Congratulations to Chris Hayes on the debut of his new 8 PM show, All In with Chris Hayes. Monday was the first show and it was a very successful one.
In this segment, Chris dives deep into the Atlanta cheating scandal which has led to the indictment of the superintendent and 34 teachers for changing students' answers on tests in order to score higher on the tests and secure more and better federal funding for their schools. I reported on it nearly two years ago and now the investigation has revealed disturbing trends relating to high-stakes testing, particularly in urban schools.
Prosecutors say that the educators cheated on the CRCT in order to reap “the benefit of financial rewards associated with high test scores.” Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), school districts which turn in low standardized test scores could be seriously penalized and even lose federal aid. Critics of NCLB and other recent school reform measures argue that the Atlanta cheating scandal is not an isolated incident of criminal activity.
“We don’t condone cheating, but when you have high-stakes testing, which are one-shot deals that don’t tell you whether a child is going to fail or succeed, the whole setup in terms of No Child Left Behind was unfair to children, unfair to educators,” Verdaillia Turner, president of the Georgia Federation of Teachers said to MSNBC Monday.
Neil Boortz went on a rant over crime in Atlanta and managed to completely lose his cookies. The end is particularly debased.
BOORTZ: You know what? I, for one, am tired of putting up with this crap. And you want to know why I moved out of Atlanta and only spend a couple of weeks a year in this town? That's one of the reasons. Carjackings, violence, people getting shot. It's ridiculous. This city harbors an urban culture of violence. And I want you to look around. You drive into the city. The railroad overpass is on the downtown connector covered with graffiti. And that-- That is just an advertisement for everybody coming into this town that we really don't give a damn about those who would screw up our quality of life around here. We really just don't care. We don't care enough to paint over graffiti on the overpasses that come into our city, advertising welcome to Atlanta, here's some of our finest graffiti, from some of our finest urban thugs and their little gang signs. And pick up the paper tomorrow morning. Read about all the carjackings. Read about the innocent people shot for the pure de-hell of it.
This town is starting to look like a garbage heap. And we got too damn many urban thugs, yo, ruining the quality of life for everybody. And I'll tell you what it's gonna take. You people, you are - you need to have a gun. You need to have training. You need to know how to use that gun. You need to get a permit to carry that gun. And you do in fact need to carry that gun and we need to see some dead thugs littering the landscape in Atlanta. We need to see the next guy that tries to carjack you shot dead right where he stands. We need more dead thugs in this city. And let their -- let their mommas -- let their mommas say, "He was a good boy. He just fell in with the good crowd." And then lock her ass up.
It's racist, and it's a dog whistle for domestic terrorism. There's no other way to call it.
Now let's talk about that crime in Atlanta thing. I went to the FBI crime statistics site and I downloaded data in Atlanta for 2007-2009 with regard to crime rates. In fact, crime has dropped substantially, while the population has increased.
Click this image to see it larger.
All crime rates, with the exception of forcible rape, have decreased drastically. Drastically, I might add, without any idiot radio host calling out to his idiot listeners to buy a gun, register the gun, carry the gun, and blow some thugs away. Here are the actual number of reported crimes:
(Click for larger image)
If the crime rate increases in Atlanta, it won't be because thugs are on the streets carjacking. It'll be the white thugs who took Boortz seriously raising it.
In an op-ed piece for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution entitled "Unfettered 'citizen journalism' too risky", David Hazinski, a former NBC correspondent and associate professor of telecommunications at the University of Georgia, says that
...having just anyone produce widely distributed stories without control can have the reverse effect from what advocates intend. It's just a matter of time before something like a faked Rodney King beating video appears on the air somewhere....Journalism organizations should head that off. Citizen reports can be a valuable addition to news and information flow with some protections:
• Major news organizations must create standards to substantiate citizen-contributed information and video, and ensure its accuracy and authenticity.
• They should clarify and reinforce their own standards and work through trade organizations to enforce national standards so they have real meaning.
