There are no grand bargains

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Thomas Friedman in NYTimes.com:

I don’t like Keystone. Extracting oil from tar sands leads to even higher carbon emissions than drilling and devastates the landscape. But, if approval is the price for a truly transformational clean energy policy, I’m in. You’re not going to move the vested interests without a trade, but it has to be a smart trade.

Yes he’s talking about grand bargains. Going to kick the football with Lucy? Good luck with that Charlie Brown.

TPM: U.S. ‘Deeply Concerned’ With Turkey’s Move To Block Twitter

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U.S. 'Deeply Concerned' With Turkey's Move To Block Twitter: “The United States is deeply concerned that the Turkish government has blocked its citizens’ access to basic communication tools,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. “We oppose this restriction on the Turkish people’s access to information, which undermines their ability to exercise freedoms of expression and association and runs contrary to the principles of open governance that are critical to democratic governance and the universal rights that the United States stands for around the world.”

Soap: Black Market Commodity

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I always wondered this when buying $1 body wash at Dollar General:

Last year, New York magazine investigated how thieves were stealing laundry detergent to sell for drug money. One Safeway reported losing up to $15,000 a month in stolen detergent. Who would have expected the city’s underground economy to intersect with its legitimate economy thanks to such utterly boring products? [Priceonomics]

via Why Do Drug Stores Put Soap Under Lock and Key?.

Body Washes, soaps and clothing detergent are all being secured in stores now.

Has Google been skimming info from Apps for Education (aka children)?

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As part of a potentially explosive lawsuit making its way through federal court, giant online-services provider Google has acknowledged scanning the contents of millions of email messages sent and received by student users of the company’s Apps for Education tool suite for schools.In the suit, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company also faces accusations from plaintiffs that it went further, crossing a “creepy line” by using information gleaned from the scans to build “surreptitious” profiles of Apps for Education users that could be used for such purposes as targeted advertising

via Google Under Fire for Data-Mining Student Email Messages – Education Week.

Stupid Question: shouldn’t we demand all companies begin using creative commons software agreements?
It should kind of be the standard for software. It’s past the point where we can trust an software, OS or hardware makers and these twenty some page legal notices are just deterrents to us understanding what a software vendor is trading access to our personal information or software fees for.

“developed in 1981″

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From FiveThirtyEight.com’s Building a Bracket Is Hard This Year, But We’ll Help You Play the Odds:

So how were the Cardinals a No. 4 seed?

The answer, almost certainly, is the selection committee’s attachment to Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), which somehow evaluates Louisville as only the 18th-best team in the country. RPI, as I’ve written previously, was “developed in 1981 in the era of the DOS prompt and the Commodore 64.”

iOS 8 is bringing more Apple Maps Fixes

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iOS 8 is bringing more Apple Maps Fixes. Being that I can’t make Google Maps my default map app, I’m hopeful, but not holding my breath. I used Apple Maps instead of Google Maps a few weeks back for turn by turn directions while driving and ended up a full city block away from my destination. Points A and B were both inside Philadelphia. I realized my error, punched up Google Maps and got the right location. It was a sketchier neighborhood and accuracy would have been appreciated.

Netflix’s Reed Hastings has a big idea: Kill elected school boards

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Netflix Reed Hastings wants to put an end to school boards and replace public schools with charters:

Hastings suggests that the “stable governance” of charter schools leads to stable schools, but, alas, big changes occur  in charter schools. Let’s look at Rocketship, on whose unofficial board of advisers Hastings sits.  Rocketship became known — and won $2 million from the Obama administration to help it grow — with a “blended learning” model that is designed to incorporate traditional classroom settings with a computer “Learning Lab” for students. The idea behind the lab was that students could learn basic lessons in math and reading while teachers could work with students on more complicated material. Part of the attraction, too, was that the computers would cost less than hiring more teachers. But get this: Last year Rocketship realized it had to revamp its fabulous “Learning Lab” because it wasn’t working very well. The charter network’s Web site says it is still piloting ”flexible learning spaces at some of our schools — spaces that will allow our teachers be even more effective and students to learn even more.”

What he’s arguing for is less governance, not better schools. Here’s the real story, public schools are more than fine outside of school districts in impoverished, urban areas. In fact they are pretty damn good:

About education. And unlike other folks who parachute into the ed debates with the usual silver bullets (more charter schools! higher standards! fewer teachers unions!), he [movie maker M. Night Shyamalan]  actually diagnoses the problem correctly:

You know how everyone says America is behind in education, compared to all the countries? Technically, right now, we’re a little bit behind Poland and a little bit ahead of Liechtenstein, right? So that’s where we land in the list, right? So that’s actually not the truth. The truth is actually bizarrely black and white, literally, which is, if you pulled out the inner-city schools — just pull out the inner-city, low-income schools, just pull that group out of the United States, put them to the side — and just took every other public school in the United States, we lead the world in public-school education by a lot.

