What You Need to Know about ALEC, the Koch Brothers, the DeVos Family, and Privatization

Diane Ravitch's blog

This article was written in 2015 but it is as timely today as it was then. Maybe more timely, because in 2015, who would have dreamed that Betsy DeVos would soon be U.S. Secretary of Education?

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a bill mill founded in 1973 and funded by the Koch Brothers, the DeVos family, and major corporations. It operates secretively. It does not issue press releases. It churns out model laws that state legislators introduce into their own states to deregulate business and privatize the public sector for profit. It is a stealth political campaign to privatize everything for profit while classified by the IRS as a charity. Its members include one of every four state legislators in the nation. It’s corporate members include some of the nation’s pre-eminent businesses.

One of the major targets of ALEC is public education, because it is public. ALEC has…

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Texas: The Baptist Minister Who Drives Conservatives Crazy

“You have the right to home-school your children. You have the right to ‘private school’ your children. You don’t have the right to ask the people of Texas to pay for it.”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Charles Foster Johnson is a fiery minister who has made it his mission to protect the millions of children who attend public schools and to block the billionaires pushing vouchers.

You gotta love this fearless man!

“Quoting Bible verses and calling the school vouchers propos​al ​by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other lawmakers “sinful,”​ Fort Worth minister Charlie​ Johnson has been driving ​feverishly ​around the state before the March 6 primary.

“At rallies and impromptu meetings arranged by friendly school superintendents with local ministers, the longtime Southern Baptist preacher delivers a fiery message​ on behalf of public schools. His get-out-the-vote crusade has irritated GOP state leaders and staunchly conservative activists who favor using tax dollars ​to help parents of children enrolled in public schools pay to attend private schools.

“Johnson, pastor of the small, interracial Bread Fellowship in Fort Worth, does not mince words. Christians have an obligation to embrace…

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Thank President Trump and his Deplorable supporters for a future without Chocolate and Coffee

My January blues didn’t kick in until I read these stories.  All chocolate lovers and/or addicts take a long, deep calming breath before reading further … especially if you are young enough to be still around in thirty-two years.

The Mirror reports, “World could RUN OUT of chocolate by 2050 as cacao plants struggle to cope with effects of climate change.”

Sigh, and Business Insider says, “Most of the world’s best places for coffee will be gone by 2050” because of the climate change that isn’t happening according to U.S. President and Liar-in-Chief Donald Trump (who made 1,950 false or misleading claims over 347 days).

After all, Trump is the deplorable idiot that is convinced global warming and climate change is a hoax. Do you think he will be around in 2050?

Imagine a world without chocolate and coffee.

That’s just 32 years from now.

Wait, I don’t think I will be around in 2050. I’d have to be 104 to reach 2050. Maybe I won’t have to live without chocolate and coffee during my lifetime. but I think I should start stockpiling a supply now so it lasts to my last breath even after the shortages begin and the prices skyrocket until only billionaires — that are getting most of the tax cuts from Trump and the Republican Party — will be able afford the luxury of chocolate and coffee.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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The Dreaded Sex Scene

E J Frost

Long ago (in a galaxy far, far away) I work-shopped a novel in an online writing workshop. One of the draws of the workshop was the “Editor’s Choice”: a professional critique given by the editor in residence to two lucky selections a month. I had the honor of having a chapter selected as “Editor’s Choice” one month. The editor was a scifi writer that I hugely respect. His critique, in retrospect, was kind and encouraging. At the time, it literally made me puke. Several times.

Why? Because he’d chosen a sex scene to review. It was the first sex scene I’d posted in public, anywhere. I was incredibly uncomfortable posting it, and incredibly uncomfortable with his review. I focused on the one negative thing he said to the exclusion of all else, decided I couldn’t write sex scenes, and didn’t publish another sex scene for several years.

Then I…

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Emily Talmage: Beware The Philanthrocapitalists’ Big New Plan

“[Bill] Gates is one giant, gnarly tree in a dark, overgrown forest of private ‘givers’ who are dead-set on remaking our nation into something reminiscent of a feudalistic society.”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Bill Gates has a big new idea. He has gotten together with a few other big-time philanthropists and created a pool of $500 Million, with which they plan to solve the really big problems in health, education, and economic opportunity. They call their collaboration “Co-Impact.” One of the collaborators is Jeff Skoll, who was one of the producers of the public school-bashing hitjob “Waiting for Superman.”

Emily Talmage is not happy about what’s coming from this group. She sees it as yet another attempt by the super-elites to impose their will on the rest of us, who lack their money and power.

Let us stipulate: no one elected a Bill Gates and his friends to remake social policy. Sure, Trump is busy dismantling and shredding social policy, but who put Bill in charge? One thing we can say about the richest man in America: Every one of his interventions into…

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Found on Quora: What’s the best Donald Trump joke you have heard?

I could not resist. I had to share these. I read them on Quora and roared with laughter. Because they also are so close to the truth, maybe I should have cried.

 

“Donald Trump and Barack Obama ended up at the same barber shop. As they sat there, each being worked on by a different barber, not a word was spoken. The barbers were both afraid to start a conversation, for fear that it would turn nasty. As the barbers finished their shaves in silence, the one who had Trump in his chair reached for the aftershave. But Donald was quick to stop him, jokingly saying, “No thanks. My wife, Melania, will smell that and think I’ve been in a brothel.” The second barber turned to Barack and said, “How about you, Mr. Obama?” Barack replied, “Go right ahead, my wife Michelle doesn’t know what the inside of a brothel smells like.” – Jeff Kelley, Pint glass political philosopher

 

God asks Bush: “What do you believe in?”
Bush answers: “I believe in the free market, and the strong American nation!”
“Very well”, says God. “Come sit to my right.”

Next, God asks Obama: “What do you believe in?”
Obama answers: “I believe in the power of democracy, and equal rights for all.”
“Good”, says God. “You shall sit to my left.”

Finally, God asks Trump: “What do you believe in?”

Trump answers: “I believe you’re sitting in my chair.” – Brad Jensen

 

Trump and Hillary go into a bakery on the campaign trail. Hillary steals three pastries and puts them in her pocket.

Hillary: “See? No one noticed and I don’t even need to lie. That’s how I’ll win.”

Trump: “No, Crooked Hillary. I’ll show you an honest way.”

Donald goes to the baker: “Give me a pastry and I’ll show you a magic trick.”

The baker gives him a pastry. Trump eats it and asks for another one. The owner gives him another one. Then Donald asks for a third pastry and eats that, too.

The baker: “Where the magic trick?”

Trump: “Look in Hillary’s pockets.” – Oleg Atbashian

 

 

Music Therapy for PTSD from a 13-year-old singer-songwriter

The Soulful Veteran's Blog

I’m a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat vet that has lived with PTSD since 1966 when I returned from the war, and recently I have discovered that music helps me cope and sleep better.  And not just any music but the songs written by and sang by child prodigy Grace VanderWaal. For me, no other music has worked to give me a sense of peace from the demons of PTSD.

But why does it work?

Brainwave Power Music reports, “Studies have shown that music can trigger the brain to release chemicals to distract the body and mind from the pain. Music, as well as binaural beats and isochronic tones which augment the effects, reach the brain’s auditory cortex, which causes the communication between the cortex and the sections of the brain that govern emotion, memory, and body control.”

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says, “Findings suggest that the…

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