Links 12/17/14

Links for you. Science:

Lyme-Illiterate (after being an idiot about Ebola, of course Cuomo would get this wrong)
“The Great Plate Count Anomaly” that is no more
Supplementary Materials practices rob authors of citation credit
Snake oil salesmen selling torture
Antibiotic resistance: sometimes knowledge is not enough

Other:

An Open Letter to America from a Public School Teacher.
A Walton’s Plan to “Fix Public Education.” Uh huh.
The Supreme Court sides with Amazon, ruling that warehouse workers don’t deserve to be paid when waiting to be searched
It’s time for Tor activists to stop acting like the spies they claim to hate
The Study Health Care Reform Desperately Needs
Comcast sued for turning home Wi-Fi routers into public hotspots
Scott Walker Responds to Letter Regarding Menorah: ‘Thank You and Molotov’
John Brennan Must Go
The plot to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids
Vintage photos of supermarkets in N.J.
‘Girl in a Country Song’ hits No. 1 by mocking bro country. The bros aren’t laughing.
CRomnibus Disaster Signals a Sad New Normal in D.C.
Again, the Hospital CEO as Scrooge – Erlanger CEO and Other Top Hired Managers Get Bonuses Months After They Froze Employees’ Paid Time Off
As recruitment dips, TFA leader says New York training site to close
If You Thought Stop-And-Frisk Was Bad, You Should Know About Jump-Outs

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Giuliani Blames Teachers Unions For Eric Garner’s Death

St. Rudy 9/11 crapped out this turd (boldface mine):

He then turned his fire on teachers unions, claiming they are to blame for the problem of poor schools in black neighborhoods.

“Maybe all these left-wing politicians that want to blame police, maybe there’s some blame here that has to go to the teachers union, for refusing to have, for refusing to have schools where teachers are paid for performance, for fighting charter schools, for fighting vouchers, so we can drastically and dramatically improve the education situation. Maybe they should be talking about and holding rallies about the problem of black fathers taking care of the children they fathered,” he said.”

Question: what kind of mind uses a situation such as the death of Eric Garner and the non-indictment of those responsible to union bust and parrot idiotic education reform propaganda?

We’ll ignore the black fathers falsehoood–racism is a nervous tic for Giuliani.

But this is absurd. Garner was a New York City employee until he was laid off due to budget cuts. He wasn’t a failure of the education system–he had a decent job.

No word on whether Newt Gingrich has blamed Garner’s death on capital gains taxes….

Posted in Conservatives, Education, Fucking Morons, Racism | 1 Comment

The Justification For Torture That No One Wants to Confront

oldantitortureposter

For those who have followed our reign of torture closely, in 2005, videotapes of torture sessions were destroyed. Most people assume this was done because the tapes were so horrifying, no one wanted them released. In light of last weekend’s Torturers on Parade that blanketed the Pious Sabbath Gasbag TV shows–and how unrepentant those monsters were–we might want to rethink the motivation for destroying the tapes (boldface mine):

The truth is that torture did work, but not the way its defenders claim. It worked to produce justifications for policies the establishment wanted, like the Iraq war. This is actually tacitly acknowledged in the report — or one should say, it’s buried in it. Footnote 857 of the report is about Ibn Shaykh al-Libi, who was captured in Afghanistan shortly after the U.S. invasion and was interrogated by the FBI. He told them all he knew, but then the CIA rendered him to the brutal Mubarak regime in Egypt, in effect outsourcing their torture. From the footnote:

“Ibn Shaykh al-Libi reported while in [censored: ‘Egyptian’] custody that Iraq was supporting al-Qa’ida and providing assistance with chemical and biological weapons. Some of this information was cited by Secretary Powell in his speech at the United Nations, and was used as a justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Ibn Shaykh al-Libi recanted the claim after he was rendered to CIA custody on February [censored], 2003, claiming that he had been tortured by the [censored, likely ‘Egyptians’], and only told them what he assessed they wanted to hear. For more more details, see Volume III.” Of course, Volume III has not been made public.

So, while CIA head John Brennan now says it’s “unknowable” if torture lead to information that actually saved lives, it’s provable that torture lead to information that helped lead to war and destroyed lives.

Nor was al-Libi the only one tortured to try to make the case for war. Many have reported that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaeda detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times — but few give the exact timing and context: The were so tortured in August 2002 and March 2003 respectively — the beginning and end of the Bush administrations push for the invasion of Iraq.

This was somewhat acknowledged in the other Senate report on torture, released by the Armed Services Committee in 2008. It quoted Maj. Paul Burney, who worked as a psychiatrist at Guantanamo Bay prison: “A large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq and we were not successful. The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link … there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.” The GTMO Interrogation Control Element Chief, David Becker told the Armed Services Committee he was urged to use more aggressive techniques, being told at one point “the office of Deputy Secretary of Defense [Paul] Wolfowitz had called to express concerns about the insufficient intelligence production at GTMO.

The use of torture is awful enough, but to do in order to manufacture lies that lead to the deaths of over 100,000 is monstrous.

In a civilized society, these people would be in jail, never mind going on television to spout their bile.

Posted in Torture | 5 Comments

Links 12/16/14

Links for you. Science:

Why all research findings are false (interesting)
Risky medicine: Misunderstanding risk factors has led to massive overtreatment of diseases people don’t have and probably never will
The Caterpillar Defense
The Power of a Press Release
Torture: Why did the CIA spend over $180m on bad science?

Other:

Single Parents and the Break-Up Between the White Working Class and the Democratic Party
TIPPING POINTS? MALCOLM GLADWELL COULD USE A FEW (plagarizing? By a thought leader at the New Yorker? Inconceivable!)
“Most people know me as a famous racist, but you might also enjoy my work promoting rape culture.”
This Greenpeace Stunt May Have Irreparably Damaged Peru’s Nazca Site
The Shame of America’s Rotting Roads
Your Retirement Fund Is Slowly Evaporating (the fees kill you)
Torture is a culture. Releasing the Senate report is a way of fighting it. (turning a frown upside down I suppose…)
Losing control
PADILLA’S IDIOTIC PLOT, AND HIS SOMEWHAT LESS IDIOTIC PLOT
Torture report highlights consequences of permanent war
Scathing Stanford CREDO Report Shows Ohio Traditional Public Schools Outperform Charters
What Is Chuck Johnson, and Why? The Web’s Worst Journalist, Explained
The Torture Report, Part Two: What It Means
The Senate report proves once and for all that torture didn’t lead us to Osama bin Laden
How economics is like 1950s Freudian psychology
The gigantic disaster of the CIA’s torture program
State school board votes against requirements for schools to have nurses, librarians and counselors (but our children are the most important blah, blah, blah….)

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The Case For Disruptive Protests

Not faux disruption or political theater, but actually inconveniencing people. Zaid Jilani:

protest

Most people, when faced with a policy that makes them feel uncomfortable, will attempt to ignore the entire problem rather than fix it. That’s why these protests matter.

Posted in Racism | 2 Comments

One Way to Guarantee All of Your Graduates Will Attend College

Get rid of the ones who can’t. I’ve written before about the charter school scam: how charters wind up with far fewer learning disabled and English-as-a-second language students, and then they have very high expulsion rates. It’s easy to claim many of your students perform well when the poor performers are forced out, but this charter school in Houston, Texas, takes the cake:

The best secret of YES Prep “success” is no secret at all, for it is in the YES Prep student handbooks. And since the December 2014 Forbes article with Penner features YES Prep North Central, let us consider the YES Prep North Central Student Handbook, pages 4 and 5:

High School Advanced Coursework Requirement

Every YES Prep student, unless exempt from such requirements by the student’s ARD (Admission Review Dismissal) committee, must take and pass at least one Advanced Placement or dual-credit course for high school credit in order to be eligible to receive his/her high school diploma.

College Acceptance Requirement

A student must be accepted to at least one four-year college or university in order to be eligible for a YES Prep high school diploma, unless exempt from such requirements by the student’s Admission Review Dismissal (ARD)committee.

There it is: YES Prep is not the Forbes-declared “right school” because it creates students who are “college material”; YES Prep is the “right school” because it intentionally weeds out students who would tarnish its “100 percent college acceptance” image.

This is the definition of circular logic: all of our graduates attend college because we won’t grant them a diploma if they aren’t accepted into a college.

People this dishonest have no business being around children on a daily basis.

Posted in Education | 1 Comment

Links 12/15/14

Links for you. Science:

Scientists Are Not That Smart
Abortions in Medical Settings Rarely Have Major Complications
How to scare off the biggest pest in the world
Science funding in 2015 (increase well below the inflation rate. WHEEEE!!!!)
Once more with feeling: The HPV vaccine doesn’t make girls more likely to get pregnant or get an STI

Other:

For worker control
Paris Aims to End Its Pollution Misery by Cutting Out Cars
A Feminist Critique of Silicon Valley (a bit jargonish, but good insights)
A Taxonomy of Torture Defenses
The New Republic: An Appreciation. It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that black lives didn’t matter much at all to the magazine.
Conservatives toss out a bunch of self-contradicting arguments about rape (because it’s a day that ends with -y…)
Bill Moyers on The Lives of the Very Very Rich
I’m 40. I Don’t Want to Be a Mom. Now What?
D.C. dropping request to shut part of I-395 (so 60 months of construction instead of 20, all to please drivers. Awesome. Then people complain why housing and office space is so damn expensive…)
Fox News: Congress Hasn’t Meddled In D.C. Affairs For Decades
CIA FIFTH COLUMNISTS REMIND ME OF DEFIANT, PETULANT COPS (and people think teachers have captured bureaucracies?)
Best Way for Professors to Get Good Student Evaluations? Be Male.
@atul_gawande on shameful role of medical professionals in torture
The rise of the Airbnb investment property?
Is It Only Torture When Other People Do It?
Sorry, but the Abortion Rate Is Not Going Down Because Women “Choose Life”
Scott Walker Once Wished A Jewish Constituent ‘Molotov’ (and every year, we Jews fast on Yonkers!)

Posted in Lotsa Links | 4 Comments