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  • RuralRebel 8:03 pm on March 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brotherhood, Mursi   

    This dictator will be fine with the left…as usual 

    But you do see how it works….create the atmosphere for protests….force the other side to respond…as done during Arab Spring…..then take over…call the secular one a dictator….call the one elected through violence…a “democratically elected one”…simple…this way…. they continue…on and on…in perpetuity…like in Venezuela….

    Mursi warning stirs fears in Egypt opposition

    By Tom Perry

    CAIRO | Sun Mar 24, 2013 2:20pm EDT
    (Reuters) – Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi threatened on Sunday to take unspecified steps to “protect this nation” after violent demonstrations against his Muslim Brotherhood, using vague but severe language that the opposition said heralded a crackdown.

    In remarks following clashes outside the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters on Friday, Mursi warned that “necessary measures” would be taken against any politicians shown to be involved in what he described as violence and rioting.

    “If I am forced to do what is required to protect this nation, then I will do it. And I fear that I might be on the verge of doing it,” Mursi said in a statement. He did not elaborate.

    Mursi has faced increasing anger since the Brotherhood propelled him to power in a June election, and several spates of protest have turned into violent riots.

    Mursi’s opponents accuse him and the Brotherhood of seeking to dominate the post-Hosni Mubarak era and resorting to undemocratic police powers two years after autocrat Mubarak was brought down by popular protests.

    The brotherhood accuses its secularist opponents of stirring trouble to seize power they could not win at the ballot box, and says the relentless civil unrest is wrecking efforts to salvage an economy driven to its knees by uncertainty.

    “They are very scary comments,” said Khaled Dawoud, a spokesman for the National Salvation Front (NSF), an alliance of non-Islamist parties formed late last year to oppose Mursi.

    “I can see language that is heading towards taking some suppressive measures,” he added.

    Dozens of people were hurt on Friday when several thousand supporters and opponents of the Brotherhood fought near the Islamist group’s headquarters.


    Dawoud said the NSF was not behind those protests, but added that some of its members may have decided to take part.

    Mursi said everyone had the right to peaceful protest, but “what is happening now has nothing to do with the revolution”.

    “I urge all political forces not to provide any political cover for acts of violence and rioting. I will not be happy if investigations prove the guilt of some politicians,” he said in the remarks, which were published on his Twitter account.

    “Some are using the media to incite violence and those whose involvement is proven will not escape punishment,” he added. “Anyone who takes part in incitement is a partner in the crime.”

    He also spoke of attempts to portray the state as weak but said these had failed: “The apparatus of the state are recovering and can deter any law breaker,” he added.

    Exactly what new steps Mursi is considering became the subject of speculation.

    In late January, he declared a state of emergency rule in three cities near the Suez Canal to combat a wave of violence there. A declaration of a state of emergency elsewhere is unlikely, said Yasser El-Shimy, Egypt analyst for the International Crisis Group, adding arrests were more probable.

    “My impression is that Mursi and the Brotherhood in general have had it with the violence that is taking place and they are running out of patience,” he said.

    “This is definitely the strictest he has spoken regarding the rioting,” he added. “Now Mursi feels there is enough public opinion on his side to justify taking stricter measures.”

    One recent source of tension between Mursi and the opposition was his call for parliamentary elections based on a controversial election law. The vote, due to begin in late April, has been postponed by a court ruling and it is now not clear when it will happen.

    Mursi’s political supporters and opponents signed a document agreeing to renounce violence following riots in late January.

    Mursi’s opponents say they are committed to peaceful protest and have also accused the Brotherhood of using violence and inciting tension in the street. The Brotherhood says the opposition has done little to rein in its followers.


  • RuralRebel 4:19 pm on March 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Bloombergs corrupting dollars! 