And what’s interesting is, we always think about Finland, right? Well, Finland, obviously, is mainly white kids, right? They teach their white kids really well. But guess what, we teach our white kids even better. We beat everyone. Our white kids are getting taught the best public-school education on the planet. Those are the facts.

It’s like we own 10 buildings, and 3 are on fire. So the Hastings solution is to turn the fire hose on all ten houses. The idea of public school systems is not broken. The countries we are “losing” too implement public schools. It has been perpetually improving and adapting in middle class and wealthy school districts across the country for decades. It’s the ability to deliver quality education in impoverished areas that is the issue. Wanting to get 90% of kids in the nation into charters is a corporate growth strategy, not an academic development strategy.

Jamelle Bouie on trolls

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From A Conversation with Jamelle Bouie at The Hairpin.

When did you start getting trolled?

I think I’ve always had trolls of some sort. I think the phenomenon of getting attention from the right-wing blogosphere, right-wing Twitter—the very hyper-specific racist trolls that seek out people of color to harass them—that started after the 2012 election. And, that was a good year for me. The great thing about election years for political writers is that, if you write well, you can increase your visibility. Which then of course means trolls.

What did a good year look and feel like to you?

A good year is when I think I’m writing a lot, writing well, when everything’s trafficking very well—traffic patterns where you can notice that you actually have an audience, and people aren’t just stumbling across your writing, but actively trying to read what you do.

I think I started doing a bit more media that year—radio and TV, I mean—and around all of that is when the number of trolls took a sharp uptick. Then, in 2013, I did way more media, I switched jobs, and the Daily Beast gets much more traffic than the Prospect, so it’s a much more public platform. Last summer is when the quantity of racist trolls quintupled.

 

“Eat, Sleep and Jeep”

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Read Businessweek’s article:  “The Jeep Plant Mitt Romney Said Was Moving to China Is Hiring 1,000 Workers in Ohio”:

“You’ve gotta remember, these people [the regular workers] are working 10 hours a day, six days a week,” a UAW boss who helped negotiate the deal told the Blade. “It’s very important to have the day off you want with your family.” The Blade further reports that Chrysler has already hired 380 of these temp employees and converted 50 of them to full-time jobs.

Eat, Sleep and Jeep.

Jenny McCarthy-ites: Jay Cutler & Wife Kristin Cavallari Anti-Vaccine Truthers

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Jay Cutler & Wife Kristin Cavallari Anti-Vaccine Truthers:

Cavallari, who is pregnant with her second child, told host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery that she and Cutler hadn’t vaccinated their first son and would not vaccinate their second one once he is born. When Montgomery challenged her by arguing that there is no real evidence showing that vaccines are harmful, Cavallari responded that she had “read too many books about autism” and cited the fact that one in 88 boys are diagnosed with autism today.

[...]

Cavallari and Cutler have revealed themselves to be part of a burgeoning anti-vaccine movement that is terrifying public health officials. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warn that misinformation about vaccines’ safety is leading to an unprecedented resurgence in contagious diseases that were once practically eradicated in the United States, such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough.

CDC officials point out that in America, 80 percent of measles cases in 2013 presented among people who were never vaccinated, and 80 percent of those people cited “philosophical differences” for forgoing vaccination. Most recently, California health officials had to issue a public warning to Bay-area residents after just one unvaccinated man potentially exposed thousands of commuters to measles that he had contracted in Asia.

This is getting to a critical point here in the states. To recap: The Measles are awfulWhooping Cough is awful. Adults are having to get re-vaccinated. This is fuggin’ serious:

Falling vaccination rates are now an urgent concern in public health. Measles incidence dropped 99 percent after the vaccine was introduced in 1963. Between 2000 and 2007, the United States saw an average of just 63 measles cases per year, and almost all of those victims brought the disease into the United States from abroad. In 2013, however, the incidence of measles tripled. Unlike in previous years, the majority of the victims contracted the disease here in the United States, meaning that measles outbreaks are now a serious national problem. It could get worse. Vaccination rates in the United States remain at about 90 percent, but in the United Kingdom, where vaccination has fallen below 80 percent, the disease is once again endemic.

This is a burgeoning public health crisis due to scared parents being hoodwinked by charlatans.