health care costs could rise sharply

Unless companies take action, PricewaterhouseCoopers says, all types of
plans might jump by more than 10 percent.

Published November 14, 2006

NEW YORK - Health care costs could rise more than 10 percent in 2007 unlesscompanies change their plans, according to a report by professional servicesfirm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"What the insurers are projecting is double-digit increases if you don't doanything," said Michael Thompson, a principal at PWC.

Employers are already changing employees' benefit packages, shifting morecosts to employees or pushing employees to participate in health andwellness programs, according to the report, based on a survey of healthinsurance carriers, the firm's own research and government data.



Newborns bear brunt of HHS rule
A Times Editorial
Published November 14, 2006

As the Bush administration moves immigration reform into the pediatric ward,babies now get to pay the price. Though the Constitution considers anyoneborn in the United States to be a citizen, the Department of Health andHuman Services has added an astonishing bureaucratic postscript.

"A child born in the U.S. to an illegal alien mother," HHS writes, "... isnot a deemed newborn."

"Deemed newborn" is regulator-speak for deciding which babies get tossed outof hospitals, and it is thoroughly indecent. The American Academy ofPediatrics, which opposed the new Medicaid eligibility rule, described theinevitable medical consequence in four words: "Children will be hurt."

The change defies common sense. Under a 22-year-old Medicaid law, illegalimmigrants are covered for emergency hospital treatment that includeschildbirth. The resulting newborns, "deemed" or not, were then immediatelyeligible for follow-up care for at least a year - care that can range fromtreatment for illness at birth to routine checkups and immunizations.



Martinez to be face of GOP
Early edition: The senator will be chairman but won't handle the
day-to-day work.

By ANITA KUMAR, Times Staff Writer
Published November 13, 2006

WASHINGTON - Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, a former member of PresidentBush's

Cabinet and a sought-after fundraiser for his party, will become chairman ofthe Republican National Committee.

The nation's first Cuban-American senator, Martinez will replace Ken Mehlmanin January as the public face of the Republican Party, focusing on raisingmoney and promoting the GOP agenda. He will remain in the Senate.

The affable Martinez, who has declined other party leadership roles in thepast, was asked several times to consider the job, even before last week'selection. He turned down the requests until Bush personally asked him lastweek.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


The Terrorists Who Aren't in the News
By Jennifer L. Pozner, AlterNet

Posted on November 11, 2006, Printed on November 14, 2006


This piece was originally published by Newsday.

On Sept. 11, 2006, the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks thatdevastated our nation, a man crashed his car into a building in Davenport,Iowa, hoping to blow it up and kill himself in the fire.

No national newspaper, magazine or network newscast reported this attemptedsuicide bombing, though an AP wire story was available. Cable news (save forMSNBC's Keith Olbermann) was silent about this latest act of terrorism inAmerica.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


House Dems: Put Up or Shut Up on Congressional Black Caucus
By Earl Ofari Hutchinson, AlterNet

Posted on November 9, 2006, Printed on November 14, 2006


A jubilant soon-to-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged that the HouseDemocrats would take government in a new direction. She can, and should,start with the Congressional Black Caucus. It desperately needs a shot inthe arm. The Caucus has all but vanished from Congress and the nationalscene as a visible, fighting force for change. The blame for that, in part,can be dumped on the doorsteps of the Democrats, and that includes HouseDemocrats, and in part on the divisions, deals making penchant, andcorruption scandals that have embroiled some Caucus members.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Warrantless Wiretaps Unlikely to Be OK'd

The Associated Press
Saturday, November 11, 2006; 5:19 AM

WASHINGTON -- Legislation aimed at President Bush's once-secret program forwiretapping U.S.-foreign phone calls and computer traffic of suspectedterrorists without warrants shows all the signs of not moving ahead,notwithstanding President Bush's request this week that a lame-duck Congressgive it to him.

Senate Democrats, emboldened by Election Day wins that put them in controlof Congress as of January, say they would rather wait until next year tolook at the issue. "I can't say that we won't do it, but there's noguarantee that we're going spend a lot of time on controversial measures,"Democratic Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois said Thursday.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Published on Friday, November 10, 2006 by the Los Angeles Times

Democrats Are Set to Subpoena
The new majority is expected to hold hearings on military spending and theIraq war -- just for starters.

by Richard B. Schmitt and Richard Simon

WASHINGTON - Rep. Ike Skelton knows what he will do in one of his first actsas chairman of the Armed Services Committee in the Democratic-led House:resurrect the subcommittee on oversight and investigations.

The panel was disbanded by the Republicans after they won control ofCongress in 1994. Now, Skelton (D-Mo.) intends to use it as a forum to probePentagon spending and the Bush administration's conduct of the Iraq war.

It has been 12 years since Democrats were in control of both the House andSenate. But they are looking to make up for lost time, and in some cases,make the Bush administration and its business allies sweat.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Democrats Will Revisit Military Habeas Debate
By Lawrence Hurley
The Daily Journal

Friday 10 November 2006

Likely chair Leahy objects to limits on detainees' rights.

