By Doug Porter
Like many Americans, news of children being killed at an elementary school, was overwhelming for retired teacher Roseanne Holliday a resident of Del Mar. She wanted to do something, anything, to make sure a tragedy like the Sandy Hook shootings never happened again.
After several days of thinking it over, she posted a sign on her property with the message “Stop Del Mar Gun Show and Sale”, and included her email address. Feedback from that sign led to a meeting with over 50 people and launching of a petition urging the Del Mar Fairgrounds to drop its involvement with the Crossroads of the West Gun Show.
Holliday’s petition drive garnered stories on local TV stations. It was the symbolic act of one person reviled by the violence she saw in Connecticut. It will be presented to the fairground board of directors meeting this afternoon. The Del Mar City Council will hear about the petition, as will the governor. And that will most likely be the end of it.
But in wingnut land, the Second Amendment trumps the First Amendment every time. And personal attacks are in order for any who dare question their orthodoxy. Consider these comments (there are plenty more), posted on the KGTV10 News webpage after their coverage of Ms. Holliday’s petition:
IndyStaszak– lady, go crawl under a rock and die…..
TomApplegate– You would think that a school teacher would have knowledge of past history, of countries that applied gun control, that lead to confiscation. And that lead to citizens being slaughtered by there own governments. She is a example of why liberals shouldn’t be allowed to teach our kids. I’m glad she’s retired.
Gun Appreciation Day? Really?
The Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, two “pro-gun” groups, are sponsoring “Gun Appreciation Day” on the same weekend as President Obama’s inauguration. From the Washington Post:
The group is emulating the anti-gay marriage activists who made the Christian fast food chain Chick-fil-A into a national conservative cause with “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”
The group is asking supporters to turn out in droves at gun stores, gun counters, gun shows, and gun ranges to protest what they see as government overreach in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings.
A Sad Anniversary, A Call to Action
Giffords and husband Mark Kelly announced, via an op-ed in USA Today, the start-up of a new group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, that hopes to counter the influence of the gun lobby in Washington DC. Money quote:
Special interests purporting to represent gun owners but really advancing the interests of an ideological fringe have used big money and influence to cow Congress into submission. Rather than working to find the balance between our rights and the regulation of a dangerous product, these groups have cast simple protections for our communities as existential threats to individual liberties. Rather than conducting a dialogue, they threaten those who divert from their orthodoxy with political extinction.
As a result, we are more vulnerable to gun violence. Weapons designed for the battlefield have a home in our streets. Criminals and the mentally ill can easily purchase guns by avoiding background checks. Firearm accessories designed for killing at a high rate are legal and widely available. And gun owners are less responsible for the misuse of their weapons than they are for their automobiles.
Forget the boogeyman of big, bad government coming to dispossess you of your firearms. As a Western woman and a Persian Gulf War combat veteran who have exercised our Second Amendment rights, we don’t want to take away your guns any more than we want to give up the two guns we have locked in a safe at home. What we do want is what the majority of NRA members and other Americans want: responsible changes in our laws to require responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence.
A Bastion of Gun Tourism
An internet based pro-gun group calling itself the Citadel has announced plans to create a walled off community in Idaho to house up to seven thousand gun loving families. From Eclectablog:
The requirements for acceptance into this community include demonstrating proficiency with the rifle of your choice by hitting a man-sized steel target at 100 yards with open sights at the Citadel range, demonstrating proficiency with a handgun of choice by hitting a man-sized steel target at 25 yards with open sights at the Citadel range, and that every able-bodied Patriot of age within the Citadel maintain one AR15 variant in 5.56mm NATO, at least 5 magazines and 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Not only do you have to love guns, you have to be armed whenever you go into the City Center. That’s their law.
But that’s not all. This isn’t just for patriots, my friends. According to their website, “the Citadel intends to become a premiere tourist destination for Americans from sea-to-sea and border-to-border.” This collection of freaks actually wants people to come and look at them like zoo animals.
