The Biggest Ghetto in America

Conservatives – especially their Lawn Jockey black conservative servants, like to talk about black folks and the inner city. It, like almost everything conservatives have to say is a lie – a flim flam game.Since I was hammering the Wall Street Journal’s professional Uncle Tom, Jason Riley a few posts ago - let’s use one of his buckdances for his WSJ Massa’s as an example -

Liberals in general, and the black left in particular, like the idea of talking about racial problems, but in practice they typically ignore the most relevant aspects of any such discussion. Any candid debate on race and criminality in this country would have to start with the fact that blacks commit an astoundingly disproportionate number of crimes. African-Americans constitute about 13% of the population, yet between 1976 and 2005 blacks committed more than half of all murders in the U.S. The black arrest rate for most offenses—including robbery, aggravated assault and property crimes—is typically two to three times their representation in the population.

“High rates of black violence in the late twentieth century are a matter of historical fact, not bigoted imagination,” wrote the late Harvard Law professor William Stuntz in “The Collapse of American Criminal Justice.” “The trends reached their peak not in the land of Jim Crow but in the more civilized North, and not in the age of segregation but in the decades that saw the rise of civil rights for African Americans—and of African American control of city governments.”

The left wants to blame these outcomes on racial animus and “the system,” but blacks have long been part of running that system. Black crime and incarceration rates spiked in the 1970s and ’80s in cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia, under black mayors and black police chiefs. Some of the most violent cities in the U.S. today are run by blacks.

One more time for the Lawn Jockey set – the issue is POVERTY, not black folks, not white folks,not cities..The issue buckdancers is POVERTY.

The White Ghetto

There are lots of diversions in the Big White Ghetto, the vast moribund matrix of Wonder Bread–hued Appalachian towns and villages stretching from northern Mississippi to southern New York, a slowly dissipating nebula of poverty and misery with its heart in eastern Kentucky, the last redoubt of the Scots-Irish working class that picked up where African slave labor left off, mining and cropping and sawing the raw materials for a modern American economy that would soon run out of profitable uses for the class of people who 500 years ago would have been known, without any derogation, as peasants. Thinking about the future here and its bleak prospects is not much fun at all, so instead of too much black-minded introspection you have the pills and the dope, the morning beers, the endless scratch-off lotto cards, healing meetings up on the hill, the federally funded ritual of trading cases of food-stamp Pepsi for packs of Kentucky’s Best cigarettes and good old hard currency, tall piles of gas-station nachos, the occasional blast of meth, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, petty crime, the draw, the recreational making and surgical unmaking of teenaged mothers, and death: Life expectancies are short — the typical man here dies well over a decade earlier than does a man in Fairfax County, Va. — and they are getting shorter, women’s life expectancy having declined by nearly 1.1 percent from 1987 to 2007.

If the people here weren’t 98.5 percent white, we’d call it a reservation.

Driving through these hills and hollows, you aren’t in the Appalachia of Elmore Leonard’s Justified or squatting with Lyndon Johnson on Tom Fletcher’s front porch in Martin County, a scene famously photographed by Walter Bennett of Time, the image that launched the so-called War on Poverty. The music isn’t “Shady Grove,” it’s Kanye West. There is still coal mining — which, at $25 an hour or more, provides one of the more desirable occupations outside of government work — but the jobs are moving west, and Harlan County, like many coal-country communities, has lost nearly half of its population over the past 30 years.

There is here a strain of fervid and sometimes apocalyptic Christianity, and visions of the Rapture must have a certain appeal for people who already have been left behind. Like its black urban counterparts, the Big White Ghetto suffers from a whole trainload of social problems, but the most significant among them may be adverse selection: Those who have the required work skills, the academic ability, or the simple desperate native enterprising grit to do so get the hell out as fast as they can, and they have been doing that for decades. As they go, businesses disappear, institutions fall into decline, social networks erode, and there is little or nothing left over for those who remain. It’s a classic economic death spiral: The quality of the available jobs is not enough to keep good workers, and the quality of the available workers is not enough to attract good jobs. These little towns located at remote wide spots in helical mountain roads are hard enough to get to if you have a good reason to be here. If you don’t have a good reason, you aren’t going to think of one.