Washington - An effort to restore habeas corpus rights for enemycombatants could be the first test of the Democrats' resolve to changecourse in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who is expected to become chairman,confirmed Thursday that he is drafting a bill to undo portions of a recentlypassed law that prevent terrorism detainees from going to federal court tochallenge the government's right to hold them indefinitely.

Reversing the Damage

Leahy's goal is to "try and do something to reverse the damage," saidhis spokeswoman, Tracy Schmaler.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Waxman Set to Probe Areas of Bush Administration
By Erica Werner
The Associated Press

Friday 10 November 2006

The Democratic congressman who will investigate the Bushadministration's running of the government says there are so many areas ofpossible wrongdoing, his biggest problem will be deciding which ones topursue.

There's the response to Hurricane Katrina, government contracting inIraq and on homeland security, political interference in regulatorydecisions by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and DrugAdministration, and allegations of war profiteering, Rep. Henry Waxman(news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., told the Los Angeles Chamber ofCommerce.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Published: Monday, November 13, 2006

Dems make progress in 'red' South Dakota
By Zack Abrahamson

While the national media characterizes this Great Plains state as about asred as they come, South Dakota voters challenged that perception lateTuesday by proving themselves remarkably receptive to so-called "blue"issues. However, as with most perceptions, the perception of South Dakota asred begins with a (large) kernel of truth: South Dakota has thrown its threeelectoral votes behind Republican presidents for 40 years. The last time aDemocratic governor was in office, South Dakotan GIs were on the ground inVietnam.

Perhaps most famously, South Dakota's legislature passed the nation's mostrestrictive abortion ban in February 2006. Signed by popular Republican Gov.Mike Rounds, it was designed to be the first test of Roe v. Wade in the ageof the Roberts Court. But rather than take it to the courtroom, pro-choicegroups opted instead to push for a referendum. By June, they had gathered37,000 signatures on petitions statewide, enough to put the ban on theballot.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


U.S. Women Win Big; Palestine Women Not Protected

Run Date: 11/11/06 By Irene Lew
WeNews correspondent


The end of the 2006 midterm elections resulted in a record increase in thenumber of women voted into the U.S. Congress. In the Senate, a record totalof 16 women, 11 Democrats and five Republicans, will serve. Victories by 50Democratic women in the House helped Democrats gain control and placed Rep.Nancy Pelosi of California in line to become the first female Speaker of theHouse. Five House races involving women are still unsettled.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


US Vetoes UN Resolution on Israel
The Associated Press

Saturday 11 November 2006

US ambassador John Bolton: Arab-backed draft document is "biased,""politically motivated."

United Nations - The United States vetoed a UN Security Council draftresolution Saturday that sought to condemn an Israeli military offensive inthe Gaza Strip and demand Israeli troops pull out of the territory.

US Ambassador John Bolton said the Arab-backed draft resolution was
"biased against Israel and politically motivated."

"This resolution does not display an evenhanded characterization of therecent events in Gaza, nor does it advance the cause of Israeli-Palestinianpeace to which we aspire and for which we are working assiduously," he toldthe Security Council.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Steering his nation without a rudder
Afghanistan's Karzai faces disaffection in a nation hungry for progress.
Many see him as a shadow of a president, and they fear a slide back to theTaliban.
By Paul Watson
Times Staff Writer

November 12, 2006

TRIBAL elders pleaded with Hamid Karzai to intervene in a land feud withtheir neighbors. But it was too dangerous for the president of Afghanistanto travel south to the heart of the Taliban insurgency, so Karzai invitedthem up to Kabul for lunch.

At least 120 men arrived, making their way past razor wire strung out a milefrom the palace doors. After being repeatedly frisked and scanned, theyfinally passed through the palace gates.

The desert dust still clung to their plastic sandals and tattered clothes asthey sat down under vaulted ceilings and crystal chandeliers. Waiters inblack uniforms served up platters of roast chicken legs and heaping platesof pulau rice with raisins, almonds and pistachios.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Bush's Belated Accountability Moment
By Nat Parry
Consortium News

Sunday 12 November 2006

After securing a second term in November 2004, George W. Bush was askedby the Washington Post why no one in his administration had been heldaccountable for the problems facing US troops in Iraq. Bush replieddismissively, "We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004elections."

The President echoed that sentiment two weeks before this year's Nov. 7balloting, rejecting the notion that the midterm elections could serve as acheck on his administration. Accountability, Bush said, is "what the 2004campaign was about."


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


It's time to legalize marijuana in Illinois

November 12, 2006


The war in Iraq loomed large last week as voters registered theirdisenchantment during the midterm elections. But lost in all the headlinesand nightly news stories about the Republican loss of power were limitedstatus reports on the other American conflict: the War on Weed. In Nevada,an initiative that would have legalized possession of up to an ounce ofmarijuana for anyone over 21 failed with only a 44 percent yes vote. LasVegas -- where prostitution and gambling are legal and public intoxicationcommon -- is not quite ready to end the prohibition of pot.

Nonetheless, what nearly happened in Vegas, should never stay in Vegas.