Gun Nutcase has Meltdown on CNN
Radio host Alex Jones, whose main claim to fame until recently has been his advocacy of conspiracy theories concerning the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, has found a new cause: Getting CNN Talking Head Piers Morgan deported.
Following an anti-gun commentary by Morgan on TV, Jones launched a petition drive asking the White House to have Morgan deported.
Jones was invited to appear on Morgan’s CNN program to explain his petition drive. Wingnuttia ensued. We now know, for instance, that Piers Morgan is a “hatchet man of the New World Order”. Courtesy of Mediaite, you’re cordially invited to watch (Popcorn not included):
Reform Group Schools Report Card Based on Ideology
It strikes me as odd that an “education reform” movement that got its start by advocating testing as the primary measure of student performance would disregard the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) when it comes to ranking state school systems. After all, NAEP is considered the gold standard for measuring schools.
But that’s exactly what Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst group has done in releasing its own much vaunted national report card on schools. Not one of their top five states has students whose reading scores make it into the top half of the official NAEP ‘nation’s report card’ results.
As Laura Clawson points out:
**Florida is StudentsFirst’s second-best state according to ideology. According to educational results, Florida is 35th on reading and 42nd on math.
**StudentsFirst says Indiana is third. The “nation’s report card” says it’s 30th on reading and 23rd on math.
**The District of Columbia, where Rhee had her way from 2007 to 2010, comes in fourth according to Rhee’s ranking system. According to the NAEP? Dead last.
**Rhode Island is fifth in Rhee-land. It’s 29th in both reading and math on the NAEP.
By contrast, of the 11 states Rhee rates as having the worst policies for education, three are in the top six for eighth grade reading scores on the NAEP, and four more are in the top 20. Another contrast: The three highest-scoring states on reading areMassachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Rhee scores them 14th, 21st and 18th.
Bear in mind that this complete disregard for educational results as measured by the gold-standard standardized test comes despite the fact that the StudentsFirst report card ranks states more highly for relying on standardized testing in teacher evaluations. (One reason the NAEP is the gold standard, by the way, is that it’s less likely to be the subject of the kind of cheating that seems to have happened in D.C. under Rhee’s leadership since it’s not high-stakes so the incentive to cheat is low.)
Speaking of Cheating on Tests…
Michelle Rhee’s claim to fame is that she’s been a major force simplifying education policy into a “teaching to the test” box. This week’s PBS Frontline (10pm tonight, KPBS) raises questions about testing practices by school employees while Rhee was chancellor of Washington, DC schools. Test scores at an award winning school plunged after security was tightened after Rhee’s tenure ended.
For more on this, we turn to Esquire:
Rhee’s entire (and very lucrative) career as a proponent of educational “reform” is based on her time as chancellor of the public schools in Washington, D.C. Between 2007 and 2010, she did everything that sends a thrill up the leg of the “reform” community. She bashed teachers, scapegoated principals, and shined up her own armor for public consumption every chance she got. She also instituted a system of standardized testing by which Michelle Rhee would be able to judge the awesome awesomeness of Michelle Rhee.
Tomorrow night, the PBS investigative program Frontline will broadcast a show about Rhee’s tenure in Washington, and it will seriously confront the notion that an insistence on standardized testing may have resulted in a scandalous level of cheating in the city’s school system, as well as a deeply rooted attempt to cover it up. [From Frontline]
Adell Cothorne was principal of the District’s Noyes Education Campus for one year, in 2010-11. She told “Frontline” that just after students took a midyear practice version of the city’s annual standardized test, she stumbled upon three staff members sitting late at night in a room strewn with more than 200 test booklets. One of the adults was at a desk, holding an eraser. The other two sat at a table, booklets open before them. “One staff member said to me, in a lighthearted sort of way, ‘Oh, principal, I can’t believe this kid drew a spider on the test and I have to erase it,’ ” Cothorne told filmmakers, offering the first such direct testimony about potential tampering with answer sheets in D.C. schools…Investigators found some test-security problems at Noyes but no evidence of answer-sheeting tampering. Based on those findings, they decided not to examine other schools. But Cothorne, the former principal who alleges that she saw staff members after hours with erasers and test booklets, said investigators never interviewed her. “My speculation: They didn’t want to hear what I had to say,” she told “Frontline.”