Appalachian places have evocative and unsentimental names denoting deep roots: Little Barren River, Coal Pit Road. The name “Cumberland” blankets Appalachian geography — the Cumberland Mountains, the Cumberland River, several Cumberland counties — in tribute to the Duke of Cumberland, who along with the Ulster Scots ancestors of the Appalachian settlers crushed the Young Pretender at the Battle of Culloden. Even church names suggest ancient grievances: Separate Baptist, with the descriptor in all-capital letters. (“Come out from among them and be ye separate” — 2 Corinthians 6:17.) I pass a church called “Welfare Baptist,” which, unfortunately, describes much of the population for miles and miles around. Continue reading

Indian Response to Criticism of Miss America

Ow!

Her real name is Lilly Singh, her Youtube name is !!Superwoman!!, and she hosts a Youtube page here. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr…

Welfare and “White Trash”

One of the favorite theories of the racial conservative set is that “Welfare destroyed the back community”. It is a popular “adage” reinforced by paid Uncle Toms like Larry Elder and Thomas Sowell. Unfortunately for white conservatives …There are a few Mack Truck size holes in that argument…

  1. The majority of people who receive “welfare: and have received welfare since the 1930′s (35-40 years before the Great Society opened up welfare to black folks) are white.
  2. The black poverty rate in 1960 was 60%. Today, it is at a stubborn 20% and has been pretty much since the end of Clinton. The “Great Society” and Liberal ideas like “Equal Opportunity” resulted in the largest migration from poverty of any group in this country’s history.What the Great Society did not do, despite billions in investment, by and large is to move the large groups of southern and Appalachian whites into productivity. Much of conservative racial hysteria, and conservative racial resentment against blacks, Hispanics, and immigrants comes from the fact that those groups are in some part at least – succeeding.
  3. The “Black Community” envisioned in conservative mindset is the inner city. The vast majority of black folks, and even the majority of black poor folks  don’t live there anymore.  Indeed, according to some studies over 80% of black folks in the US now live in suburban or rural communities.
  4. Lastly, if welfare destroyed the black community… Why exactly hasn’t it had the same effect on the white community?

Thomas Sowell’s least popular book among conservatives is “Black Rednecks and white Liberals“. The reason is, while doing his usual buckdance about the depravity of the black community – he opens the door to the same issues afflicting a portion of the white community… specifically In the infamous Red State Zone. His theory is that black folks learned dysfunctional behavior from dysfunctional white folks during slavery (AKA Rednecks). While going into great detail about what he theorizes happened to the “Black community”, he utterly ignores where that white “Redneck” community, which now comprise the most faithful conservative voters went.

Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher kinda lets that cat out of the bag yesterday with his tweet..

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) said on Twitter this week that he would like to “defund white trash” who take advantage of federal social programs.

Rohrabacher made the remark in a reply to a Twitter user who was complaining about immigration policy.

Ga_bree_lla @ga_bree_ella@ImmortalTech @danarohrabacher Its ok for lazywhitetrash 2live off food stamps but won’t legalize my ppl who actuall contributetothiscountry

Dana Rohrabacher ✔ @DanaRohrabacher@ga_bree_ella would defund white trash, but not our vets , seniors & other deserving Americans 2 provide benefits 2 those here illegally

House Republicans are seeking cuts to food stamps that would trim the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program‘s cost by roughly 5 percent over 10 years.

In June, Rohrabacher said that John Boehner (R-Ohio) should be removed from his position as House speaker if he brought immigration reform to a full vote without majority support from Republicans.

Charles Blow hit the nail on the head with the following article Please follow the link and read the rest) -

‘A Town Without Pity’

America was once the land of Lady Liberty, beckoning the world: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

No more.

Today’s America — at least as measured by the actions and inactions of the pariahs who roam its halls of power and the people who put them there — is insular, cruel and uncaring.

