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Over Easy – the Pope, Pot, and Muddy Waters

7:55 am in Uncategorized by KrisAinTX

Good morning everyone. It’s expected to reach high 70s to low 80s today in Central Texas, so I’ll be joining you all in shorts and a tee-shirt. Jealous?

Here are your  links -BentoXVI-30-10052007

Education

Caving to steady pressure from parents and school administrators, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams granted a one-year “pause” on a rule that would count STAAR (State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness) test scores as 15% of 9th and 10th graders overall grade. Lawmakers are expected to water down or eliminate the rule when they meet in January of next year. Any blow to standardized testing = win.

Esquire’s Charles P Pierce opines that education reform, and not immigration or social issues, is the next target of the GOP.

Ontario teachers’ unions are poised to walk out next week in protest of Bill 115, which gives the government the power to “impose wage agreements, cut the number of teachers’ sick days and block strikes or lockouts”. This has prompted Laurel Broten, a liberal politician and Education Minister for the Province, to blame union leadership. The Canadian Rahm Emanuel, anybody?

Activism

Peter Dreier at Huffington Post – 50 Young Progressive Activists Who Are Changing America. I didn’t make the list. He must not be familiar with my work.

There is mounting pressure on Universities, from their own students, to divest from fossil fuel companies. 350.org is organizing the campaign. 72% of Harvard students recently voted for their school to divest. The University essentially told them to shut up.

Gabriella Coleman, an anthropologist, spent 3 years living with hackers. Cool interview with her from Wired. (Yes, I believe that most hackers are activists. Hacktivists.)

Grab Bag

Former Microsoft Exec to Launch High-End Pot Business. Capitalism and legal pot! Let’s see how this works out.

For anyone who cares (or cares to troll him… *winky face*), the Pope is now on Twitter.

Everyone should listen to this, just because Muddy Waters was so damn cool.

See you in the comments!

Over Easy –

7:55 am in Uncategorized by KrisAinTX

Fried egg, sunny side up

Fried egg, sunny side up

Good morning everyone, and welcome to your second Tuesday edition of Over Easy.

I’d like to personally thank all of the contributors and commenters who have made us successful in our first week. You’re all wonderful.

Here are your links for the day

Rolling Jubilee has now raised over $350,000, which they plan to use to purchase and forgive over $7 million in personal debt. This is an excellent project. Please contribute at their page if you can.

It’s Mutual Aid, Stupid. Opinion piece from HuffPo about Occupy Sandy’s relief efforts, and the state of Occupy as a whole.

As activists functioning in the age of handheld, advanced technologies, it is necessary for us to fully understand the functions of our devices at the most basic levels, and to know how to maintain privacy and security in the face of tyrannical governments. Have you visited your local CryptoParty?

From AntiWar.com, 500 Egyptian Activists enter Gaza with medical supplies. Brave people doing meaningful work in the face of war.

In early November, the great state of Georgia passed a constitutional amendment to establish an independent commission to fast-track charter school approval and development. A number of organizations and politicians, now including the Georgia State Legislature’s Black Caucus, are filing a lawsuit to stop the amendment.

Washington State voters narrowly approved the construction of up to 40 charter schools, after rejecting similar ballot measures 3 times in the past. There was a lot of outside money thrown behind Initiative 1240, and local activists have vowed to contest the new law.

Beyond Proposition 30: California’s education future by Louis Freedberg at EdSource.org. The author brings up issues of funding inequity, per capita spending on education, and other problems facing California schools.

And now for a local project, near and dear to my Orange Hippo heart – Orange Santa, an annual event aimed at giving a Christmas to families in need. Orange Santa provides food, clothing, presents, and other general support for local families who need it most. Hippos United, our non-profit that succeeded in passing a local tax initiative to close the budget gaps for our school district, is heading up the fundraising efforts. My wife is acting as liaison with all the local schools, organizing fundraising days and events, and my children and I will be volunteering on distribution day. If you have any extra funds this holiday season, we would appreciate your help. You can donate online here (don’t mind the 2011 stuff in the format. The donor link is still live and being used). If you prefer to contribute old school through snail mail, contact me in the comments and I’ll provide my email address. We’ll work something out from there.

As always, Off Topic is safe here. I’ll see you in the comments.

Over Easy – An Introduction

7:09 am in Uncategorized by KrisAinTX

Good morning everyone, and welcome to our brand new daily feature Over Easy.

Hungry For Some Over Easy Links & Chat?

As many of you know, we recently lost a dear and valued friend, activist, inspiration, and front page contributor here at the Lake. Richard de Berry, aka Southern Dragon, was many things. A wonderful friend. A staunch defender of his fellows. A strong and just activist. A thinker. A gentle and good soul. He has been commemorated well here by others, and I have no wish to elicit further tears and sorrow, so I’ll move along.

I bring up Richard only to segue into an explanation of our new project. Richard was responsible each day, Monday through Friday, for the Lakeside Diner, a collection of newsworthy links and a meeting place for many of us online denizens to gather and start the day. Since Richard’s passing we have surely missed him, but have also missed the space that he provided us to come together and be as one before going out into the world to face the day. I feel this space is a part of Richard’s legacy, and I wish to continue it.

In the spirit of togetherness and community that FDL has fostered in us, I and others came together yesterday and came up with a plan. A new space, similar to the Lakeside Diner, for us to meet and share links, break bread, and be merry. Through our conversation this concept emerged: Over Easy.

Without further ado, your regular contributors will be: Myself, msmolly, demi, Ruth Calvo, and BoxTurtle. Others have offered their services, and will surely be worked into a rotation as we iron out the details.

We will cover a variety of topics, all of us with a particular specialty or theme. Posts will include links to relevant articles, videos, etc., and an invitation for open discussion. Off topic is safe, and even encouraged. Posts will go up Monday through Friday at 9am Eastern, 6am Pacific.

Please bear with us as we pilot this new ship out of the harbor and into open seas and calm water. It’s our maiden voyage, so there will surely be some hiccups along the way.

I’m going to focus on local activism and education. I like the grassroots stuff and the teach-our-kids stuff, so that will be my cup of tea. Here is your first batch of links (please pardon the lack of content. Short notice, work in the real world, my dog ate my links, insert other generic excuses here):

  • An on-the-ground report from Staten Island by Joanne Stocker, Kenneth Lipp, and Dustin Slaughter. These fearless activists, of Team Occupy Your Mom fame, spent 3 days in Staten Island in the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
  • Austin School District cancels UT play about same-sex penguin parents.
  • Op-ed from The LA Times about for-profit universities preying on Veterans. The exploitation of the GI Bill to turn a profit is infuriating.

I’ll close as a better man than me always did – Namaste. Never. Give. Up.

Photo by jeffreyw under a Creative Commons license on Flickr.