    NRA chief says Bloomberg can’t ‘buy America’ amid $12M gun control ad blitz
    Published March 24, 2013

    NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre on Sunday challenged New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to spend $12 million on ads meant to pressure senators into backing strict new gun control measures, saying Bloomberg “can’t buy America.”
    Bloomberg’s pro-gun control group Mayors Against Illegal Guns is launching the campaign in states where senators may be on the fence regarding a package of firearms proposals making its way to the Senate floor — as the push for that legislation appears to falter. Bloomberg confirmed Sunday that he plans to spend $12 million to run ads in at least 10 states, suggesting there could be a political price to pay for opposing the measures.
    Making clear he intends to be a counterweight to the NRA, Bloomberg said he wants to make sure the powerful gun lobby is not “the only voice” in this debate. If he can achieve that, Bloomberg said, “then I think my money would be well spent.”
    LaPierre bristled at Bloomberg’s comments.
    “He can’t spend enough of his $27 billion to try to impose his will on the American public,” LaPierre said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “He can’t buy America.”
    Part of the purpose of the ad buy will be to rally support for comprehensive background checks.
    LaPierre, though, said the existing system only serves as a “speed bump for the law-abiding” without catching the bad actors. LaPierre stressed that the NRA will continue to push for enhanced security in schools, better enforcement of existing federal gun laws, stricter penalties for straw purchases and illegal trafficking, and a system for making sure dealers can check gun purchases against a record of the mentally incompetent and dangerous.
    “We’re 5 million families. We’re 80,000 law enforcement families. … We want to make people safe. That’s what the NRA does every day,” LaPierre said.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to include a universal background check provision in a gun control package he’s preparing for the Senate floor. However, Republicans have so far been reluctant to back universal checks. Reid’s office is leaving the door open for substituting the Democrat-backed measure with a compromise proposal, should one emerge.
    At the same time, Reid announced this past week that a renewed ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines would not be in the main bill, though it would be voted on as an amendment.
    Amid these hurdles, Bloomberg announced the ad buy Saturday. He said they were meant to bring the “voices of Americans — who overwhelmingly support comprehensive and enforceable background checks — into the discussion to move senators to immediately take action to prevent gun violence.”
    Bloomberg defended the ad buy Sunday , speaking on the same program as LaPierre, saying it would be a “great tragedy” if the momentum for gun control generated after the Newtown mass shooting withered. At the same time, Bloomberg said “I think we are going to win this.”
    We was blunt about the purpose of the ad buys. “We’re trying to do everything we can to press upon the senators this is what the survivors want.”
    The two ads posted on the group’s website, called “Responsible” and “Family,” show a gun owner holding a rifle while sitting on the back of a pickup truck.
    In one ad, the man says he’ll defend the Second Amendment but adds “with rights come responsibilities.” The ad then urges viewers to tell Congress to support background checks.
    In the other ad, the man, a hunter, is shown with the rifle and children playing in the background.
    “I believe in the Second Amendment, and I’ll fight to protect it. But with rights come responsibilities,” he says. “That’s why I support comprehensive background checks.”
    The Senate is scheduled to debate federal gun control legislation next month. On March 28, the group plans for more than 100 events nationwide in support of passing gun control legislation that includes background checks.
    Mayors Against Illegal Guns and other gun-control advocates frequently cite a mid-1990s study that suggests about 40 percent of U.S. gun transfers were conducted by private sellers not subject to federal background checks. Based on 2011 FBI data, the group estimates 6.6 million firearms transfers are made without a background check for the receiver.
    A spokesman for Bloomberg could not immediately say if the $12 million was coming from Bloomberg or the mayor’s political action committee, Independence USA. The New York Times, which first reported the ad campaign Saturday night, said Bloomberg was bankrolling the ad buy.
    A spokesman for the National Rifle Association blasted Bloomberg and the new ads, saying NRA members and supporters would be calling senators directly and urging them to vote against proposed gun control legislation.
    “What Michael Bloomberg is trying to do is … intimidate senators into not listening to constituents and instead pledge their allegiance to him and his money,” said spokesman Andrew Arulanandam.
    Bloomberg has long supported efforts to curb gun violence, including sending New York City undercover investigators into other states to conduct straw purchases from dealers. Last month, Bloomberg’s PAC poured more than $2 million into ads supporting Illinois state Rep. Robin Kelly, who won a special primary and ran partly on a platform of supporting tougher gun restrictions.
    The new ads will air in states the group believes are divided on gun control. The ad campaign begins on Monday, sources told the New York Post.
    The Senate is scheduled to debate federal gun control legislation next month after returning from the Easter Recess, which lasts from March 25 through April 5. On March 28, the group plans for more than 100 events nationwide in support of passing gun control legislation that includes background checks.

    Where are all the Leftists….I thought they hated the use of outside lobbyists funding issues?  Oh…yeah…only when it suits their agenda, is it OK!