In this America, people blame welfare for creating poverty rather than for mitigating the impact of it. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in June foundthat the No. 1 reason people gave for our continuing poverty crisis was: “Too much welfare that prevents initiative.”

In this America, the House can — as it did in July — pass a farm bill that left out the food stamp program at a time when a record number of Americans, nearly 48 million, are depending on the benefits.

In this America, a land of immigrants, comprehensive immigration reform can be stalled in The People’s Branch of government, and anti-reform mouthpieces like Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan can warn that immigration reform will be the end of the country.

And in today’s America, poverty and homelessness can easily seep beneath the wall we erect in our minds to define it.

A December report by the United States Conference of Mayors that surveyed 25 cities found that all but 4 of them reported an increase in requests for emergency food aid since 2011, and three-fourths of them expected those requests to increase in 2013.

The report also found that 60 percent of the cities surveyed had seen an increase in homelessness, and the same percentage of cities expected homelessness to increase in 2013.

But poverty isn’t easily written off as an inner-city ailment. It has now become a suburban problem. A report this week by the Brookings Institution found that “during the 2000s, major metropolitan suburbs became home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in America.”

Nor can economic insecurity be written off as a minorities-only issue. According to survey results published last month by The Associated Press:

“Nonwhites still have a higher risk of being economically insecure, at 90 percent. But compared with the official poverty rate, some of the biggest jumps under the newer measure are among whites, with more than 76 percent enduring periods of joblessness, life on welfare or near-poverty.”…

4th of July

“Illegal Immigration”? How the Bengazi Added to Our Cultural Mix Before the Civil Rights Act

One of the biggest lies told you in school is about “America being the land of opportunity for immigrants”. It’s a lie because before 1965 immigration from non-white parts of the world was illegal. Many of the Chinese who came here to work on the Transcontinental Railroad in the 19th Century, were boxed up and shipped back to China as soon as the railroad was finished.

In terms of “non-whiteness” the Irish were only brought here in the 1840′s through 1870′s because they were cheaper than slaves, and made excellent cannon fodder during the Civil War. Black folks and Irish competed, and often worked for and on the same low paying dirty jobs, from digging coal mines, to ditch digging. That competition was sometimes not friendly – as demonstrated in the New York City Draft Riots during the Civil War, and later during the early Labor Union period of the 1900′s. But there is a pretty rich history between the two groups, certainly not all antagonistic.

South Asia was particularly singled out by American Immigration authorities, which is why few South Asians can trace their history in the US back more than 50 years. But some Indians and what would later become Pakistanis did come here nearly 150 years ago. They stayed here, they married, and raised families. A fascinating book (next on my loyal Kindle) uncovers this previously unknown and ignored bit of history…

The Bengazi in Harlem. A group of largely Muslim South Asian immigrants and their African-American and Puerto Rican Wives at a  1952 banquet at New York’s Pakistan League of America.

Bengali Harlem: Author documents a lost history of immigration in America

In the next few weeks, Fatima Shaik, an African-American, Christian woman, will travel “home” from New York to Kolkata, India.

It will be a journey steeped in a history that has remained unknown until the publication last month of a revelatory book by Vivek Bald. And it will be a journey of contemplation as Shaik, 60, meets for the first time ancestors with whom she has little in common.

“I want to go back because I want to find some sort of closure for my family, said Shaik, an author and scholar of the Afro-Creole experience.

That Americans like Shaik, who identify as black, are linked by blood to a people on the Indian subcontinent seems, at first, improbable.

South Asian immigration boomed in this country after the passage of landmark immigration legislation in 1965. But long before that, there were smaller waves of new Americans who hailed from India under the British Empire.

The first group, to which Shaik’s grandfather, Shaik Mohamed Musa, belonged, consisted of peddlers who came to these shores in the 1890s, according to Bald. They sold embroidered silks and cottons and other “exotic” wares from the East on the boardwalks of Asbury Park and Atlantic City, New Jersey. They eventually made their way south to cities like New Orleans and Atlanta and even farther to Central America.

The second wave came in the 1920s and ‘30s. They were seamen, some merchant marines.

