Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Republican Party's Education Platform

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 11:00 AM

SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
A week ago I wrote about the Democratic party's education platform, which became significantly more progressive than the 2012 version as it moved from the first draft to its final form. The Republican party's education platform is pretty similar to its 2012 version, with a few changes around the edges. It added a condemnation of the move to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice, and it says an understanding of the Bible is "indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry" and encourages the study of the Bible as an elective part of the literature curriculum in high schools.

This paragraph sums up the general educational view presented in the platform.
After years of trial and error, we know the policies and methods that have actually made a difference in student advancement: Choice in education; building on the basics; STEM subjects and phonics; career and technical education; ending social promotions; merit pay for good teachers; classroom discipline; parental involvement; and strong leadership by principals, superintendents, and locally elected school boards. Because technology has become an essential tool of learning, it must be a key element in our efforts to provide every child equal access and opportunity. We strongly encourage instruction in American history and civics by using the original documents of our founding fathers. 
A few specific recommendations in the Republican platform are supported by many Democrats, like its condemnation of Common Core, its concern over "excessive testing and 'teaching to the test'” and its concern about the collection and sharing of "vast amounts of personal student and family data, including the collection of social and emotional data." The two parties differ on most other issues.

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Cinema Clips: The Secret Life of Pets

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 10:00 AM


A bunch of comedians lend their voices to some cartoon characters, and the results are moderately entertaining—hey, it’s not a ringing endorsement, but this is good for a laugh or two, and the occasional whacked-out moment that qualifies it as a semi-original animated movie.

OK, still not a ringing endorsement.

Louis C.K. voices Max, a Jack Russell terrier who loves his master, Katie (Ellie Kemper of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), with that undying loyalty that makes dogs so damn cool. Katie brings home a new brother for Max, a big brown shaggy dog named Duke (Eric Stonestreet), and it creates some turmoil in the household.

Max and Duke wind up in the hands of Animal Control, and eventually fend for themselves in the sewers of Manhattan. There they become enemies of the Flushed Pets, a group consisting of alligators, lizards, snakes and furry critters led by Snowball the Rabbit (Kevin Hart on a sound booth tear). The advertised premise for the film suggests the movie might be about what our pets do in the house when we leave home. That part of the film is out of the way early in the movie’s opening minutes. (They basically eat all of our food, have parties, and listen to punk rock.) The rest of the movie is the band of pets in Max’s neighborhood trying to find him and Duke when they get lost.

Some of the sequences are borderline deranged. Max and Duke wind up in a sausage factory, where they gobble down hot dogs in an almost hallucinatory scene set to Grease’s “We Go Together.” This doesn’t feel like the stuff of kids’ movies; it’s a sequence that seems as if the animators took a little LSD break, came back to their computers, and dreamt up some wild shit.

Where does The Secret Life of Pets rank in the list of animated movies released so far in 2016? Well below Zootopia, and somewhat short of Finding Dory, but still OK. No, you don’t need to run out and see this one, but if it should play in front of your face somewhere in the future, there’s a good chance you will enjoy substantial parts of it.

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Saturday Sun Link Shindig: Free Rides, Concert and Activities

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 9:00 AM

BILL MORROW/FLICKR
  • Bill Morrow/Flickr

Celebrate Sun Link's second anniversary this Saturday. 

The streetcar is offering free rides all day this Saturday, July 23 sponsored by Tucson Electric Power, Fourth Avenue Merchants Association and Main Gate Square.

KXCI and Main Gate Square are also offering a free concert with Jimmy Carr and the Awkward Moments.

At 6 p.m. board the streetcar at the Avenida del Convento stop and enjoy live music all the way to Main Gate Square where there will be festivities and more music. 

Since July 2014, the streetcar has given rides to more than two million passengers. Whether it's your first on the link or your 100th enjoy your Saturday with live music and fun. 


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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Conversation with Jeff Mixon of Black Lives Matter in Cuyahoga County

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 4:02 PM

JIMI GIANNATT
  • Jimi Giannatt
This is a conversation I had today (Wednesday, July 20) with Jeff Mixon, director of a group called "Black Lives Matter" in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Mixon's group does not appear to be affiliated with the national group. Jeff has an interesting perspective and I was happy to hear what he had to say about what's going on and where we are heading in American racial politics.