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/03/24/bloomberg-mayor-group-tout-big-gun-control-push/#ixzz2OTTjoCnl

  • RuralRebel 3:10 pm on March 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Chicago Tribune, Joyce Foundation,   

    Conservative ideas at the Chicago Tribune??? 

    Ready for reform

    A Joyce Foundation-Chicago Tribune poll finds public impatience with mediocre schools

     Students arrive for school in Chicago Thursday morning. A Joyce Foundation-Chicago Tribune poll finds public impatience with mediocre schools. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune) (Michael Tercha /March 23, 2013)
    5:34 p.m. CDT, March 23, 2013
    Last year, 8,781 students dropped out of Chicago public high schools. In our elementary schools, 51,106 children couldn’t meet state reading standards. And as you absorb this editorial, 19,000 young people yearn to leave their current public schools for seats in charter schools. Why? Because those kids — and their often desperate parents — know that as their childhoods quickly slip away, they’re … falling … further … behind.Chicagoans understand the grave disadvantages many of this city’s children face when they walk through schoolhouse doors. And many of those Chicagoans are speaking up to demand better. Today we offer the first of three editorials based on polling by a unique partnership: the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, a persistently strong voice for education reform, and the Chicago Tribune editorial board. You’ll read our editorial board’s interpretation of the survey results in these three editorials. And you’ll read the Joyce Foundation’s interpretation in a commentary by Ellen Alberding, that organization’s president. Although we at the Tribune worked with Joyce to design the survey, neither party vetted nor influenced the other’s independent conclusions.

    This is an exploratory venture for Joyce and for the Tribune: The mutual goal is to gauge Chicagoans’ attitudes about their city’s schools and how to improve them. To carry out the survey, the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago conducted telephone interviews with 1,010 Chicagoans — 520 parents of Chicago public school students and 490 other Chicagoans — who were asked to grade the schools and weigh in on how they would suggest boosting academic performance.

    As a group, these respondents know that schools are the engines of the city’s prosperity. That a Chicago which fails to educate its children cannot thrive.

    As you’ll read, the Chicagoans surveyed tend to be results-oriented and impatient. After watching City Hall launch 18 years of school reform efforts since then-Mayor Richard M. Daley assumed control of the system in 1995, Chicagoans understand the results: A school system once labeled worst in the nation by a U.S. secretary of education has shown some gains. But many of the reform initiatives have flamed out and sputtered back to Earth.

    Our overriding conclusion from the survey data: Chicagoans are ready for education reform. Two examples among several: They want the best teachers paid more than their colleagues — and the least effective more quickly dismissed.

    Through these 18 years, Chicagoans have heard politicians, school officials, union leaders and parent groups speak about what they would do to fix Chicago public schools. Today, a scientifically selected subset of Chicagoans speaks.

    First, the report card:

    Overall, 4 in 10 respondents give the schools a barely passing grade of C. Another 2 in 10 grade the system a D. More award an F (8 percent) than an A (7.8 percent.)

    That’s not a report card any child would want to take home. No wonder the poll shows Chicago is ready for status-quo-rattling reforms that many advocates for better schools, this page included, long have urged. Those reforms include:

    More charter schools. More than 6 in 10 respondents (63.7 percent) favor making it easier for charters to expand in neighborhoods where there are currently charter waiting lists. An even larger share, 67.9 percent, say it should be easier for charters to set up shop in neighborhoods with underperforming schools.

    A “parent trigger” law. Six in 10 (61.1 percent) favor a law that would empower parents to take control of a persistently failing school.

    Tuition vouchers. There’s significant support for this concept but also strong opposition: Almost half of the respondents (46.5 percent) support efforts to give tuition vouchers to parents with children in consistently underperforming schools, so those kids can attend parochial or other private schools. But 47.8 percent oppose vouchers. The bottom line: Supporters need to do a better job of selling this idea.

    Every day in Chicago, 400,000 kids stow their backpacks, pile into classrooms, and turn their heads toward the teacher at the blackboard. Then teachers inspire them to learn about science, math, English, social studies, art. Or, too often, not.

    Every night, parents across the city see the results of what happened in thousands of classrooms: Kids fired up by school or … bored to distraction. Kids tackling homework or … goofing off.

    Teacher pay,teacher performance

    Of all the factors that drive school performance, none is more important than the quality of that teacher at the front of the classroom. Nine in 10 parents polled said they are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their child’s teacher. But many Chicagoans are impatient with teachers across the system who aren’t performing. The poll finds widespread support for reforms that tie student achievement to how teachers are evaluated, paid and, when necessary, laid off.

