Need a reading list for 2012? Well, here you are.
These articles have been chosen among the best of 2011 based on originality, quality of writing, and importance of the topic. I chose some because they are funny or at least they gave me a laugh. They are not ranked, they are chosen chronologically and are only numbered for ease of reading.
1. Stop the Race to National Standards and Race to the Top
This is one of a few articles where I go after high stakes testing as a failed policy (No Child Left Behind) from the Bush administration, given a white wash, and renamed Race to the Top.
Reasons to read: It’s an amalgam of various criticisms of Race to the Top, criticisms that need to be understood before we let corporations ruin our schools beyond repair.
Excerpt: So, teachers’ pay has to be based on how well little John or Sally or Juan or Chin or Liliana does on a standardized test that is only valid if you don’t considered the cultural and economic variations of all students everywhere. And, RTTT gives extra points for creating more charter schools.
2. Michelle Rhee, Wisconsin, and the Attack on Teachers
Why this is worth a read: In this article, I discredit the super-hero of education “reform”, Michelle Rhee. I understand people such as Rhee and Secretary of Education Duncan are symptoms of a greater problem, but like a viral infection, it helps to remove as much of the disease as possible. I also criticize merit based pay that is centered on high stakes testing.
Excerpt: Can you imagine someone going into a hospital, looking at a few charts and then firing half the doctors because they weren’t performing to a set of medical testing data? Most members of Congress would lose their jobs if they had to perform to criteria many of them want to impose on teachers, and they would not put up with it.
3. The Senate is the most Democratic legislative body in the World
I wrote this article because I was sick and tired of the Senate blocking useful reform and I wanted to explain how undemocrat the Senate is.
Reason to read this: People need to learn facts about the Senate you might not have known. Note the sardonic tone of the piece used to deride this anti-democratic institution.
Excerpt: The latest example of the Senate’s love and support of democracy, though there are so many, is health care reform. By its very nature, the Senators in the finance committee are democratic. They represent a small part of the country, and they can stop health care for everyone.
4. Other Official State Items We Need in Arizona
I wrote this after the Arizona state legislature, in its finite wisdom, decided we needed an official state gun. Arizona is a microcosm of politics in the United States. It’s an example of how a few crazy people can ruin a good state for the rest of us.
Reasons to read: You might laugh and cry and groan all at the same time.
Excerpt: The official state border crossing; changes weekly.
5. Accepted Assumptions that are Wrong: A Healthy Stock Market Means a Healthy Economy
Reason to read: It goes to the very core of misguided economic news, the stock market. It is also one of my best pieces on this myth and a good read, and if I were to give an award for best written, this piece gets the Golden Texy.
Excerpt: Americans outside the brokerage and banking industries, outside of the Forbes 500 and their cronies in D.C, are suffering. The stock market doesn’t gage if average people are doing well, it is a gage of what speculators think they can make from betting on, or against, a certain stock. It is a false indicator of prosperity, unless you look at the holders and manipulators of large stock portfolios.
6. Where is the Proof that Obama is even Human?
Reason to read: In this article, I mock the birthers and those that would take political advantage of birthers by taking it one step further, questioning Obama’s species credentials. If he were a dog, I would want to see his papers.
Excerpt: First, I want to see a copy of Obama’s physical examinations to prove that he is human. The Constitution clearly states that you must be a human to be president, and I have yet to see proof that Obama is. Why won’t any of Obama’s supposed doctors come forward? Perhaps he’s not really a human?
Why hasn’t Michelle Obama come forward with proof Obama is really a man. How do we know that Obama didn’t have a sex change and was really a woman? What proof do we really have? Until I see a photo of Obama’s penis, I can’t believe Obama’s a man. Why won’t Obama come forward with his penis?
Best Line: Why won’t Obama come forward with his penis?
7. How Republicans “Win” Elections or Support the “Voter Shooter Law”
Reason to read: A very important article for the year 2012 and the elections. It’s a run-down of the voter suppression and election tactics that make it possible for Republicans to win elections. Then I add a list of suggestions of how to suppress the vote further, as seen in the excerpt below.
Excerpt: 3. Charge neighborhoods with the hiring of employees, the buying of voting machines, and rent in order to have polling places in their neighborhood. That should keep voting down to only those that contribute enough to society to deserve a vote. However, we will not have a poll tax, for that is un-American.
Memorable line: Voters are easily manipulated by nationalistic symbolism and the Republicans count on it to win elections.
8. How to Promote High Stakes Testing: Lie
Reason to Read: This article features examples of teachers, schools, superindendents and school districts so desperate for funding that they lied about their test results. This story is important and not enough people know about it.
Excerpt: In the movie Waiting for Superman, charter schools based on the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) model are touted as out performing public schools. However, this model leaves children behind and thus their stats are gamed,
“Taxpayer-funded KIPP schools, praised in the film ‘Waiting for Superman,’ succeed in sending poor graduates to college because the lowest-performing students drop out or don’t enroll at all, a study found.”