Most were Muslim men from what was then the Indian province of Bengal and in many ways, they were the opposite of the stereotype of today’s well-heeled, highly educated South Asians.

South Asian immigration was illegal then – the 1917 Immigration Act barred all idiots, imbeciles, criminals and people from the “Asiatic Barred Zone.”

The Bengalis got off ships with little to their name. Continue reading

Bill Maher – The Problem With Racism In This Country Is…

I think Maher hits the nail right on the head here… But Drudge is just symbolic of a number of right-wing sites…

Dear White People…

Not sure what yet another film is going to do to salve or clarify race relations in the US. But – a young brother wants to get into the film business… Which is progress. And I think he’s got some talent.

This one by Justin Smith.

The Birth Of ‘Dear White People’

Perhaps it was being mistaken for the one other Black guy in my office by a colleague who had worked with him for years… Or perhaps it was being asked repeatedly by co-workers to teach them the Single Ladies Dance? Either way something provoked me to go on Twitter as @DearWhitePeople two years ago and start tweeting things like:

“Dear White People. The single ladies dance is dead. Please turn off your web cams and go on about your lives.”

Meant to articulate the sometimes funny, mostly harmless, but occasionally painful experience of being a Black face in a vastly white place (i.e. most Hollywood work environments) @DearWhitePeople also served an ulterior motive of mine.

I’d been working for some time on a satire about race identity. The feature script for Dear White People follows the events leading up to a race riot a prestigious predominately white university through the perspectives of four very different Black students. While the script was culled from my
own college experiences and those of others I knew, I wanted to test out the voice of my lead character, Sam White, whose radio show “Dear White People” gives the film its title.

Sam, a kind of amalgamation of Dap from School Daze and iconic activist Angela Davis had a lot to say and I wanted to know what resonated with people.

As I charged through several drafts of the script, feedback from the twitter account would make its way into the project. Tweets that asked how I would feel if there was a “Dear Black People” prompted responses such as:

“Dear White People, there’s no need for a Dear Black People. Reality
shows on VH1 and Bravo let us know exactly how you feel about us.” Continue reading

Amercicans for Mitt!

ConOne of many images circulating Twitter abusing the Amercia gaffe.servatism will make you stupid!

Need simple incontrovertible proof?

Willard’s attempt at a viral WEB campaign.

Oosp: Romney’s New App Misspells ‘America’

There are typos, and then there are typos, and then there’s the gift Mitt Romney just handed his online detractors. Romney’s campaign just launched an app that was supposed to let people show their support by taking pictures, overlaying stirring messages on them, like “American Greatness” or “I’m a Mom for Mitt,” and then sharing them on social media with the message, “I’m With Mitt,” Mashable explains. The problem? One of the banners reads, “A BETTER AMERCIA.”

Yeah, there was no chance this wouldn’t instantly become a meme. People who we suspect are not Romney supporters have been feverishly snapping shots of dictionaries, spelling bee participants, toilets, and more, with the “AMERCIA” banner over them, and a Tumblr has cropped up to show off the best of them. Twitter is abuzz with mockery like, “Will Mitt Romney apologize for Amercia?” and “AMERCIA TEH BUETIFLU.” The campaign tells the Washington Post that it’s submitted a fix for the app to Apple.

There is even a Tubmlr that has been started on the gaffe.

BTx3′s favs?

Revenge of the Rust Belt

So now that US Industries have woken up – and finally started realizing that producing many products is cheaper in America…

Where are the new factories going?

Turns out, a majority of them are moving right back where they came from…

The Rust Belt.

During the 80′s and 90′s a lot of American business followed the cattle herd mentality in migrating manufacturing to China – or the next “best” onshore location – the American South. Now I don’t know if it was because at the time, Wall Street was sucking up all the smart MBAs with promises of making millions – or a failure in groupthink…

But a whole bunch of somebodies forgot to put the ancillary costs of offshoring into the equation. From lead laced toys damaging babies, to diaphanous intellectual property protections, to drywall which killed people because of the use of cheaper – poisonous chemicals… The real cost of manufacturing in China is much higher than the wage level would indicate. Thank goodness some folks finally got a clue.