• Journalism schools such as mine at the University of Georgia should create mini-courses to certify citizen journalists in proper ethics and procedures, much as volunteer teachers, paramedics and sheriff's auxiliaries are trained and certified.
This is Bob Morris of Politics in the Zeros on my last day guest blogging. Big thanks to Nicole and bluegal for their help. I've known John and Mike since way before blogging and it's been great watching C&L turn into the influential powerhouse that it is.
Florida schools parked their money in a state-run fund that "invested" in risky SIVs. Now the fund is near-bankrupt , the state has halted withdrawals, and schools can't make their payrolls. The blameless are getting maimed by the credit crisis.
With a Cola-Cola plant in Atlanta sucking up huge amounts of water and a nuclear reactor and coal power plant down the river doing the same, the southeast faces major problems because of the drought. How do you cut back? And is the world ready to do so?
Finally (tooting own horn), here's my review of John Robb's groundbreaking book, "Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization." Welcome to open source decentralized swarming warfare or, as he puts it "what if warfare was reinvented and nobody bothered to tell the Pentagon?" It might change the way you look at the world. It did for me.
Michael Vick's lawyer said Monday the NFL star will plead guilty to federal dogfighting conspiracy charges, putting the Atlanta Falcons quarterback's career in jeopardy and leaving him subject to a possible prison term. The offense is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, although federal sentencing guidelines most likely would call for less. Vick's plea hearing is Aug. 27...read on
A federal grand jury in Richmond indicted Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and three other men yesterday on charges related to their alleged operation of a dogfighting ring based at a property Vick owns in southeastern Virginia. Vick, one of the NFL's most exciting players, was charged with competitive dogfighting and conducting the venture across state lines.
This is just sick. The NFL can't run away from this one...
The average price of self-serve regular gasoline hit a record high of $3.18, rising more than 11 cents over the past two weeks, according to a nationwide survey released Sunday. [..]
How long until this starts to impact consumer spending? I don't have a clear answer, but when gas prices hit records in May the picture isn't that good.
As a rough rule, every penny increase in gas prices lowers consumer spending by $1.3 billion.
Just in time for the Memorial Day weekend. Have the increased costs (it's about $3.48/gallon in my neighborhood) forced you to abandon your plans for the long weekend or adjust your driving during the week?
UPDATE: Despite being the majority party since 1994, and being the minority party since January, Minority Leader John Boehner laughably blames the high gas prices on....wait for it....the Democrats.
AP: "Thousands of people across the country protested Friday against legislation cracking down on illegal immigrants, with demonstrators in cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix and Atlanta staging school walkouts, marches and work stoppages. Congress is considering bills that would make it a felony to be in the United States illegally, impose new penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants and erect fences along one-third of the U.S.-Mexican border. The proposals have angered many Hispanics...read on
"Laws that require local officials to report illegal immigrants may be increasingly popular, but it turns out that no one-neither local officials nor federal immigration officials-thinks these laws will work. In fact, they're likely to make things worse"
The hunt for Jennifer Wilbanks consumed this tight-knit town when she went missing four days before her wedding. Still, despite a safe return welcomed by family and close friends, some residents of this Atlanta suburb feel betrayed by what turned out to be an elaborate hoax....read on
I know that 24/7 is embarrassed by their behaviour on the latest story they pimped to us, but instead of moving on to actual news they plan on keeping the cameras rolling. Oh, and Bill O'Reilly was wrong too.
ATLANTA -A judge presiding over a rape trial was shot to death Friday along with two other people at the Fulton County Courthouse, authorities said. A fourth person was wounded and a search was under way for the suspect, the defendant in the trial. Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor confirmed that Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes and his court reporter were killed. He gave no other details in announcing the deaths in the state Senate. A deputy died later at a hospital, while a second deputy had minor wounds, police said. read on
Coming off the Lefkow case. I can't remember two related judge killings so close together. I hope this doesn't start some sick trend.