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Valerie Plame left out in the cold by the Bush Administration

Most informed Americans understand that Valerie Plame Wilson was a CIA operative. She was outed by Robert Novak because he wasn’t too bright. Yes, the Bush administration had feed her name to him (Richard Armitage didn’t really feed him her name but that’s a very long story). He had several warnings that intelligence reporters would have known what was up. Novak didn’t.

Anyway, so Valerie’s name is released. We all know the aftermath. She and her husband are smeared by the Right Wing. She does testify before Congress and clearly states that she was covert at the time of her outing. What I didn’t know what that Al Qaeda wanted to kill her. Larry Johnson, an ex-CIA agent, posted a story last night that Al Qaeda wanted to kill Valerie.

From Larry Johnson – In 2004 the FBI received intelligence that Al Qaeda hit teams were enroute to the United States to kill Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and Valerie Plame. The FBI informed Valerie of this threat. This was just more “good” news piled on the fact that her intelligence career was in shambles, that intelligence assets she had recruited/managed were destroyed, and that she was unable to rebut publicly false and malicious smears of her character and reputation by a bunch of partisan Republican hacks. As the mother of two pre-school children, her first thoughts were about protecting her kids. She took the threat seriously and asked for help.

When the White House learned of these threats they sprung into action. They beefed up Secret Service protection for Vice President Cheney and provided security protection to Karl Rove. But they declined to do anything for Valerie. That was a CIA problem.

Johnson went on to note that the CIA didn’t do squat. Whatever happened to we protect our own? Oh, that’s the Army. What about we will not leave anyone behind? That’s the Marines. Shouldn’t the CIA have something similar? The Brad blog has some further information here. Still, I find this whole thing amazing.

By |2007-10-22T04:40:07-04:00October 22nd, 2007|Bush Administration, National Intelligence, Valerie Plame|Comments Off on Valerie Plame left out in the cold by the Bush Administration

The Left In Germany & America

The Economist reported recently about problems facing Germany’s Social Democratic Party. This is the main center-left party of Germany. At current, the S.D.P is the junior partner in a grand coalition government led by Christian Democratic Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The threat rising against the S.D.P is the new Left Party. The Left Party is pulling away many working class voters who have long supported the S.D.P.

The appeal of the Left Party comes mostly from economic issues such as low pay, job security and retirement age. The party is strong where steel plants and coal mines have shut down.

In short, the Left Party does best where globalization has hit hardest.

The Left Party was formed in the former East Germany from the remnants of the former Communist Party. Despite those roots, The Economist cites a recent book maintaining that Left Party leaders are fully democratic.


By |2007-10-19T15:21:11-04:00October 19th, 2007|Economy, Other Political Thoughts, Party Politics|Comments Off on The Left In Germany & America

No Child Left Behind = Load of Crap

Load of BS

My wife just got home from our children’s grade school’s Site-Based Council meeting. I don’t know exactly what a Site-Based Council is, but it seems to be the principal, vice-principal, teachers and other concerned parents discussing and working on school administrative and management issues. But that’s not the important thing.

The important thing is that our grade school just found out that it will not be an “excelling” school this year. Now the average person would hear this and say, “Oh, that school must have a bunch of stoopid people, or lazy teachers, or maybe they just suck. We sure wouldn’t want to have our kids go to that school. Booooo!” But, the devil, as always, is in the details. Well, actually, the devil might be in the White House, but that’s a different story.

Back to the No Child Left Behind Act, as it is playing out in my children’s grade school. The schools that get labelled as non-excelling, or whatever, may get labelled that way because of actual academic shortcomings. Or they may just run afoul of any number of little picky numbers. In our case, one subgroup of fifth graders, who were taking one part of the state exam, ended up having a three of those students, have to have “nonstandard accommodations” for that part of their testing. This might have meant that they had to have part of the test read to them or they might have had to dictate their answers to a scribe. In our case these three students required these “nonstandard accommodations” because it was part of their IEP, or “Individualized Education Plan”. An IEP, for those of you not familiar with current education lingo, is where a school tries to individualize the education plan for a student (complicated, huh), so as to maximize the chances that that student is able to learn to the best of their abilities.

Well, by the rules of the game, these three students having to have “nonstandard accomodations” are automatically counted as having failed, thus putting the subgroup just below the magical, scientifically proven to be important, 95% mark, whereby if you are above that mark, you are the bestest in the world and if you are below that mark, apparently, you suck. A student who has to have “nonstandard accomodations” is counted as having failed the test, whether they actually failed or not.  They are also counted as having not taken the test, even though they actually took the test.  And if fewer than 95% of your students take the test, you have not met the requirements.  Sorry.  Thanks for playing.  Try again.

Schools make IEPs in order to try to “Leave No Child Behind”. But if they make an IEP, that student will automatically be counted as having failed if that IEP is enacted during the testing process. A school will either violate federal special education laws, by not helping those with learning disabilities, or they will violate the federal “No Child Left Behind” laws.

And that, my friends, is a load of crap.

By |2007-09-05T00:56:20-04:00September 5th, 2007|Domestic Issues, Education|Comments Off on No Child Left Behind = Load of Crap
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