    • Merit pay. Chicago Teachers Union leaders fought hard against merit pay in negotiations over their current labor contract. Unfortunately, they won. But Chicagoans overwhelmingly support the concept, the poll shows: More than 7 of 10 respondents (72.2 percent) agree that highly effective teachers should be paid more than those whose students make insufficient progress. We strongly agree and hope that school boards throughout the state take notice.

    • Making the grade. How long should a low-performing teacher have to significantly improve? More than 6 in 10 respondents (61.7 percent) believe that it is unfair for a student to have a low-rated teacher for more than a year. We strongly agree. If anything, a year is far too long to doom kids to an ineffective teacher. Studies show those teachers hold back student performance. That should prod CPS officials — all school officials — to take a tougher stand on pushing mediocre teachers to leave the system. Termination is a shamefully rare event in Chicago.

    • Seniority and layoffs. A strong majority of respondents (71.9 percent) favors laying off ineffective educators, regardless of their seniority, if the teaching staff needs to shrink. When CPS tried to do that in 2010, the union hauled the school board into court to block it. The new teachers contract negotiated last fall introduced the refreshing concept of exempting the best educators from layoffs. But even then, excellent probationary teachers — who don’t have tenure — will still be dismissed before tenured teachers who don’t perform as well. Sacrificing good young teachers is no way improve education in Chicago.

    • Tenure. Across the nation, some states have moved to curb or end tenure for teachers because the job protection extends to excellent and inadequate educators alike. Illinois hasn’t tackled that issue yet. But the poll finds wide support for an end to tenure in some cases: 73.8 percent of respondents say teachers should lose tenure if they’re judged ineffective in the evaluation process.

    About those evaluations: In Chicago and across Illinois, new teacher evaluation systems are rolling out that will hold teachers accountable for student learning. Just how much student performance should count for a teacher’s evaluation has been fiercely debated. In Chicago, student growth accounts for 25 percent of a teacher’s evaluation, going up to 40 percent in five years.

    Chicagoans approve. More than 6 in 10 respondents (62.9 percent) say improvement in student achievement should carry more than 30 percent weight in a teacher’s evaluation.

    What parents want

    What trait do parents seek most in their child’s teacher? It isn’t years of classroom experience. Or an instructor’s advanced degrees. No, almost 4 in 10 of the parents we polled (38.1 percent) say “evidence that teacher’s students are learning” should be the most important factor in deciding which teacher will instruct their child. That’s almost twice the number who say the most important factor is “knowing that the teacher would be caring toward your child.”

    Last fall, Chicago parents and students suffered through the first teachers strike in 25 years. We opposed the strike and urged lawmakers in Springfield to ban teacher strikes because they rob children of valuable class time. The notion of forbidding strikes by teachers could hardly be more divisive: The Joyce-Tribune poll found that 45.1 percent of Chicago public school parents and 46.2 percent of all respondents say teachers should not have the right to strike. Yet more than half of survey respondents (53.2 percent overall) say teachers need the right to strike.

    That shows a sharp split in Chicago. Yet 75.1 percent say the union’s primary responsibility shouldn’t be advocating on pay issues or benefits for its members. It should be to improveschools and help teachers get better.

    Chicagoans say they want the Chicago Teachers Union to cooperate with the school district on an array of issues. Here’s one opportunity:

    CPS has just announced a list of 61 school building closings to help reduce a looming budget deficit. Almost half of the public school parents, 46.8 percent, and a solid majority of other survey respondents, 55.5 percent, agree that underenrolled schools should be closed to help balance the system’s budget.

    Chicago Teachers Union officials threaten massive demonstrations and “civil disobedience” to thwart those closings. That confrontational approach would make this process even more agonizing than it already is. It would frighten children and disrupt thousands of educators and students at those welcoming schools. Teachers have a better choice: Work with CPS to smooth the transition of 30,000 students to better performing schools.

    We’ll be writing more about these compelling poll numbers in the days ahead. We encourage readers to read the full survey at chicagotribune.com/schoolreform.

    Remember, behind these numbers is a strong impatience with the status quo, a strong desire for reform. The unit of measurement for gauging progress: The prospects, strong or weak, for a Chicago child’s education. For every child’s education.

    Monday: Unchaining charter schools.

    Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

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