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clipped from www.reuters.com
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Students cannot be assigned to public schools because of their race, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in a significant civil rights decision that casts doubt on integration efforts adopted across the country.
By a 5-4 vote on the last day of its term, the court’s conservative majority struck down voluntary programs adopted in Seattle and Louisville, Kentucky, to attain racial diversity in public school classrooms.
The ruling added to a string of decisions this term in which President George W. Bush’s two appointees — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito — have shifted the court sharply to the right on divisive social issues like abortion.
It also fueled vows by Democratic presidential candidates to change the court’s direction and reduce racial inequality in schools.

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I used to live in a country in which a handful of men and women, the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, had the courage to stand up in order to protect the interests of those for whom the promise of America was being undermined by public policy. In Brown v Board of Education the court held that public policy that separated young people on the basis of the color of their skin could no longer stand in the United States. Legal segregation based on Plessy v Ferguson, the decision that created the “separate but equal” standard, was no longer acceptable in the land of the free and the home of the brave.Effectively, the court is returning to Plessy. Reuters reports, “Roberts said in writing for the court majority that racial balancing was not permitted. “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race,” he said.” Roberts’ logic is flawed. By eliminating policy designed to attain racial diversity from the mix, the court is opening to door to an implied standard of “separate but equal” found in Plessy.

This court is not about courage, justice, or equity. This court is about forcing a radical return to a period in our history that many Americans are pleased to have behind us. As the court undercuts the decisions of the past 50 years I am fearful that the America I have known will rapidly disappear and we will return to a society in which racial. religious, gender, and sexual orientation will not only be “legally” acceptable, it will become an ugly reality. We will return to segregated schools, religious persecution, back alley abortions, and homophobic discrimination. What kind of an example for the world will America be then?

clipped from news.yahoo.com

NEW YORK – The scarlet letter in education these days is an “R.” It stands for restructuring — the purgatory that schools are pushed into if they fail to meet testing goals for six straight years under the No Child Left Behind law.

Nationwide, about 2,300 schools are either in restructuring or are a year away and planning for such drastic action as firing the principal and moving many of the teachers, according to a database provided to The Associated Press by the Education Department. Those schools are being warily eyed by educators elsewhere as the law’s consequences begin to hit home.

Schools fall into this category after smaller changes, such as offering tutoring, fall short. The effort is supposed to amount to a major makeover, and it has created a sense of urgency that in some schools verges on desperation.

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Once again No Child Left Behind rears its ugly head. In the land of the free and the home of the brave 2300 schools are deemed failing. No doubt the vast majority of these schools serve urban or rural poor, people of color, or otherwise undeserved communities.
The crisis in American schools is not real, it is, as David Berliner pointed out, one that is politically manufactured, politically motivated. The same people that underfund urban schools rant about how urban schools are failing. The same people that rant about school failures are also behind the movement to privatize education in the United States urging vouchers to pay for religious education and the like.
John Dewey argued that the wealthy in a democracy have the absolute responsibility to provide for the poor the same level of education they provide for their own children. Dewey was speaking about school funding and the gap between funding in wealthy and poor communities. Jonathan Kozol revisited this claim in his fantastic book Savage Inequalities. Nothing has changed in 100 years.

Video from Indianapolis

Seed Newsvine

The brief clip below is from the start of the parade lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway of the United States Grand Prix, the Formula 1 race held at the IMS for the past 8 years. There is simply nothing like the sound of an F1 engine revving at 18,000 rpm as the cars leave the starting line from a standing start.

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clipped from www.kentucky.com
There is trouble in paradise, with a fight of biblical proportions raging between a Kentucky-based creationist group and the Australian group from which it sprang.
Three days after the Memorial Day opening of Answers in Genesis’ $27 million Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky, a group called Creation Ministries International filed suit in the Supreme Court of Queensland.
Among other things, the suit claims the Kentucky group stole subscribers for its Answers magazine by claiming that the Australians’ Creation magazine was “no longer available.”
The suit is the most public move in what has been a growing rift between groups that are spreading the same Garden of Eden creation message on opposite sides of the globe.
Both groups believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, that the earth and everything else was created in six days around 6,000 years ago.
But in the last several years, they have increasingly feuded about finances and power.

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Hoo Haa! So there must be more than one creation mythology because even the creationists can’t agree. Fighting over whose myth outranks the other’s even when the myths are based on the same text is, no doubt, fodder for Jay Leno. I just have to laugh. If only they would try a bit of rationality rather than delusional self-interest maybe, just maybe, the world would be a better, more tolerant place.

Seed Newsvine

ANYONE who follows an election campaign too closely will sometimes get the feeling that politicians think voters are idiots. But voters may not be idiots just irrational thinkers. This article presents a nice breakdown of voter biases with economic lessons integrated. The American voter biases are anti-market, anti-foreign, make-work, and pessimism…

THIS IS A FANTASTIC PIECE. Click on the link below to read the whole article.

Read the Whole Article –Click Here | digg story

clipped from www.formula1.com
At one stage the first six cars – the McLarens, the BMW Saubers and the Ferraris – were only six-tenths of a second apart, but then the Spaniard hit his stride to go clear with a lap of 1m 11.925s. That compares with Michael Schumacher’s 2006 pole position lap of 1m 10.832s.This time it was not Hamilton who got closest; that honour fell to Nick Heidfeld who looked very strong in the BMW Sauber on his way to 1m 12.391s. His only drama was a momentary deviation from the grey stuff on one lap. Backing him strongly, new-for-this-race team mate Sebastian Vettel pushed his way up to fourth place on 1m 12.869s, without putting a wheel wrong.

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I’ll be out of touch for the next few days. US Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For all of you that thought my remarks on the infantile nature of target shooting, you can get out your big guns on this one. Watching cars run around a pretend road course makes absolutely no sense. Watching automobiles rev at 19,000 RPM is thrilling but absurd. Finally, being out in the hot sun all day long for two days when air conditioning is close at hand is not for the weak at heart. All that being said, I just love open wheel racing at the highest level in the world. Go figure.In addition, going to the US Grand Prix allows me to spend time with my son and grandson over an extended period of time. WOW. What could be wrong with that.

So I’ll be back on Monday. See you all then.

The Mclaren Team

Seed Newsvine

clipped from www.reuters.com
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The FBI possibly violated the law or its rules more than 1,000 times since 2002 in collecting data about phone calls, e-mails and financial records while investigating terrorism or espionage suspects, FBI officials said on Thursday.
The potential violations found by an FBI audit were far greater than the approximately two dozen previously documented violations in a U.S. Justice Department report released in March that was based on a much smaller sampling, they said.
The vast majority of newly discovered violations were instances in which companies, such as telephone and Internet providers, gave more information than the FBI sought, the officials said.
They said the FBI has drafted new guidelines in an effort to prevent future abuses, but civil liberties groups and Democrats in Congress expressed doubt that they would be sufficient to protect the privacy of Americans.

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When I was growing up in the 1950’s we were forced to watch propaganda films telling us all about the evils of the Soviet Union, especially the danger from the Secret Police. We were briefed on the potential abuse in such a system, one which went so far as to encourage children to spy on their parents, workers on their bosses and colleagues, and friend on friend. Awards, we were told, were given to those who reported to the secret police crimes real or imagined.I wonder just what the difference might be if the FBI takes upon itself the role of secret police. Of course, there is a great difference here. The FBI investigated itself and slapped its own hand. What would an external investigation, one that is independent of the Justice Department under the questionable leadership of Alberto Gonzales, might find?

Sad fact is that I am not surprised by any of this. Just another potential scandal for George II’s administration.