For at least two generations, smoking dope has become an American way oflife. According to federal statistics, about 94 million Americans -- or 40percent of 12-year-olds and up -- admit to having blown some weed; 15million say they've had a joint within the last month. Eleven states havedeclared that the drug war has failed, passing laws that say, for adults,taking a toke is no longer a crime. In these states, from Oregon to Maine,from Alaska to Mississippi, holding a joint will no longer result in yoursharing a cell with a murderer, rapist or larcenous CEO. Instead, you'll endup with something akin to a slap on the wrist or a ticket and a fine.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Another Look at Ted Haggard and the Christian Right
By Carlos

The Revealer has an article by Anthea Butler, a professor of ReligiousStudies at the University of Rochester, that shines some light on theHaggard saga and its connection to the Christian Right.

Some excerpts:

Well, it was a humdinger (no pun intended) of a week if you were a whiteevangelical in America. Ted Haggard, the epitome of white evangelicalpatriarchy and Godly manhood, was exposed by a former gay prostitute who mayactually have the moral attributes to be considered a good evangelical:someone who stood up for righteousness and justice at tremendous cost. I cannot even begin to imagine the hurt and shame that Ted Haggard's wifeGayle, and their five children are experiencing now. The members of theNational Association of Evangelicals and Haggard's Colorado Springsmegachurch, New Life, have only just begun to taste the bitter pain andramifications of a leader's fall.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Lap dance ban defeated, Seattle wonders where to put strip clubs

The Associated Press
Like many residents of this famously liberal city, Iris Nicholas was baffledwhen the City Council passed strict regulations on strip clubs, including alap-dance ban, last year.

Where did this prudish streak come from, she wondered.

No bother. The city's voters rejected the new rules by a 2-to-1 margin lastweek, rendering the city safe for lap dances once again. It was especiallygood news for Nicholas, who makes her living in black fishnets, 7-inch(18-centimeter) stilettos and not much else.

"I've worked in other states, states that are supposedly more conservativethan Washington but are way less strict," she said after a recent stagedance at the Deja Vu downtown. "The rules are very puritanical here, butthis vote shows that people in the city don't have that mentality."


Plan B® should be on drugstore shelves across the nation this week. But mostnational pharmacy corporations do not have a nationwide policy requiring alltheir chain stores to stock it. Tell CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens to adopt apolicy requiring their stores to stock Plan B®.



Group sues to have Rumsfeld investigated
By David Rising, Associated Press Writer | November 14, 2006

BERLIN --Civil rights activists filed suit Tuesday asking Germanprosecutors to open a war crimes investigation of outgoing Defense SecretaryDonald H. Rumsfeld and a host of other U.S. officials for their allegedroles in abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay.

The 220-page document was sent to federal prosecutors by U.S. andGerman attorneys under a German law that allows the prosecution of warcrimes regardless of where they were committed. It alleges that Rumsfeldpersonally ordered and condoned torture.

"One of the goals has been to say a torturer is someone who cannot begiven a safe haven," said Michael Ratner, the president of New York's Centerfor Constitutional Rights, which is behind the litigation.



Posted on Tue, Nov. 14, 2006

More thumpings from conservatives


The nation that rejected President Bush and the Republicans did not rejectconservatism. To the contrary, it seemed to want to punish the prodigal sonsfor abandoning the faith of their fathers.

What did America vote against?

It voted against Bush's war of democratic imperialism and the mismanagementof that war. It voted against Jack Abramoff, Duke Cunningham and Mark Foley.It voted against a party that postures as conservative while indulging in asix-year pig-out on the taxpayers' tab, the altarpiece of which was a $250million ``bridge to nowhere.''

What did America not vote against? It did not vote against tax cuts orconservative judges or a security fence.



November 14, 2006


With the new Democratic Congress preparing to take power, the party actuallyseems to have some positions to share with the country.

Can Nancy Pelosi, the next speaker of the House, a San Francisco liberal,restrain the far-left wing of her party? Can she co-exist with the moderateDemocratic freshmen and build alliances with Republicans? Can she and thepresident find common ground?

Though many of the Democratic proposals lack specifics, here is a list ofissues that will be faced:

Pay-as-you-go financing: Ostensibly, this means keeping to a budget - no newprograms without increased taxes or spending cuts. In practice, this meanstax-as-you-spend. Few domestic spending cuts, tax increases on the wealthythat filter down to the middle class. See next item.



Nov. 14

New Challenge to Affirmative Action

Nine out of every 10 students who apply to Princeton University arerejected, and many of them are students with the kinds of records that justabout assure they will end up getting a great education somewhere. Jian Li,who despite his top grades and perfect SAT scores was one of this year'srejects, ended up at Yale University. But he has set off a federalinvestigation of whether Princeton's affirmative action policiesdiscriminate against Asian American applicants.

Since he was rejected - after first being put on the waiting list - Li filedtwo complaints with the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights.OCR initially found insufficient evidence to proceed, but agreed to aninquiry after Li refiled his complaint with additional information. Hiscomplaints were first reported this weekend by The Wall Street Journal.

[ Send your comments about any of the articles in Ray's List Digest to
Rays.List@Comcast.net ]


No comments: