pandora

A stay-at-home mom with an obsession for National politics.

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“Free Range” Parents Found Responsible For “Unsubstantiated” Child Neglect

Filed in National by on March 5, 2015 7 Comments

Is it just me, or is this crazy? Remember the Maryland parents who let their two kids walk home from a park alone and then had to deal with police and child protective services? They heard from the state today. The couple was found responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect, a confusing charge that resolved nothing […]

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Reverend Kilroy Delivers A Sunday Sermon

Filed in Delaware by on March 1, 2015 4 Comments
Reverend Kilroy Delivers A Sunday Sermon

Last week my phone started ringing and emails/texts poured in. Almost everyone began with: “Have you heard?” Why no, no I hadn’t heard. Today Kilroy puts up a post addressing what’s going on. Go read the post.

Those who sit at the right and left hand of the Red Clay God (Merv) better take a hard look in the mirror. Though school superintendents make many request for school board approval it is the school board who makes the final approval with no veto power on the super’s part. In the big picture the super’s failures are the board’s failures. [...]

I am dishearten to hear (rumor of course) some board members want to throw Merv overboard midstream (before the end of his contract). Those who think Merv may be the problem are just as much the problem.

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Science Takes On A Zombie Outbreak

Filed in National by on February 26, 2015 19 Comments
Science Takes On A Zombie Outbreak

Given my and DelawareDem’s love of The Walking Dead, I had to post this. This is for you, DD!

A team of Cornell University researchers has determined the best place to hide during a zombie apocalypse.

A graduate statistical mechanics class was inspired by a reading of “World War Z,” a fictional oral history of a zombie war, and decided to explore what might happen in an actual zombie outbreak, reported Phys.org.

[...]

He said most films or books assume that a zombie outbreak would affect all areas at the same time, leaving a small pocket of survivors after a few months.

“But in our attempt to model zombies somewhat realistically, it doesn’t seem like this is how it would actually go down,” Alemi said.

Cities would fall quickly, the researchers found, but it would take weeks or even months for zombies to penetrate less densely populated areas.

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I Really Didn’t Want To Write About 50 Shades Of Grey

Filed in Delaware by on February 19, 2015 26 Comments
I Really Didn’t Want To Write About 50 Shades Of Grey

In May of 2012 I wrote a post about 50 Shades of Grey called 50 Shades of Agony. I admit to not finishing the book because, well, I couldn’t stand it. It was, without a doubt, the worst thing I’ve ever read. But I was clear that if the book “worked” for you, then enjoy. That’s the thing about fantasies, they’re personal and usually private.

I haven’t seen the movie, but will probably “hate watch” it once it lands on HBO. There’s simply too much talk for me not to watch it. My curiosity is probably due to the million or so articles written about movie – and I don’t think that number is too far off the mark.

So what prompted me to finally write about 50 Shades of Grey? It began with a post over at Delaware Politics (Yes. I know.) by David Anderson titled: 50 Shades A Failure of Modern Feminism.

50 Shades just brought to light what in form or another is normal behavior for millions. What is more interesting to me is that it tears to shreds the emasculation of relationships by modern feminism. 50 Shades is not what I would call the road map to healthy relationships, yet it is popular to near record levels not scene since (ironically) the Passion of the Christ.

I found intriguing this article by frequent guest author, Jon Moseley. His premise is that 50 Shades are a perversion of the natural yearning of many women for real men. It speaks to the void in our society created in the last 70 years of the attempt to cleanse society of “a man’s strength and leadership”. He contends that it is a perversion of the healthy original filling the void left by remake of society by the left.

That’s quite a leap, and one not based in reality.

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DDOE Tells Christina To Close Or Restructure (Charter/Privatize) Its Priority Schools

Filed in Delaware by on February 11, 2015 28 Comments
DDOE Tells Christina To Close Or Restructure (Charter/Privatize) Its Priority Schools

There are actually three choices on the table: Closure, Charter Conversion/Privatization… and handing all 5 of Christina’s city schools to Red Clay. No matter what, Christina loses these schools.

The Christina school board must choose by Feb. 27 whether to close its three Priority Schools or hand them over to charter schools or other education management organizations, the Department of Education said in a letter to district staff Tuesday.

The letter leaves one possible alternative: If Christina works with the state on the possibility of redistricting schools so that it no longer operates city schools, it could be removed from the Priority Schools saga altogether.

The Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) is very good at closing down schools. Go speak with anyone at these six Priority Schools and ask them when DDOE showed up to “help” them. Surely DDOE has been in these schools for years – since these six schools have been struggling for a long, long time? Surely, DDOE can point to all the support they’ve given these schools over the years? I hear that DDOE didn’t step foot in these schools or offer assistance prior to Governor Markell’s Priority School announcement last fall. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe DDOE has been working with the six priority schools for years and drastic action was needed because they exhausted all other options?

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Legal Representation For Fetus Of Brain-Dead Women, Or The Next Step In “Personhood”

Filed in National by on February 10, 2015 10 Comments
Legal Representation For Fetus Of Brain-Dead Women, Or The Next Step In “Personhood”

We’ve seen Personhood on the ballot, and we’ve seen it fail in some pretty conservative states. That doesn’t mean it’s going away. It just means the pro-Personhood contingent has switched tactics. They will chip away at the fringes of legalized abortion and they will use the most vulnerable among us.

The proposal by Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, would appoint a representative to speak on behalf of the fetus if a pregnant woman is declared brain-dead or otherwise permanently incapacitated. Krause is working with legislative bill-drafters and has yet to introduce a specific measure in the House.

“You’ll hear what the family wants, and you’ll also give the pre-born child a chance to have a voice in court at that same time,” Krause said. “The judge weighs everything and he or she makes their decision based on that.”

Please notice how the pregnant, brain-dead and/or permanently incapacitated woman’s wishes aren’t considered.

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It’s A Soup Day!

Filed in Delaware by on February 9, 2015 6 Comments
It’s A Soup Day!

Looks like everyone is busy today, so I’ll blog while I cook. The recipe inside is a little labor intensive, but worth it. I always double it! Creamy Potato, Bacon and Cheese Soup!

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Comment Rescue: Jason330’s Step By Step Plan For Dems Not Voting

Filed in Delaware, National by on February 6, 2015 21 Comments
Comment Rescue: Jason330’s Step By Step Plan For Dems Not Voting

On the post “What does being a “Democrat” in 2015 actually mean anyway?” Jason330 lays out a plan. I started to respond in the comments, but realized I couldn’t possibly list all the ways 100% enacting the Republican agenda would take shape. So, I’m turning to our commenters for help creating the list.

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Did You Know That “firing a woman for breastfeeding isn’t sexist because men can lactate, too”

Filed in National by on February 4, 2015 21 Comments
Did You Know That “firing a woman for breastfeeding isn’t sexist because men can lactate, too”

Every new mother is well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding and why they should breastfeed their baby. A pregnant woman and new mother are bombarded with research, flyers, books, advice, advice from strangers, etc. on why the breast is best.  It’s everywhere… except, it seems, at Nationwide Insurance. Although I’m sure Nationwide would claim to be pro-breastfeeding in a “We 100% support breastfeeding… in the home” sorta way.

The Supreme Court has declined to overturn a lower court’s ruling that an insurance company was within bounds when it fired a breastfeeding mother. The woman’s suit was dismissed by the Eighth Circuit Court on the grounds that firing a woman for breastfeeding isn’t sexist because men can lactate, too.

The ACLU’s Galen Sherwin wrote Monday that former Nationwide Insurance Company employee Angela Ames sued her employer when she returned from maternity leave to find that no allowances had been made to enable her to pump breast milk for her baby during the day.

When Ames asked her supervisor for accommodations that would enable her to express milk and store it for her child, the supervisor reportedly responded that Ames should “go home and be with your babies” instead. That supervisor went on to dictate a letter of resignation to Ames that day, effectively forcing her to resign.

Men can lactate, too! They don’t, but they can (or some can), so… hand that baby over to dad and get back to work, Ms. Ames!

I breastfed both of my children, and while I sincerely enjoyed it I would have loved to hand off those 3am feedings to my husband. If only I had known at the time some men could lactate! I would have bought him his very own pump!

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Vaccinations Should No Longer Be Optional

Filed in National by on January 29, 2015 61 Comments

The anti-vax crowd is really an anti-science religion. It’s 100% based on faith, not fact. And it’s time to stop indulging stupid. Vaccination is about public health, and everyone should have to be vaccinated – unless a qualified doctor says otherwise. If you refuse to vaccinate then you should not be allowed out in public. […]

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The Vanderbilt Rape Case Is Horrific

Filed in National by on January 26, 2015 4 Comments
The Vanderbilt Rape Case Is Horrific

We saw this very thing in the Steubenville rape case – the victim consoled their attacker, said that they didn’t believe their attacker had done anything wrong. Little did they know.

It was after Vandenburg and three other football players were charged with her rape that she would see graphic videos of the alleged attack, she testified. Prosecutors played videos of the alleged attack for jurors that they said were shot from Vandenburg’s cellphone. A Nashville detective testified that police were able to recover the videos from a laptop. [...]

Earlier this week, McKenzie testified that Vandenberg was “amped” and coaching players to violate the woman. McKenzie said he did not touch her but took pictures. He also testified that Banks and Batey violated the woman.

There’s also testimony that Vandenberg handed out condoms and covered a security camera. Those acts seem pretty deliberate for a guy saying he was too drunk to instigate rape.

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Wilmington City Council Votes To Not Let In More Charter Schools

Filed in Delaware by on January 16, 2015 5 Comments
Wilmington City Council Votes To Not Let In More Charter Schools

Yes, this is symbolic, but we’ve come a long way.

The Wilmington City Council sent a request to state leaders Thursday night: Don’t allow any more charter schools to open in the city for the time being, and give the city more say over which schools get approved.

Council approved 9-3, with President Theo Gregory absent, a resolution urging the Department of Education not to consider any new charter applications in the city to “allow elected officials and community representatives time to assess the impact of charter schools in Wilmington and throughout the State.”

Impact is the key word and one of the biggest problem with charters – their impact on surrounding neighborhoods and schools isn’t really considered – and even though the new charter law pays lip service to impact, impact alone isn’t enough to stop a charter from entering a community. Try building an addition to your house without community approval. Maybe labeling the addition as a charter school would be the way to go!

Whether or not a community wants a charter in their neighborhood doesn’t matter. As long as a charter follows state law they can pretty much go where they want. Westgate Farms fought against Odyssey Charter moving in.  They eventually won by focusing on the historic location.  Good thing a cemetery was located there. Otherwise, Odyssey could have moved in – no matter what the surrounding community thought or wanted.

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Christina Fights Back – Delay Granted, But The End Game Remains The Same

Filed in Delaware by on January 14, 2015 4 Comments
Christina Fights Back – Delay Granted, But The End Game Remains The Same

So… last night this happened:

The Christina School Board again delayed a final decision on its three Priority Schools on Tuesday night, saying they wanted to give the school communities time to study a new compromise proposal worked out between district and state officials.

[...]

Originally, the state had said the state and district needed to work out an agreement by last week or Gov. Jack Markell would shut the schools down or hand them over to charters or other outside operators. Some board members originally believed they had to vote Tuesday night or that takeover would occur.

But Sen. Bryan Townsend, whose district includes Christina, said he called Markell’s office during the board meeting and the governor’s staff said they were willing to further extend the deadline.

The strike through words are my doing, and it would be refreshing if someone asked how closing these schools would actually work. Until that question is asked and answered I’ll file “closure” under meaningless threat. Unless someone thinks redrawing attendance zones that bus these children out to suburban schools is actually on the table. No? Well, neither do I.

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Wilmington Education Advisory Committee Weighs In On Priority Schools

Filed in Delaware by on January 10, 2015 9 Comments
Wilmington Education Advisory Committee Weighs In On Priority Schools

The letter inside was sent to Governor Markell yesterday. It is asking for the same thing most of us are asking – to slow down the process because more time is needed.

One thing is clear. The more people learn about the Priority Schools Plan the more they ask for more time before implementation.

The time frame is what frustrates so many – it simply cannot be taken seriously. The problems facing these schools are complicated, and ones we’ve ignored for years. Sadly, there is nothing in those MOUs that address, let alone acknowledge, the real issues facing these schools. And longer school days, getting rid of teachers and bringing in new “school leaders” (I hate that phrasing, btw) doesn’t address the very real challenges these children, and the schools serving them, face every day.

I stood on the steps at Warner when the Priority Schools plan was unveiled and, when the announcement was over, I walked away shaking my head. By the time I got home I realized that the main priority of the plan was the consequences of failure; that the only thing carved in stone in the MOU was the loss of our public schools. The time frame all but guaranteed that outcome. Hopefully, this letter will help slow things down.

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Christina’s Plan For “Priority Schools” And Last Night’s Meeting

Filed in Delaware by on January 8, 2015 28 Comments
Christina’s Plan For “Priority Schools” And Last Night’s Meeting

Here’s what happened at last night’s Christina’s School Board meeting:

With two days remaining before a threatened state takeover of its three inner-city schools, the Christina board delayed action on the state’s priority schools plan – but it gave Superintendent Freeman Williams permission to work with education officials on a compromise.

Department spokeswoman Alison May said officials there were willing to extend the deadline for negotiations – at least for the moment. Gov. Jack Markell has said he will close those schools down or hand them over to charters or other outside operators if the district and state can’t agree.

The board’s move comes after the Department of Education rejected draft plans the district had crafted after months of meetings with parents, teachers and others in the schools’ communities.

“At the highest level, the plans propose continuing the work that is already underway at the schools, which we know has not been effective,” May wrote. “The plans propose supplementing the current work in minor ways, which we do not believe will be transformative for students.”

Before continuing, let’s break this down. First, Gov. Markell will not close these schools down, so he should probably drop that bit of nonsense. Charter and privatization have always been the end game for these Priority Schools (It’s actually more than the end game, it’s the entire point of this), so let’s stop pretending that closure is on the table.  It isn’t… unless someone wants to tell me where the children attending the closed schools would go? And while the MOU doesn’t have much to say about the children attending these schools, they do, in fact, actually exist.

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Please Sign The Petition – Let’s Make Priority Schools A Real PRIORITY

Filed in Delaware by on December 23, 2014 15 Comments
Please Sign The Petition – Let’s Make Priority Schools A Real PRIORITY

Via Exceptional Delaware:

A group of like-minded individuals who are against the priority schools initiative has created an iPetition to give to Governor Markell, Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and the Delaware Department of Education.  Please take a minute or two during the busy holiday season and make a difference!  The timing is crucial on this petition.

If you agree… please sign the petition then help spread the word by sharing the petition with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, email, etc..

I’m counting on my DL community – you guys haven’t let me down before.  Let’s knock this out of the park! Come inside for the Petition Link.

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Screw It… It’s Time For Some Holiday Cheer

Filed in Delaware by on December 22, 2014 10 Comments
Screw It… It’s Time For Some Holiday Cheer

My gift to you is some really easy recipes!  Lemon Tea Cookies and Sugared Pecans! Not kidding, these recipes are super easy and delicious! Both of these recipes are extremely easy.  I’ve made mine, and will probably have to make more!  Then again, I am not cooking on Christmas Eve.  Merry Christmas to me!

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Red Clay’s Latest Idea Will Create More Hardship For City Parents, Or… Red Clay Demonstrates, once again, how Clueless They Are

Filed in Delaware by on December 14, 2014 7 Comments
Red Clay’s Latest Idea Will Create More Hardship For City Parents, Or… Red Clay Demonstrates, once again, how Clueless They Are

I had heard whispers about this for months.  Kilroy spells it out: Red Clay’s (RCCD) plan for two of its Priority Schools is to turn one (Shortlidge) into a K – 2 and the other one (Warner) into a 3 – 5 school.  And while I’m no fan of the Neighborhood Schools Act (NSA), Kilroy points out that this move violates the NSA.

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Ninth Street Book Shop: Bryan Stevenson To Speak At The Queen

Filed in Delaware by on December 9, 2014 3 Comments
Ninth Street Book Shop: Bryan Stevenson To Speak At The Queen

Via ninth street book shop – which you should totally shop at.

Bryan Stevenson, who was born in Milford, DE, will speak at a free public event at the Queen Theatre (500 N Market St) on Monday, Dec. 15th from 5:00–7:00 pm.  His memoir, “Just Mercy,” is a powerful indictement of the inequities of our justice system and a call for action.  Following his presentation, he will be autographing copies of his book ($28) that will be available for purchase either there or at our store.

500 N Market St
in the Olympia Room at the Queen Theatre
Wilmington, Delaware

The Pandora household is trying to clear our calendar to attend. Hope to see everyone!

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The Darren Wilson Interview

Filed in National by on November 26, 2014 107 Comments
The Darren Wilson Interview

I’ve watched the interview with Darren Wilson and George Stephanopoulos and all I got out of it was anger.  During the interview all I kept thinking was… Liar.  And while I get why he lied (Hello?  Ongoing Federal Investigation), what I don’t understand is why he gave the interview so soon.  Why not wait?  Did ABC pay him?  Payment is the only excuse I can think of for doing this interview so quickly.

Here’s why I think he’s lying in the interview.  I also think he lied to the Grand Jury, and I’ll get to that later.  Okay, here’s the big lie….

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New Blog In Town – Steve Newton Whiskey

Filed in Delaware by on November 20, 2014 0 Comments
New Blog In Town – Steve Newton Whiskey

Steve Newton has started a new blog.  Go read!

What’s interesting is this:

I’d rather have a system of ethics than an ideology.

So I’m starting over here, in a sense.  As a historian I know that all phenomena involve both continuity and change.  I’m still the same person, with the same background, the same interests, the same flaws, and the same leanings, that I was about seven years ago when I first started publishing The Delaware Libertarian.  I’m just unwilling to confine my ideas, my observations, or my potential solutions to that framework any more.

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“Concerned Neighbors Of Cooke Elementary School” VS The Red Clay School Board

Filed in Delaware by on November 18, 2014 92 Comments
“Concerned Neighbors Of Cooke Elementary School” VS The Red Clay School Board

I plan on attending the RCCD school board meeting tomorrow night (7pm at Brandywine Springs Elementary School).  This is going to be interesting, mainly because the Concerned Neighbors of Cooke Elementary School’s stated concerns regarding the addition of Lancaster Court Apartments to Cooke’s feeder don’t hold water – they also keep changing.  If you haven’t […]

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State Of Emergency Declared – Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Coming Soon

Filed in National by on November 18, 2014 14 Comments
State Of Emergency Declared – Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Coming Soon

Via TPM: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) declared a state of emergency Monday, preempting a grand jury decision in the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown that is expected to be delivered any day. The order establishes that the St. Louis County police will be in charge of law enforcement in Ferguson in response to any […]

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Attendance Zone Decision for Cooke Elementary School Results In A Protest

Filed in Delaware by on November 10, 2014 98 Comments
Attendance Zone Decision for Cooke Elementary School Results In A Protest

An ipetition landed in my email.  Here’s what it says:

Protest of Red Clay School Board’s Attendance Zone Decision for Cooke Elementary School

We demand that the Red Clay Consolidated School District School Board reverse their October 15 decision to deviate from the Attendance Zone feeder pattern that had been presented by the Attendance Zone Committee and accepted by the community. This last-minute decision undermined six months of work by the Attendance Zone Committee and did not give the community an opportunity to voice concerns. The students of Lancaster Court Apartments will not benefit from this decision, and the decision contradicts the Neighborhood Schools Act. The Board’s action was not ethical and the decision is not acceptable.

So… I made some calls to try and figure out what happened.  I’m piecing this together from various conversations, so if anyone has additional insight please let me know.  Here’s what I heard….

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About Last Night…

Filed in National by on November 5, 2014 52 Comments
About Last Night…

I haven’t blogged about the 2014 election… until now.  Am I disappointed Republicans now control the House and the Senate.  Yes.  Am I devastated?  No.  And here’s why.

Since 2010 the Republican battle cry has been that the House can’t get its crazy past the D controlled Senate.  This worked for them – it was like a constant campaign commercial.  It worked for the so-called “sane” Republicans as well.  Vote to repeal the ACA for the gazillionth time?  Sure.  Why not.  The D controlled Senate would block it and the Rs would get to keep their Conservative street cred while doing nothing.  It’s why there were so many votes taken to repeal the ACA – every Republican wanted a chance (or two, or forty) to go on the record with that meaningless vote.

But now that vote isn’t meaningless, and I’m seeing problems on the horizon.

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