Politics

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Claytoon of the Day: Eat Your Conspiracy

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 10:53 AM

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

McSally Reveals She Was Sexually Assaulted While Serving in the Military

Posted By on Wed, Mar 6, 2019 at 2:18 PM

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U.S. Sen. Martha McSally revealed today that she was a victim of sexual assault while in the military. A transcript of McSally's comments at the Senate Armed Services Committee:

Thank you Chairman Tillis.

I too want to thank Senator Gillibrand for her advocacy for women in uniform and her passion for stopping the crime of sexual assault in our military.

This is also a passion of mine for many reasons, and I think I bring a unique and important perspective. My drive to fight against sexual assault in the ranks is not from the outside looking in. It is deeply personal.

First, for two years, I was honored to be a fighter squadron commander in the United States Air Force. Command is the most impactful duty one can have directly on the lives of servicemen and women—and their families. I was greatly privileged to prepare and then lead my amazing Airmen in combat, which is the apex responsibility of any warrior leader.

Military commanders are placed in a position of authority and responsibility like none other in civilian life. They are not like CEOs, managers, or any other supervisor.

Commanders have a moral responsibility to ensure readiness of their units, which, yes, includes warfighting skills, but demands the commander cultivates and protects and enriches a culture of teamwork, respect, and honor.

Conduct—any conduct—that degrades this readiness doesn’t just harm individuals in the ranks, it harms the mission and places at risk the security of our country. Commanders also have a covenant with the men and women under their command—the one percent who volunteer to serve in uniform. They are asked to follow lawful orders that could risk their lives for the mission. In return, it is the commander’s responsibility to surround their people with a climate of integrity, discipline, and excellence.

During my 26-years in uniform, I witnessed so many weaknesses in the processes involving sexual assault prevention, investigation, and adjudication. It motivated me to make recommendations to Air Force leaders, shaped my approach as a commander, and informed my advocacy for change while I remained in the military and since I have been in Congress.

We have come a long way to stop military sexual assault but we still have a long way to go. When I first entered the Air Force Academy in the 9th class with women, sexual harassment and assault were prevalent but victims mostly suffered in silence. It took many years and too many lives ruined, but thanks to the bravery of some survivors like those on our first panel today, significant change has happened.

I am so inspired by the many survivors who found the strength to share their stories, report their assaults, and demand accountability, justice, and change. It is because of you that a light has been shined on this silent epidemic and so many improvements have been made—including more than 100 legislative actions over the last decade—on all aspects of military sexual assault.

So, like you, I also am a military sexual assault survivor, but unlike so many brave survivors, I didn’t report being sexually assaulted. Like so many women and men, I didn’t trust the system at the time. I blamed myself. I was ashamed and confused. I thought I was strong but felt powerless. The perpetrators abused their position of power in profound ways. In one case I was preyed upon and raped by a superior officer.


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Instructional Spending Made Simple

Posted By on Wed, Mar 6, 2019 at 1:05 PM

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It's coming up on state budget time, and the big national money-in-education story is, Arizona is one of twelve states spending less per student now than they did before the 2008 recession— and we know Arizona was hardly generous with its schools before that. But that story makes it sound like the legislature needs to put a whole lot more money into schools, and that's not something they're about to do.

So it's time to revive the blame-the-schools story about how unwisely Arizona districts spend their education dollars. It's a great way to justify under-funding schools. Nothing says "wasteful spending" like a low percentage of funding going into the classroom.

According to an article that came out last week, Arizona schools put 54 percent of their budgets into instruction. The national average is 60.4 percent.

Shame on Arizona schools! Shame! Shame!

Or maybe not. Let's take a look at those same numbers in a different, but not entirely different, situation.

A family of four has an income of $26,000. It spends $1,000 a month on housing, or $12,000 a year. The remaining $14,000 goes for general family expenses. Housing eats up 46 percent of their income. That leaves 54 percent for family expenses.

Another family of four lives next door and also spends $12,000 a year on housing. However, their income is $30,400, meaning they have $18,400 to spend on general family expenses. For this family, housing only takes up 40 percent of their income, which means they have 60 percent left for family expenses.

I guess you could say the second family makes wise use of its money because it spends 60 percent on food, clothing, transportation, entertainment and other miscellaneous expenses. Using the same logic, I suppose you could blame the first family for budgeting too little on general family expenses.

But you would be missing the point. The point is, both spend the same amount on housing. The difference is, the second family has a bigger pot of money to dip into, so it has more left over for everything else. The other family has to make do on far less.

Now, let's take what we've learned from the example back to the education arena.

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Claytoon of the Day: All Day Suckers

Posted By on Wed, Mar 6, 2019 at 9:28 AM

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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Claytoon of the Day: A Toon For The Deranged

Posted By on Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 9:47 AM

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Monday, March 4, 2019

Claytoon of the Day: Black Prop

Posted By on Mon, Mar 4, 2019 at 9:39 AM

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Friday, March 1, 2019

And the Winners For Civic Engagement Are . . . Schools That Submitted Applications

Posted By on Fri, Mar 1, 2019 at 12:59 PM

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I suppose it's possible that Mesa Public Schools have the finest civic engagement programs in the state, and that's why its schools make up 17 of the 31 schools recognized by the Arizona Department of Education for their "Dedication to High Quality Civic Engagement." Maybe Mesa schools are that good.

Or maybe their schools' most stellar achievement in civic engagement is engaging with the ADE by turning in applications to receive the honor.

(Two schools in southern Arizona were among those recognized, both in Tucson: TUSD's Safford K-8 School and the Paulo Freire Freedom School University charter school.)

Ex-Superintendent John Huppenthal instituted the program and handed out its first recognitions in 2013. That year 28 schools applied and 22 were recognized. In 2014, 31 schools applied and 27 were recognized. When Diane Douglas took over, she ended the tradition of including the number of schools that applied, so I don't know if she continued the tradition of accepting all but a handful of applicants.

Since 2014, Mesa schools captured at least half the awards each year.

The application isn't especially long or detailed. It asks schools to estimate the percentage of teachers who engage in civic education with their students in ten categories, then asks for a brief explanation of the nature of the engagement. A panel goes over the applications and decides if they make the cut. If so, they are designated Schools of Merit, Schools of Distinction or Schools of Excellence.

Civic engagement for students is important, and it's a nice idea to recognize standout schools, but this honor bestowed on schools by the ADE is meaningless. It gives schools the opportunity to hang a banner in the halls and brag in a newsletter, but that's pretty much it. Apply and you shall likely receive, the ADE signals schools, so long as you're generous in your estimation of the percentage of your teachers whose students are civically engaged.

This is Superintendent Kathy Hoffman's first year and the deadline for the civic engagement application ended before she took office, so she gets a pass on this one. I recommend she takes a look at the six year old program and either figure out a way to make it mean something or choose to opt out of the self parody her two predecessors indulged in.

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Claytoon of the Day: Summit Fail

Posted By on Fri, Mar 1, 2019 at 9:22 AM

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This top-rated illusion show is "Revitalizing Magic" by blending an international travel theme with all the charms… More

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