August 2006

Check out this article on a group of people who are trying to shame our government into doing what is right.  Wish the public didn’t have to resort to trickery, but at least now more people know about what they are doing to the people who live in public housing in New Orleans.


Impostor Speaker Dupes La. Officials

Impostor Speaker Dupes Officials at Katrina Conference


NEW ORLEANS Aug 28, 2006 (AP)— A man claiming to be a high-ranking federal housing official addressed a conference Monday on public housing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, claiming the government was reversing its policy.

Following speeches by Gov
. Kathleen Blanco and Mayor Ray Nagin, a man who said he was the “deputy assistant secretary” of the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a total reversal in the government’s policy on public housing in New Orleans, claiming HUD would halt plans to demolish thousands of public housing units.

William Loiry, president of Equity International, which organized the conference in Kenner, La., said “everything seemed legitimate” about the man who made the speech until he suggested that people leave the conference, board buses and attend a ribbon-cutting at a public housing development.

When Loiry and security officers went to find the speaker, he was gone.

The man left a phone number on a flier handed out at the conference. A man who answered at the number and identified himself as Andy Bichlbauer said he and his loosely affiliated band of “Yes Men” have pulled off similar pranks, including several involving the World Trade Organization.

HUD spokeswoman Donna White said the government’s plans remain unchanged. Demolition and redevelopment of several major projects will go ahead as planned, she said. She called the speech “cruel.”

The agency’s inspector general’s office is investigating the matter, said Jerry Brown, a HUD spokesman.

About 1,000 people had registered for the conference.

The Yes Men:

So, I am not the tallest person on earth, but it never occurred to me that could affect how SMART I am.  What do y’all think of this gem in YAHOO NEWS today?

Taller people are smarter: study

Fri Aug 25, 5:53 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – While researchers have long shown that tall people earn more than their shorter counterparts, it’s not only social discrimination that accounts for this inequality — tall people are just smarter than their height-challenged peers, a new study finds.

“As early as age t
hree — before schooling has had a chance to play a role — and throughout childhood, taller children perform significantly better on cognitive tests,” wrote Anne Case and Christina Paxson of Princeton University in a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

…  to continue click here.


I was at a party last week and ALL the dads were wearing white or tan shorts, polo shirts with collars and the same kinds of shoes.  ALL the moms were wearing sleeveless tops and either shorts or skirts.  A friend said “That’s cause they’re republicans.”  What do you think?  Do all the liberals YOU know wear 60’s clothes?  Do all the republicans dress the way I describe above?  Can you wear pearls and be a liberal?

Please click on the title of this column and leave a comment.  I’ll post them all on Friday.



This is in today’s New York Times.  If this is how much they value public education in New Orleans, what does it say about how much they value us as teens?  As citizens?


Rough Start for Effort to Remake Faltering New Orleans Schools

Lee Celano for The New York Times

A Louisiana Department of Education employee, right, explaining registration rules to parents on Friday at Clark High School in New Orleans.

Published: August 21, 2006

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 20 — On Debra Smith’s third attempt to enroll her younger sister in a public high school here last week, patience evaporated. For the student, disappointment turned into tears.  Ms. Smith said the school her sister, now a 10th grader, attended before Hurricane Katrina — one of just five the city is still operating — turned her away because of poor grades. Two other options were full.

“Why am I still sitting here begging to get a child into school?” Ms. Smith asked at a registration center teeming with confused and angry parents. Many saw their schools disappear with the storm, replaced by a small but labyrinthine system of state, city and charter-operated schools, each with its own rules, applications and starting dates.

“Why should I think the sch
ools are going to be any better if they can’t handle the registration process?” she asked. “Where’s the space for these kids?”

For parents throughout the city, the first post-storm back-to-school season is having an inauspicious start. But it is perhaps most chaotic for those relying on a new state effort to rescue dozens of city schools that were a disaster even before Hurricane Katrina. The storm offered one of the worst school districts in the nation an opportunity for rebirth in the Recovery School District, state officials said.

The Recovery District, which was created in 2003, included five schools before the hurricane. But the district really began to take shape when the state took over 107 of the city’s worst-performing schools shortly after the storm. The Louisiana Department of Education had already considered the city school district to be in “academic crisis,” but after the hurricane, the district neared collapse. The state’s goal was to help the schools meet national performance standards and match the state graduation rate, among other things.

“The mission of the R.S.D. is to create a world-class public education system in New Orleans, in which every decision focuses on the best interests of the children,” the state’s promotional literature said.

