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"Waiting for 'Superman'": Can public education be saved?

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  • "Inconvenient Truth" director goes back to school in an explosive new film that mingles hope and outrage.
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  • Grading 'Waiting for Superman'
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Andrew O'Hehir, Salon

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Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim -- yes, "An Inconvenient Truth" was Al Gore's movie in the public mind, but Guggenheim actually directed it -- has had one of those epiphanies so ordinary and indeed ubiquitous that if you're reading this sentence you've probably had it too. He sent his children to school.

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That changes a person in many ways. Suddenly, the long-running debates around American public education, which can seem to childless people like a bottomless sinkhole of good intentions (not unlike the Middle East's endless "peace process"), assume an urgent present-tense importance. Furthermore, you rapidly discover that whatever your philosophy about education in general might be, you'll happily ignore it in favor of whatever option seems best for your own kids. So it was that Guggenheim, who made a documentary in 1999 celebrating the dedication of public-school teachers, found himself driving past several Los Angeles public schools on the way to dropping off his kids at an elite private school, an experience that forms the basis for his new movie, "Waiting for 'Superman.'"

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Grading 'Waiting for Superman', Dana Goldstein, The Nation

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  • Here's what you see in Waiting for Superman, the new documentary that celebrates the charter school movement while blaming teachers unions for much of what ails American education: working- and middle-class parents desperate to get their charming, healthy, well-behaved children into successful public charter schools.
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  • Here's what you don't see: the four out of five charters that are no better, on average, than traditional neighborhood public schools (and are sometimes much worse); charter school teachers, like those at the Green Dot schools in Los Angeles, who are unionized and like it that way; and noncharter neighborhood public schools, like PS 83 in East Harlem and the George Hall Elementary School in Mobile, Alabama, that are nationally recognized for successfully educating poor children.
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Summary | Intolerance, Hate, Intimidation, Fear-mongering, Violence, Incivility, and Ignorance Move Mainstream: Week of October 17

5 New Items including:

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  • Washington Post Will Doggedly Pursue Both Sides Of 'Should Gay Teenagers Commit Suicide?
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  • Paladino's intolerance par for the course on campaign trail
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Randall Enos

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Washington Post Will Doggedly Pursue Both Sides Of 'Should Gay Teenagers Commit Suicide?' Debate, Jason Linkins, Huffington Post

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  • You did know that there are two completely rational sides to the debate over teens committing suicide because of homophobic bullying, didn't you?
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  • Special Report | Making Schools Safer for Gay Students
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Anti-gay NYC attack laced with hate speech, Karen Matthews, Associated Press
Gang members used an anti-gay slur to ask two teen boys and a 30-year-old man about their sexuality before brutally torturing and beating them last week in a working-class Bronx neighborhood, authorities said in court, where eight suspects stood with drooped heads at their first appearance as their relatives wept behind them.

Paladino's intolerance par for the course on campaign trail, David A. Love, Black Commentator/The Grio<
A black man becomes president, and white conservatives just lose their minds, or what little minds they had to begin with...

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Mormon leader gives anti-gay sermon after suicides -- Sign the open letter!, Human Rights Campaign

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  • Organizations to hold press conference and deliver petitions to Elder Packer calling on him to fully correct the factual record
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  • Mormon Church Attempts to Re-Write History; On-Line Change Proof Sermon was Harmful and Dangerous
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  • Stop the suicides: put an end to bullying in schools!
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Carl Paladino: Don't Be 'Brainwashed' Into Thinking Homosexuality Is 'Equally Valid' Amanda Terkel, Huffington Post

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  • Watch GOP Governor Nominee Carl Paladino Attack Gay Lifestyle: Not 'Equally Valid'
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  • According to Newsday's Reid Epstein, the line, "There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual. that is not how G-d created us" was in Paladino's prepared text but left out of his actual speech.
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  • Gay pride parade 'bumping and grinding' offend Tea Party hero & NY governor hopeful
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  • Mormon leader gives anti-gay sermon after suicides -- Sign the open letter!
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"Inside Job": Global finance as a criminal conspiracy

