Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Last Call For School Of Hard Right Knocks, Con't

As I said before, the true goal of Republicans screeching endlessly about Critical Race Theory is to criminalize the teaching of accurate American history to the point where teachers simply refuse to even bring up the "bad parts" at all. Slavery? What's that? In Tennessee schools, Republicans want discussing race to carry up to a five million dollar fine.

Tennessee aims to levy fines starting at $1 million and rising to $5 million on school districts each time one of their teachers is found to have “knowingly violated” state restrictions on classroom discussions about systemic racism, white privilege, and sexism, according to guidance proposed by the state’s department of education late last week.

Teachers could also be disciplined or lose their licenses for teaching that the United States is inherently racist or sexist or making a student feel “guilt or anguish” because of past actions committed by their race or sex.

The guidance received immediate backlash from advocates of students of color in the state who say it would have a disproportionate impact on already underfunded, majority Black and Latino school districts.

“There’s also a fear for young students of color who are in districts that are majority white and now there’s no protection for them and their white student peers in learning about truthful history and racism,” said Cardell Orrin, the executive director of Stand for Children Tennessee, a group that advocates for historically disenfranchised students.

The new guidance lays out the complaint process that a current student, parent, or employee can initiate against a district if they believe an educator has violated the law, but it does not elaborate on what specifically school districts are banned from teaching, as many teacher advocates had hoped. Instead, it cites 11 broad concepts that teachers can’t teach or use materials to promote. For example, students can’t be told that they are “inherently privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously,” or bear responsibility for past actions committed by members of their race or sex. Experts have called the language of these laws vague.

Tennessee’s department of education will allow the public to weigh in on the rules until Wednesday, Aug. 11, according to the Tennessean.

Tennessee is one of 11 states this year that have drastically curtailed the ways that districts can fight systemic and individual acts of racism, homophobia, and sexism in the classroom and how teachers can talk to students about the ways America’s government has historically discriminated against minorities. Another 16 states have similar bills that are set to be considered during next year’s legislative session.

Advocates of the bills argue that public school districts are indoctrinating students with teachers’ political agendas and, through their equity initiatives, giving students of color an unfair advantage over white students.

Opponents of the bills argue that school districts can no longer ignore longstanding academic disparities between white students and students of color and are obligated to teach all students a more complete and nuanced version of America’s racist past.

In most instances, the laws spell out which anti-racist initiatives districts are no longer allowed to practice and what “divisive” concepts teachers are no longer allowed to discuss, but state legislatures left room for state departments of education to determine how to enforce the laws.
Criminalizing what can and can not be taught to students involving accurate history because of purely political reasons is quite literally textbook fascism, guys. 

Of course, Republicans aren't being subtle about their intent, either.

Naked hatred will be on a Kansas election ballot Tuesday.

Josh Wells, a Hutchinson-area man with Proud Boys and other alleged right-wing extremist ties, is nostalgic for the good old days when the U.S. was a “pro-white country with a protected white majority.” He’s running for the Haven USD 312 Board of Education.

A group calling itself the Midwest Youth Liberation Front unearthed Wells’ avowed longing to establish a “white nationalism and or a pro-Western Christian theocracy with a protected white majority status. Whichever one is more obtainable.” Because “every race deserves a homeland.”

“Wells’ admitted goal of his new Midwest Nationalist Party is to establish a white ethno-state,” the liberation front wrote on Twitter. “Wells openly praises the death of Black people, spreads Nazi Germany symbolism, and thinks non-White people don’t belong in America.”

It’s another hot, sleepy August election. Turnout is always low. But “you wouldn’t want somebody with that mix of hate and anger and misinformation preferably in any kind of leadership, let alone on a school board,” says state Sen. Cindy Holscher, Democrat of Overland Park, who has been monitoring political races for extremism, especially in school board elections. “I suspect there are more individuals like this person, maybe not quite as vocal. And that’s concerning.”


The white supremacist terrorists are openly running for school boards, folks. Get involved or they will win.

Orange Meltdown, Con't

It was the whopping-yet-still-disappointing 6.5% annualized growth number for the second quarter that got most of the attention when the U.S. gross domestic product report came out Thursday. But the data release from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis also included revisions to GDP and related measures back to 1999, making this an opportune time to take another look at economic growth under Donald Trump and his predecessors.

This is, let’s be clear from the start, not a perfect way of measuring presidential economic performance. There are lots of things that determine economic growth rates other than who is in the White House, and when a president does make a difference the results may be felt long after he’s left Washington. Still, it’s a widely used metric and Trump was downright obsessed with it, so here goes.

OK, maybe that GDP obsession didn’t work out so well for Trump. The chart starts with Dwight Eisenhower because his was the first presidency for which the BEA has full quarterly GDP data. Annual GDP numbers go back to 1929, and if you measure from Herbert Hoover’s first year in office (1929) to the year he left (1933), annualized growth was negative 7.4 percent. So Trump did a lot better than that! But his was the worst GDP performance since then (measured the same way as with Hoover, annualized GDP growth was 9.1% under Franklin Roosevelt and 1.8% under Harry Truman).

This does seem a bit unfair, given the pandemic and all. Trump didn’t always rise to the challenges posed by Covid-19, but thanks in part to legislation he signed and a vaccine-development program his administration put in motion, the U.S. economy has experienced one of the world’s quicker recoveries. Lots of other presidents have suffered economic setbacks due to events outside their control, of course, and you can’t just ignore a quarter or two because they were affected by bad economic luck. But there is something to be said for trying some other ways of measuring growth during his term.

One is to adjust the timing. For the above chart I’ve taken real GDP in the quarter a president entered office and the quarter he left, and calculated the compound annual growth rate from one to the other. Here’s what it looks like if you shift that back or forward by a quarter.

It looks a lot better for Trump (not to mention Barack Obama, and Gerald Ford) if you shift a quarter later, although this still puts him behind everyone but George W. Bush. There’s an argument for shifting the measurement period even later, given how long it can take for the effects of economic policies to be felt, but there’s also a point beyond which that starts to get a little ridiculous, plus we don’t have the data yet to do that for Trump.
Trump was the worst in my lifetime by far, economically, morally, and criminally.  And unless you've hit the century mark yourself (and if you have, gratz!) he's been the worst economic president at least in your lifetime too.

The criminal and moral part isn't up for debate.
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