Those lofty goals are at risk now because of a late start to planning for the school year. Well into the summer, it was still unclear how many schools would be chartered and how many teachers and classrooms would be needed. In addition, more students returned to New Orleans than state officials had expected.

The state began interviewing and hiring the hundreds of teachers needed for its Recovery schools only about a month ago. It has about 60 percent of the teachers it will need on Sept. 7, when 8,000 students are expected for the first day of school.

Compounding the problem, the district, with 17 schools, has only 10 administrative staff members, and they are not yet working in permanent offices. In addition, the district has said that at least one storm-damaged school building will not be ready before classes begin, and others face the same risk.

“It’s going to be a challenging year,” said Siona LaFrance, the district’s communications director. Ms. LaFrance added, though, that the district had just signed a lease for office space and that it would be hiring more staff members. She said the district hoped to avoid
recreating the bloated bureaucracy of the old school district.

Still, the shaky start has deflated some of the optimism many residents had when they heard about the state taking over schools that the city had mismanaged over the years. It is particularly worrisome to those who are depending on the schools.

“That’s hurting to your heart when a child says, ‘Mama, I want to go to school,’ and you can’t find one,” said Yvonne Thompson, who is raising a 14-year-old granddaughter who needs special-education classes. Standing outside a registration center, Ms. Thompson added, “I don’t understand what’s going on.”

Robin Jarvis, the superintendent of the Recovery District, said no child would be denied a space. But Dr. Jarvis added that officials were grappling with having more students back in the city than had been expected. Nine of the 17 Recovery schools are already at capacity.

………   click here for more

I am the sister of an Army National Guard corporal, and I am generally the first to defend and support the military and the soldiers. But stories like this one make me sick, and I hope that this article is only partially true.—Freckles

Click on the question above if you would like to comment.

AP probe looks at recruiting misconduct


By MARTHA MENDOZA, AP National WriterSat Aug 19, 12:20 PM ET

More than 100 young women who expressed interest in joining the military in the past year were preyed upon sexually by their recruiters. Women were raped on recruiting office couches, assaulted in government c
ars and groped en route to entrance exams.

A six-month Associated Press investigation found that more than 80 military recruiters were disciplined last year for sexual misconduct with potential enlistees. The cases occurred across all branches of the military and in all regions of the country.

“This should never be allowed to happen,” said one 18-year-old victim. “The recruiter had all the power. He had the uniform. He had my future. I trusted him.”

At least 35 Army recruiters, 18 Marine Corps recruiters, 18 Navy recruiters and 12 Air Force recruiters were disciplined for sexual misconduct or other inappropriate behavior with potential enlistees in 2005, according to records obtained by the AP under dozens of Freedom of Information Act requests. That’s significantly more than the handful of cases disclosed in the past decade.

The AP also found:

_The Army, which accounts for almost half of the military, has had 722 recruiters accused of rape and sexual misconduct since 1996.

_Across all services, one out of 200 frontline recruiters — the ones who deal directly with young people — was disciplined for sexual misconduct last year.

_Some cases of improper behavior involved romantic relationships, and sometimes those relationships were initiated by the women.

_Most recruiters found guilty of sexual misconduct are disciplined administratively, facing a reduction in rank or forfeiture of pay; military and civilian prosecutions are rare.

_The increase in sexual misconduct incidents is consistent with overall recruiter wrongdoing, which has increased from just over 400 cases in 2004 to 630 cases in 2005, according to a General Accounting Office report released this week.

The Pentagon has committed more than $1.5 billion to recruiting efforts this year. Defense Department spokeswoman Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke insisted that each of the services takes the issue of sexual misconduct by recruiters “very seriously and has processes in place to identify and deal with those members who act inappropriately.”

In the Army, 53 recruiters were charged with misconduct last year. Recruiting spokesman S. Douglas Smith said the Army has put much energy into training its staff to avoid these problems.

“To have 53 allegations in a year, while it is 53 more than we would want, is not indicative of the entire command of 8,000 recruiters,” he said. “We take this very seriously and we take appropriate action as necessary to discipline these people.”

I was on the radio today, on Bob Kincaid’s program, but talking to Jon & Bruce cause Bob is off doing other stuff today.  You can listen here:

I have been on Mike Malloy’s program on Air America Radio about three times and Jon Elliott’s program once, but today was my first time on Bob’s show.  It was also the first time that I went on without a topic or a question —– I just went on to say hi and to advertise this column.  Kinda cheesy, but hey.

So ……  have you ever called in to a poltical radio show?  If not, do you think you ever would?  Why not?  How else do you participate in politics and in democracy?

Click on the word Freckles above to leave a comment.








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