The issue in the South is productivity. American productivity far surpasses that of any other country – and is significantly higher than Chinas. So while the payroll part of manufacturing in China is cheaper – the cost per completed piece is actually higher. Same issue in the South. When you start looking at where your educated workforce is…

It isn’t by and large …There. Meaning productivity is again higher in those old tried and true rust belt states. Further is the cost of conservatives. That is – as long as southern conservatives are dedicated to fighting the Civil War – the number of discrimination lawsuits, and level of employee friction is going to be through the roof, hampering full productivity. Lastly – as recent laws introduced and passed by conservative red state legislatures – such as the anti-immigrant legislation in Georgia where the state’s agricultural workforce was decimated…

You don’t know what stupid, business killing thing they are going to come up with next. Like declaring war on your largest foreign customer.

It’s early – but the “Rust Belt” right about now is looking pretty damn good.

The Revenge of the Rust Belt: How the Midwest Got Its Groove Back

We’re not used to thinking of the old industrial Midwest as a beacon of good news. Just the opposite. It’s Exhibit A in the story of America’s economic decline — a land of hollowed-out factory towns and shrinking cities. There’s an entire genre of photography dedicated to Detroit’s decaying cityscape alone.

Yet, it may be time to rethink that view. Because there are signs that the heart of the rust belt may be finally shaking off its rust.

For the past thirty years or so, there have been two great running narratives about American manufacturing, both of which have been disastrous for the Midwest’s economy. The first has been about the disappearing factory worker — how by shipping some jobs abroad and replacing others with machines, companies have figured out ways to produce more goods with millions of fewer employees on their assembly lines. The second narrative has been about migration — the decision by companies to move production away from once-booming industrial centers of the north, to southern states with weaker unions and lower wages.

Both of those trends, it appears, may have drawn to an end.  Continue reading

An Asian’s View on American Racism

This one by a member of the “Model Minority”. An Asian guy who gets American racism and how it impacts all the other minority groups in America.

Good read!

Blackness Is The Fulcrum

I’m often asked why I’ve focused so much more on anti-black racism than on Asians over the years. Some suggest I suffer from internalized racism.

That might well be true since who doesn’t suffer from internalized racism?  I mean, even white people internalize racism. The difference is that white people’s internalized racism is against people of color, and it’s backed up by those who control societal institutions and capital.

But some folk have more on their minds.  They say that focusing on black and white reinforces a false racial binary that marginalizes the experiences of non-black people of color. No argument here. But I also think that trying to mix things up by putting non-black people of color in the middle is a problem because there’s no “middle.” Continue reading

Juvenile Incarceration

"Juvenile in Justice" photo project captures kids behind bars

The above pic is from a series called “Juvenile in Justice”. They don’t say what this particular kid did to get in that cell – but some of the other pictures are of juveniles who have committed extremely violent crimes.

Worth a look.

The Death of America – Conservatism

This one from Author E.L. Doctorow. An apt description of what conservatives and conservative have done to America…

It wasn't a foreign enemy that destroyed America..

Unexceptionalism: A Primer

TO achieve unexceptionalism, the political ideal that would render the United States indistinguishable from the impoverished, traditionally undemocratic, brutal or catatonic countries of the world, do the following:

PHASE ONE

If you’re a justice of the Supreme Court, ignore the first sacrament of a democracy and suspend the counting of ballots in a presidential election. Appoint the candidate of your choice as president.

If you’re the newly anointed president, react to a terrorist attack by invading a nonterrorist country. Despite the loss or disablement of untold numbers of lives, manage your war so that its results will be indeterminate.

Using the state of war as justification, order secret surveillance of American citizens, data mine their phone calls and e-mail, make business, medical and public library records available to government agencies, perform illegal warrantless searches of homes and offices.

Take to torturing terrorism suspects, here or abroad, in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment. Unilaterally abrogate the Convention Against Torture as well as the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war. Commit to indeterminate detention without trial those you decide are enemies. For good measure, trust that legislative supporters will eventually apply this policy as well to American citizens.