Important line: So, the high stakes testing regimen faced by schools all over this nation was based on a lie, and that lie has produced millions in sales for CTB/McGraw-Hill, makers of testing materials and friends to President Bush.
9. Obama Shows his Hatred of Israel by Admitting Palestinians are Human
Reasons to Read: The article directly discredits the big lie that “Obama hates Israel” in an alternating serious and sardonic style. I wrote it after a well educated Jew I know asked me, “Why does Obama hate Israel?”, and then she refused to debate me on it because instead of using her analytic, scientific brain (she is studying medicine), she told me that she was “too emotional” to talk about it. Well yea.
Look at the facts and learn that Obama wants peace, and that includes for Palestinians too. Sorry, but Obama thinks Palestinians are also human. Some paranoid Jews and Republicans who want to attack Obama don’t even bother to look at Obama’s complete speech and stick to the big lie about Obama’s hatred of Israel that Republicans have pushed since Obama ran for president. Also, look at the map and the borders. The 1967 border is almost exactly the same as the current borders.
Excerpt: Clearly, Netanyahu wants no peace. And there are Arab governments, namely Iran, that don’t want to see a peace between Israelis and Palestinians either. If nothing else, pissing off Iran and other Muslim nationalists in the region should move Israel to peace talks. Furthermore, I am sure there are multinational arms dealers selling weapons to Israel and Muslim jihadists that will suffer greatly if peace breaks out in Israel and Palestine.
Memorable line: How Dare Obama hate Israel by stating their need to be secure!
10. Stop the Socialist FEMA Takeover of the Midwest
Reason to Read: Republicans hate the government, until they need it. This article mocks the tendency of hypocritical Republicans to take government money when it helps them but cut funding when it might help someone else.
Excerpt/Memorable Line: Yes, the state legislature refuses aid for the unemployed caught under the dual tornado of joblessness and state cuts, and they should stick to their guns, and pull them out of their holsters, to refuse socialist FEMA funds to help those affected by the recent tornadoes.
11. Every Day, I’m More Gay
Reasons to read: Sometimes the only thing you can do to fight homophobia is to amuse those that realize most homophobes are scared and ignorant, and laugh at them. I write like a confused homophobe, and exaggerate the fears these people must be feeling to humorous effect. There are too many good lines to quote here, so read it.
Excerpt: Then another shocking revelation came my way when I learned that Freddy Mercury was a gay man the whole time I was listening to his music and watching his videos, on MTV! Imagine a band named “Queen” having homosexual members in it. Who would have known?
Memorable Line: Yes, I know Broadway is not just for gays any more, but it’s the gayt way drug to homosexuality.
12. Defending the Power Elite in America Against the Interests of the People: The Case of the United States Government
Reason to read: This article illuminates the undemocratic structures in our government and questions the firmly held beliefs of our elected officials and much of the population that we are a highly evolved democracy. And, it’s not a bad read.
Excerpt: The form of our government in the United States is one that is not conducive to change and radicalism. It is set up to prevent big sweeping changes and thus promotes the interests of those in power, the moneyed and political elite. Elections for political office do little to change the underlying body politic, changing one face for another, and are only cosmetic in nature.
Line to Remember: As long as we have a two party system in the United States run by money and limited choice, we will never have a government by the people and for the people.
13. Facts about Class, Poverty and Downward Mobility
Reason to read: This article is a well written exposé about class in the United States and the lies the right-wing and political and economic elite use to defend their economic dominance, greed and the plutocracy.
Excerpt: If it was just a matter of working hard, why is poverty rising and wealth more concentrated at the top than ever before? Is it that 80% of Americans are lazy? There is a given amount of wealth in a nation and thus when more wealth is concentrated at the top, there will be more poverty at the bottom.
Memorable Line: The idea of the American dream is one of the most successful pieces of propaganda ever perpetuated.
14. Endangered Billionaire Job Creators
Video of the year by Tex Shelters done in the style of an endangered species ad. If you gag every time you hear the term “job creators” about mega corporations who are actually job cutters, this video is for you.
15. My Dream Christmas Letter From Obama to the Republican National Committee
Reason to Read: The article is a letter I would love to see Obama send Republicans and it explains why he will win in 2012. It also highlights the faulty Republican candidates and how they are not qualified for the campaign trail let alone the office of the presidency. Moreover, it’s funny.
Excerpt: And Michelle Bachmann, what can I say? She thinks black families had it better during slavery than they do now. Thank you for that Representative Bachmann. Have you asked Herman Cain about that?
Memorable line: You know how to make a guy feel welcome, to four more years in the White House.
So there you have it, some of my choices for articles that deserve an addition read and issues that deserve further consideration.
Peace, and happy New Year,