DeMaio Takes His Show on the Road
Failed mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio will be speaking at an American Enterprise Institute breakfast next Tuesday as he’s now pushing his ideas about pension reform as a model for cities nationwide. From the AEI website:
The Comprehensive Pension Reform Initiative, passed in June 2012, shifted newly hired San Diego city employees into 401(k)-type pensions that are benchmarked against private-sector plans, while reforming abuses such as “pension spiking” and ensuring that public employees pay an equal share of the costs of their pensions. Total savings from the initiative will reach $1 to $2 billion over the next 20 years.
This event will feature a presentation from Carl DeMaio, who — as a member of the San Diego City Council — championed the pension initiative and now seeks to apply its lessons nationwide.
There is no mention of budgetary shortfalls caused by the actual cost of these reforms or the lawsuits faced by the City of San Diego. There is, however, a Shutterstock photo showing a huge line of San Diego police cars, presumably to suggest that city employees were wasting taxpayer dollars. (SDPD officers were exempted from the DeMaio reforms, by the way)
Balboa Park / Earth Day Update
The meeting between EarthFair founder Carolyn Chase and Mayor Bob Filner took place as promised yesterday regarding the City’s refusal to grant a permit for the 2013 Earth Day celebration in Balboa Park.
What came out of it was a press release. And a Tweet.
Filner promised to consult with his staff over options available to the City, which says that the event needs to be moved in light of pending construction of a new parking garage. Chase tried to put a happy face on the meeting, saying she was optimistic something would be worked out, provided they could get liability insurance.
AIG: Thank You. And, By the Way, You’re Being Sued
The New York Times reports this morning that the board of financial giant American International Group is seriously considering joining a shareholder lawsuit against the US government.
The board of A.I.G. will meet on Wednesday to consider joining a $25 billion shareholder lawsuit against the government, court records show. The lawsuit does not argue that government help was not needed. It contends that the onerous nature of the rescue — the taking of what became a 92 percent stake in the company, the deal’s high interest rates and the funneling of billions to the insurer’s Wall Street clients — deprived shareholders of tens of billions of dollars and violated the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the taking of private property for “public use, without just compensation
Having recently repaid a $182 billion to the government, the company has been airing TV ads thanking taxpayers for the rescue, touting the $22 billion in interest paid on loans.
On This Day: 1964 – President Lyndon Johnson declared a “War on Poverty.” 1973 – The trial opened in Washington, of seven men accused of bugging Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, DC. 1974 – The band KISS gave a special dress rehearsal after being signed to Casablanca Records. I was there as a reporter for the San Diego Door. All us reporters at the show agreed that the band sucked and would never sell any records. Oops.
Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Coronado (1st St. & B Ave., Ferry Landing) 2:30 – 6 pm, Escondido (Grand Ave. btw Juniper & Kalmia St.) 2:30 – 6:00 pm , Mira Mesa (Mira Mesa High School 10510 Reagan Rd.) 3–7 pm, Morena District (1240 West Morena Blvd.) 3 – 7 pm, Otay Ranch – Chula Vista (2015 Birch Rd. and Eastlake Blvd.) 4 –8 pm, Pacific Beach (Bayard & Garnet) 2 – 6:30pm, UCSD/La Jolla (UCSD Campus, Town Square at Gilman/Meyers) 10 am – 2 pm (Sept. 25 through mid-June; closed for winter, spring and summer breaks)
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