Suspend progressive taxation so that the wealthiest pay less proportionately than the middle class. See to it that the wealth of the country accumulates to a small fraction of the population so that the gap between rich and poor widens exponentially.

By cutting taxes and raising wartime expenditures, deplete the national treasury so that Congress and state and municipal legislatures cut back on domestic services, ensuring that there will be less money for the education of the young, for government health programs, for the care of veterans, for the maintenance of roads and bridges, for free public libraries, and so forth.

Deregulate the banking industry so as to create a severe recession in which enormous numbers of people lose their homes and jobs.

Before you leave office add to the Supreme Court justices like the ones who awarded you the presidency.

PHASE TWO

If you’re one of the conservative majority of a refurbished Supreme Court, rule that corporations, no less than human beings, have the right under the First Amendment to express their political point of view. To come to this judgment, do not acknowledge that corporations lack the range of feelings or values that define what it is to be human. That humans can act against their own interest, whereas corporations cannot act otherwise than in their own interest. That the corporation’s only purpose is to produce wealth, regardless of social consequences.

This decision of the court will ensure tremendous infusions of corporate money into the political process and lead to the election in national and state legislatures of majorities of de facto corporate lobbyists.

PHASE THREE

Given corporate control of legislative bodies, enact laws to the benefit of corporate interests. For example, those laws sponsored by weapons manufacturers wherein people may carry concealed weapons and shoot and kill anyone by whom they feel threatened.

Give the running of state prisons over to private corporations whose profits increase with the increase in inmate populations. See to it that a majority of prisoners are African-American.

When possible, treat immigrants as criminals.

Deplete and underfinance a viable system of free public schools and give the education of children over to private for-profit corporations.

Make college education unaffordable.

Inject religious precepts into public policy so as to control women’s bodies.

Enact laws prohibiting collective bargaining. Portray trade unions as un-American.

Enact laws restricting the voting rights of possibly unruly constituencies.

Propagandize against scientific facts that would affect corporate profits. Portray global warming as a conspiracy of scientists.

Having subverted the Constitution and enervated the nation with these measures,  portray the federal government as unwieldy, bumbling and shot through with elitist liberals.  Create mental states of maladaptive populism among the citizenry to support this view.

PHASE FOUR

If you’re a justice of the Supreme Court, decide that the police of any and all cities and towns and villages have the absolute authority to strip-search any person whom they, for whatever reason, put under arrest.

With this ruling, the reduction of America to unexceptionalism is complete.

Adopt a “Real” Black Baby!

Oooooooookidokie!

 

 

Parent Gun – Pulling the Trigger on Non-Performing Schools in California

An interesting concept. I can see both sides of this, where something needs to be done – but what may be done may be worse than the old school. Charters are almost universally failures with a few bright exceptions, and consistently under-perform the Public Schools they were supposed to replace. The ability to shake up the school administration, and make the educators accountable (IF the educators are the problem) is a positive step. Unfortunately, most failing schools are also populated by “failing parents”. Someone needs to ask the question as to why the educational system in the United States, despite spending several times what other countries spend – is so bad? Is it actually a failure of the system, or a failure of the folks who run and fund the system? Seems that every time someone comes up with a bright idea to tweak the schools, from “No Child’s Behind” to high stakes testing -the result is worse than the system being replaced. That is not a failure of the school system. It isn’t a failure of the educators or kids for that matter – and to an extent the parents…

It’s a failure of the clowns in charge.

Parent trigger: School tests California law that allows takeover via petition

The national battle over the best way to fix failing schools is ripping through this desert town like a sandstorm, tearing apart a community that is testing a radical new approach: the parent takeover.

Parents here are trying to become the first in the country to use a trigger law, which allows a majority of families at a struggling school to force major changes, from firing the principal to closing the school and reopening it as an independent charter. All they need to do to wrest control is sign a petition.

The idea behind the 2010 California law — placing ultimate power in parents’ hands — resonates with any parent who has felt frustrated by school bureaucracy.

