Sunday, May 18, 2008

Food Crisis Felt Most Acutely By the Poor

The global food crisis is causing some U.S. families to adopt survival tactics of those in developing countries, says Raj Patel, former analyst for Food First, a leading food policy think-tank. Patel, author of "Stuffed and Starved," tells Liane Hansen that poverty is what leads to hunger.
May 18, 2008
Listen to story.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

McCain's pastor likened Catholic Church to "great whore"

John McCain's pastor said that "God punished New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina for planning a gay pride parade."

Then there was this from Reuters UK by Jim Forsyth:

"A Texas evangelical leader who endorsed Republican presidential candidate John McCain earlier this year has apologized for anti-Catholic remarks that angered Church members and embarrassed McCain's campaign.

"John Hagee, pastor of the 19,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, wrote a letter of apology to the Catholic League on Monday for comments in which he called the Church "apostate" and likened it to the "great whore" in a passage of the Bible..."


If you are wondering why Mr. Hagee said this, he has come up with an explanation. He made the statement, he says, "In my zeal to oppose anti-Semitism and bigotry in all its ugly forms..."

Clearly, we must be careful when judging others that we don't make an ironical spectacle of ourselves.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Retention: to flunk or not to flunk?

Voice of San Diego's Emily Alpert writes:

Getting Struggling Students Help Earlier

Parents don't like social promotion. They also don't like grade retention, which prevents kids from advancing a grade if they're failing academically. (If you don't believe that, check out this article about what happened when San Diego Unified let parents of failing students decide whether or not they would be retained.)

San Diego Unified has drafted a plan that aims to prevent both social promotion and holding kids back by directing help to struggling students earlier in the year. The new plan includes interventions at first, third and eighth grade, and will be up for approval by the school board on Tuesday.

Check out the plan HERE. The last page is a flow chart that shows the steps in the process, and what would happen to students who don't make the grade.
May 9, 2008

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Conservatives are happier; they are better at rationalizing inequalities

Are Conservatives Happier Than Liberals?
AOL News
Jeanna Bryner
provided by Live Science

Individuals with conservative ideologies are happier than liberal-leaners, and new research pinpoints the reason: Conservatives rationalize social and economic inequalities.

Regardless of marital status, income or church attendance, right-wing individuals reported greater life satisfaction and well-being than left-wingers, the new study found. Conservatives also scored highest on measures of rationalization, which gauge a person's tendency to justify, or explain away, inequalities.

The rationalization measure included statements such as: "It is not really that big a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others," and "This country would be better off if we worried less about how equal people are."

To justify economic inequalities, a person could support the idea of meritocracy, in which people supposedly move up their economic status in society based on hard work and good performance. In that way, one's social class attainment, whether upper, middle or lower, would be perceived as totally fair and justified.

If your beliefs don't justify gaps in status, you could be left frustrated and disheartened, according to the researchers, Jaime Napier and John Jost of New York University. They conducted a U.S.-centric survey and a more internationally focused one to arrive at the findings.

"Our research suggests that inequality takes a greater psychological toll on liberals than on conservatives," the researchers write in the June issue of the journal Psychological Science, "apparently because liberals lack ideological rationalizations that would help them frame inequality in a positive (or at least neutral) light."

The results support and further explain a Pew Research Center survey from 2006, in which 47 percent of conservative Republicans in the U.S. described themselves as "very happy," while only 28 percent of liberal Democrats indicated such cheer.

The same rationalizing phenomena could apply to personal situations as well.

"There is no reason to think that the effects we have identified here are unique to economic forms of inequality," the researchers write. "Research suggests that highly egalitarian women are less happy in their marriages compared with their more traditional counterparts, apparently because they are more troubled by disparities in domestic labor."

The current study was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Mildred Loving: "We are not marrying the state."

Mildred Loving, black woman whose interracial marriage led to landmark ruling, dies at 68

Associated Press Writer

RICHMOND, Va. (Associated Press) -- Mildred Loving, a black woman whose challenge to Virginia's ban on interracial marriage led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling striking down such laws nationwide, has died, her daughter said Monday.

Peggy Fortune said Loving, 68, died Friday at her home in rural Milford. She did not disclose the cause of death.

"I want (people) to remember her as being strong and brave yet humble _ and believed in love," Fortune told The Associated Press.

Loving and her white husband, Richard, changed history in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld their right to marry. The ruling struck down laws banning racially mixed marriages in at least 17 states.

"There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause," the court ruled in a unanimous decision.

Her husband died in 1975. Shy and soft-spoken, Loving shunned publicity and in a rare interview with The Associated Press last June, insisted she never wanted to be a hero _ just a bride.

"It wasn't my doing," Loving said. "It was God's work."

Mildred Jeter was 11 when she and 17-year-old Richard began courting, according to Phyl Newbeck, a Vermont author who detailed the case in the 2004 book, "Virginia Hasn't Always Been for Lovers."

She became pregnant a few years later, she and Loving got married in Washington in 1958, when she was 18. Mildred told the AP she didn't realize it was illegal.

"I think my husband knew," Mildred said. "I think he thought (if) we were married, they couldn't bother us."

But they were arrested a few weeks after they returned to Central Point, their hometown in rural Caroline County north of Richmond. They pleaded guilty to charges of "cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth," according to their indictments.

They avoided jail time by agreeing to leave Virginia - the only home they'd known - for 25 years. They moved to Washington for several years, then launched a legal challenge by writing to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who referred the case to the American Civil Liberties Union...

After the Supreme Court ruled, the couple returned to Virginia, where they lived with their children, Donald, Peggy and Sidney. Each June 12, the anniversary of the ruling, Loving Day events around the country mark the advances of mixed-race couples...