It's hard to overstate the importance of this angry, elegant film about the greatest financial swindle in history

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Andrew O'Hehir, Salon

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Elliott Spitzer

"Inside Job" is an angry and elegant new documentary from entrepreneur-turned-filmmaker Charles Ferguson, who took on the mismanagement of America's war in Iraq in his Oscar-nominated "No End in Sight." It might well be the most important film you see this year, and the most important documentary of this young century. In clear, ruthless and specific detail, Ferguson explains how the ongoing financial collapse that began in 2008 was itself caused by the criminal greed of the global financial elite that ordinary citizens had (unwisely) trusted, empowered by government deregulation and by the viral spread of rapacious free-market ideology.

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Angry and elegant is an unusual combination, and as a wealthy, well-connected policy wonk who makes expensive movies aimed at a large audience, Ferguson has gotten a mixed reception from the documentary world and from film critics. But "Inside Job," which was the smash hit of last spring's Cannes Film Festival and reaches American theaters this month, has made me a believer. Ferguson is here to tell the world that the crisis that has wiped out trillions of dollars in wealth, thrown millions of people out of work and out of their homes, and further widened the global gulf between rich and poor was no accident. It was a crime.

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If you liked reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

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Yankees' relentless dominance of Twins of AL Central calls competitive balance into question

Most concerning, however, not just for the Twins, but for Selig and the other major league poobahs who watch in dread as the Yankees threaten to again wreak havoc on their hopes and dreams for competitive balance, is that there really is this much of a gulf between the American League East and everyone else.

Bill Madden, New York Daily News | NY

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

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All season long, the Minnesota Twins, with their sparkling new stadium and spunky way of going about their baseball business, flourished in their anointed role of Bud Selig's model franchise. For six months there was this positive vibe about them that suggested the seventh month would be their most wondrous of all, in which all possibilities would be realized.

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And then, in a span of four blurry days, the Twins were administered another reality check from the Yankees, a rude reminder of just who really owns October, and it is once more a cold Minnesota winter that beckons. For the second straight year, Ron Gardenhire's crew has been Twinkie-munched in three straight by the Yankees, the fourth time since 2003 that the Bombers have sent the Twins home in the first round.

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Summary | Intolerance, Hate, Intimidation, Fear-mongering, Violence, Incivility, and Ignorance Move Mainstream: Week of October 10

4 New Items including:

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  • Mormon leader gives anti-gay sermon after suicides -- Sign the open letter!
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  • Stop the suicides: put an end to bullying in schools!
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

Tony Auth

Mormon leader gives anti-gay sermon after suicides -- Sign the open letter!, Human Rights Campaign

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  • Organizations to hold press conference and deliver petitions to Elder Packer calling on him to fully correct the factual record
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  • Stop the suicides: put an end to bullying in schools!
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  • Mormon Church Attempts to Re-Write History; On-Line Change Proof Sermon was Harmful and Dangerous
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Stop the suicides: put an end to bullying in schools! Joe Solmonese, Human Rights Campaign

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  • Ask US Education Secretary Arne Duncan: improve our nation's anti-bullying programs so we can end this tragedy.
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  • Making Schools Safer for Gay Students
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  • Anti-gay group organizes in Anoka-Hennepin (MN) schools as community deals with gay suicides
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LGBT Students Harassed At Colleges Nationwide, New Report Says, Huffington Post

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  • Unequivocally, the 2010 State of Higher Education for LGBT People demonstrates that LGBTQ students, faculty and staff experience a 'chilly' campus climate of harassment and far less than welcoming campus communities.
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  • Anti-gay group organizes in Anoka-Hennepin (MN) schools as community deals with gay suicides
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Anti-gay group organizes in Anoka-Hennepin (MN) schools as community deals with gay suicides, Andy Birkey, Minnesota Independent
“Well, news flash: There are homosexual people all over the world. Having your kid meet a homosexual in school and possibly even having a nice conversation with one isn’t going to turn your kid into one.” --Tammy Aaberg

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