“We just decided we needed to do something for our children,” said Doreen Diaz, a parent organizing the trigger effort. “If we don’t stand up and speak for them, their future is lost.”

Her daughter attends Desert Trails Elementary, where last year two-thirds of the children failed the state reading exam, more than half were not proficient in math, and nearly 80 percent failed the science exam. The school has not met state standards for six years, and scores place it in the bottom 10 percent of schools statewide.

The children can’t wait years for improvement, Diaz said.

It’s just the type of situation that reformers had in mind when they crafted the trigger law, which applies to 1,300 public schools in California that under certain criteria are labeled as “failing.”

Others see the trigger law as dangerous, handing the complex challenge of education to people who may be unprepared to meet it. Critics also say the law circumvents elected school boards and invites abuse by charter operators bent on taking over public schools.

Trigger laws are spreading beyond California, passing or sparking debates in other states, including Maryland. Even Hollywood has noticed; a feature film, made by the producers of the 2010 documentary “Waiting for Superman,” is coming out this fall.

In Adelanto, the debate is destroying friendships, sowing suspicion and attracting powerful outside interests to this town on the edge of the Mojave Desert.

Parents trying to pull the trigger are backed by Parent Revolution, a Los Angeles organization funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.

In recent weeks, a group of parents opposed to the trigger has formed, with help from the California Teachers Association, the state’s largest teachers union.

“We all agree we’d like to see some improvements, but would you rather blow everything up, start from scratch and hope for better?” asked Lori Yuan, who has two children at Desert Trails and is fighting the trigger. “That doesn’t sound very good to me.”

In a plotline worthy of a soap opera, each group has accused the other of intimidation, harassment and hidden agendas. The district attorney has been asked to investigate charges of fraud, and lawyers are lining up.

“This has never been done before, and it’s very confusing,” said Carlos Mendoza, the president of the Adelanto School District Board of Trustees, who is also a high school teacher and a union member. “If we can get all these outsiders out, we can work out something.”… (more)

What Not to Get That Degree In

Used to be, a college degree was a reasonably sure fire ticket to employment. Not in today’s America. Here are some numbers which are scary…

Interestingly enough – there are several engineering fields on this list. So much for “rebuilding” America. The majority of these are services oriented.

A Tin Cup, Instead of a job

25 college majors with the highest unemployment rates

The worst nightmare of a college student has got to be graduating without a job. And the college major that a student selects can actually increase his or her chances of getting stuck in an unemployment line.

College majors that are hampered by highunemployment rates include a variety of psychology degrees, fine arts and architecture. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce delved into U.S. Census Bureau statistics to determine the employment rates of 173 college majors; I crossed them against a list of the most popular college majors.

College majors with the highest unemployment

  • 1. Clinical psychology 19.5%
  • 2. Miscellaneous fine arts 16.2%
  • 3. United States history 15.1%
  • 4. Library science 15.0%
  • 5. (tie) Military technologies; educational psychology 10.9%
  • 6. Architecture 10.6%
  • 7. Industrial & organizational psychology 10.4%
  • 8. Miscellaneous psychology 10.3%
  • 9. Linguistics & comparative literature 10.2%
  • 10. (tie) Visual & performing arts; engineering & industrial management 9.2%
  • 11. Engineering & industrial management 9.2%
  • 12. Social psychology 8.8%
  • 13. International business 8.5%
  • 14. Humanities 8.4%
  • 15. General social sciences 8.2%
  • 16. Commercial art & graphic design 8.1%
  • 17. Studio art 8.0%
  • 18. Pre-law & legal studies 7.9%
  • 19. Materials engineering and materials science and composition & speech (tie) 7.7%
  • 20. Liberal arts 7.6%
  • 21. (tie) Fine arts and genetics 7.4%
  • 22. Film video & photography arts and cosmetology services & culinary arts (tie) 7.3%
  • 23. Philosophy & religious studies and neuroscience (tie) 7.2%
  • 24. Biochemical sciences 7.1%
  • 25. (tie) Journalism and sociology 7.0%
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