In the state where high-stakes testing began, a few hundred teachers, academics and activists came together last weekend to hasten what one leader called an "Education Spring." The Network for Public Education gathered in Austin to plan the resistance to the status quo of high-stakes testing and an encroaching corporate privatization movement. This first-of-its-kind convention might finally provide an effective opposition to the corporate reform movement that wants to run education like a business.
Early last month, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott contradicted his core values by doing something that just didn't make sense unless you're one of those cynics who believes money corrupts politics. Abbott, a fan of states' rights and a foe of casinos, did a favor for Sheldon Adelson that appears to help casinos at the expense of the Tenth Amendment. In return, Abbott got almost $100,000 in political cash. Not everyone loses at the casinos.
Eighteen years ago, the Internet was a pretty different place. AltaVista had just launched in 1995 and was rapidly becoming the dominant search engine. The 56K modem was invented that year, but wouldn't be commercially available until 1997. And Congress passed the 1996 Telecom Act, with the rare foresight to largely insulate the Internet from government interference. The result has been the remarkable engine of innovation, growth, and expression that most Americans now rely on every day.
Alright. Woo-hoo. We're partying now. With the kind of enthusiasm normally reserved for sorting Phillips head screws from flat head screws, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer publicly vetoed SB 1062, legislation that would provide legal cover to businesses denying services based on the operator's religious beliefs. The return of Jim Crow with a cactus beat.
Last week two prominent Ukrainian opposition figures were gunned down in broad daylight. They join as many as ten others who have been killed or committed suicide under suspicious circumstances just this year. These individuals have one important thing in common: they were either part of or friendly with the Yanukovych government, which a US-backed coup overthrew last year. They include members of the Ukrainian parliament and former chief editors of major opposition newspapers.
Pope Francis recently annoyed the Turkish government by making the politically incorrect observation that it had exterminated a generation of Christian Armenians. He used the word "genocide," which is something that the Turks have been rejecting for decades.
Should women serve in combat? Right now the military is answering that question with a final verdict scheduled to come down from Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in January 2016. This will inevitably become a political question-and thus particularly useless in producing a satisfactory answer-but until then it's useful to understand that the military sees this question differently than you and I do.