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The Men’s Room Barbershop Gets a Rude Awakening

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 3:35 PM

MEN’S ROOM BARBERSHOP/FACEBOOK
  • Men’s Room Barbershop/Facebook

Omar Ramos, owner of the Men’s Room Barbershop (2523 N. Campbell Ave.) had just started his first haircut of the day on Tuesday, July 12, when he was abruptly interrupted by a car crashing through the front of his shop.

“I had heard the screeching of brakes so I went to the window to check it out,” Ramos said. “I saw the car coming towards us, so I yelled 'everyone move!' I’m glad my customer listened and everyone else listened and got out of the way.”

No one was injured in the accident. Ramos says the driver failed a sobriety test and was taken away by police. 

The shop was closed for a couple of days but, despite what people may think when driving by, has reopened.

“It 
just looks like we’re shut down forever, but we’re up and running,” Ramos said, referencing the plywood that now covers the front of his business.

Ramos was initially worried that he would lose a lot of business from the ordeal, but was surprised by the loyalty of his customers. “When this happened we had a lot of customers come by asking if we’re open. I felt bad because I didn’t know when we’d be open again so I couldn’t tell them a couple days, or a week, I just didn’t know. Lucky for us they all came back when we opened back up. I love my customers.”

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Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: 2 Month Anniversary

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 12:43 PM

ducey_s-next-step.jpg

PHOTOSPIN
  • PhotoSpin
Two months ago when Prop 123 passed, Governor Ducey said we had taken a "first step" toward addressing Arizona's chronic underfunding of K-12 education. Everyone acknowledged it was a shaky, uncertain step. Some were pleased to see what they thought was a wobbly step forward by the young 'un, while others thought it was a dangerous step backwards, but few people thought that one step was all we needed.

On the two month anniversary, the toddler has yet to take a second step, and its fathers and mothers—the Ducey machine, the business community, education groups—appear to be neglecting their child, if not abandoning it entirely.

An acknowledgement of the two month anniversary of that first step is in order—a cake, candles, something to mark the occasion. Since the parents of the tyke don't appear to be in a celebratory mood, I will take it upon myself to blow out the candles and make a few wishes.

My first wish is that Governor Ducey reveal his plans for the next step to improve K-12 education. If he plans to increase the education budget next legislative session, that would be hopeful. If all he wants to do is shift around the deck chairs, using his Classrooms First Initiatives Council to move the cushiest chaises in the areas where the wealthiest Arizonans hang out, it would be helpful to know that so people can protest against his anti-poor, anti-minority agenda.

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New Findings in a 'Living River' says Recently Released Report

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 10:00 AM

BIGSTOCK
  • BigStock

Living River, a report newly released by Pima County and the Sonoran Institute, reveals that upgrades to water reclamation centers have improved the water quality and surrounding natural environments of the Lower Santa Cruz River. The EPA-funded report has been tracking changing conditions in this part of the river from Oct. 1, 2014 to Sept. 30, 2015.

The Lower Santa Cruz runs year-round through northwest Tucson and Marana and gets much of its water from WRCs Tres Rios and the new Agua Nueva, both of which receive and treat a portion of the over 62 million gallons of sanitary sewage a day seen by Pima County's treatment facilities. The state-of-the-art Agua Nueva, in particular, helps Pima County meet EPA standards of effluent discharges in the Santa Cruz River. This stretch of the river focused on by the report is the largest length of river dominated by effluent (wastewater) in the state. 

Since the improvements to Tres Rios and the establishment of Agua Nueva, the report shows improvements to water quality/clarity and a decrease in odor. The report also states that four species of fish now reside in the river, three more than in previous years. Increased recharge of the aquifer, another positive change, means water pollution no longer flows as far downstream as it used to. Areas that saw a reduction in aquatic habitats as a result of this pollution now "appear to be reverting to a more desert-like environment" according to the release.

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Full Conversation with Morris Pearl of Patriotic Millionaires

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Join us for a short conversation with Morris Pearl, chair of a group called Patriotic Millionaires. Morris used to work for the powerful financial monolith Blackrock, a topic we touch on lightly. His current fixation is on taking the money out of politics. Seriously. Patriotic Millionaires are interested in aligning the interests of millionaires with those of the rest of the country. Check it and hit that share button!



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