pandora

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

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The Vanderbilt Rape Case Is Horrific

Filed in National by on January 26, 2015 1 Comment
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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YWCA Delaware: Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Filed in Delaware by on October 11, 2014 0 Comments

FYI… Important info below.  Please spread the word.     YWCA Delaware Promotes Domestic Violence Awareness Month WILMINGTON, DE – YWCA Delaware commemorates Domestic Violence Awareness Month with free workshops and additional support group meetings during the month of October. YWCA will host workshops at high schools and community based organizations throughout Delaware to teach […]

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Wilmington City Council’s Meeting On Priority Schools

Filed in Delaware by on October 10, 2014 35 Comments
Wilmington City Council’s Meeting On Priority Schools

Last night I attended the City Council Meeting on Priority Schools.

I’ve stared at the above sentence for quite a while, not sure how to proceed.  Mainly because I think last night was simply window dressing, a box checked off… the deal is done.  These schools, imo, are headed for charter conversion, privatization or closure.  The only question is when this will happen.  Shortly after the December 31, 2014 Plan deadline? Or after the specified four year, approximately 6 million Plan doesn’t meet the standardized test bar?

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Wilmington City Council To Hold Meeting On Priority Schools “Plan”

Filed in Delaware by on October 8, 2014 8 Comments
Wilmington City Council To Hold Meeting On Priority Schools “Plan”

If you’re free on Thursday, you may want to attend this: WILMINGTON CITY COUNCIL NEWS AND INFORMATION News Release Wednesday, September 24, 2014 Wilmington City Council’s Education, Youth and Families Committee to Focus on the State’s Priority Schools Plan     Public is Invited to the Thursday, October 9 at 6 p.m. Meeting Featuring a Priority […]

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Red Clay Super’s Message Regarding The Priority Schools’ MOU

Filed in Delaware by on September 30, 2014 8 Comments
Red Clay Super’s Message Regarding The Priority Schools’ MOU

“Please be aware that the MOU and the planning process are not the same. The MOU is an agreement to collaborate during the planning process.”

So… is Merv saying that the MOU is simply an invitation to get-together and chat?  That nothing in it is binding?  It’s just a “Hey, could you RSVP so we can set up a time to come up with a plan that doesn’t exist – just ignore all that talk in the MOU about the school leaders’ salaries and teachers having to reapply for their jobs, etc. because none of that means anything.”

Question… the 9/30 due date is today – there’s a workshop scheduled tonight. Can the board vote at a workshop? If not, what happens if the deadline isn’t met?

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What The… This Is Not Okay

Filed in Delaware by on September 19, 2014 107 Comments

I was just listening to Al Mascitti on WDEL and this happened. A song was playing in the background and Al asked if the song was by Nicki Minaj and Gary Mullinax said something along the line that she wasn’t the only one who “slutted” it up this week. WTF? He then went on to […]

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Joe Biden Shows How To Speak About The Ray Rice Abuse/Assault

Filed in Delaware, National by on September 9, 2014 5 Comments
Joe Biden Shows How To Speak About The Ray Rice Abuse/Assault

I love Joe! Here are his comments regarding the Ray Rice “incident” or – as it’s known when it happens outside of a relationship – assault. It’s never, never, never the woman’s fault. No man has a right to raise a hand to a woman. No means no. [...] The one regret I have is […]

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Governor And Department of Ed: “Announcing New Education Initiative” Event

Filed in Delaware by on September 4, 2014 25 Comments
Governor And Department of Ed: “Announcing New Education Initiative” Event

I just returned from attending this:  Announcing New Education Initiative What: Governor Markell and the Department of Education will announce a new initiative to support many of the state’s most disadvantaged students–Joined by state legislators and education and community leaders, the Governor will provide details of the state’s plan. Who: Governor Markell Secretary Mark Murphy, […]

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HB 424 – Eliminating The “Special Interest” In Charter And VoTech

Filed in Delaware by on September 3, 2014 35 Comments
HB 424 – Eliminating The “Special Interest” In Charter And VoTech

On July, 1,2014, Rep. Darryl Scott introduced HB 424: Primary Sponsor: Scott CoSponsors: { NONE…} Introduced on : 07/01/2014 Long Title: AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Synopsis of Orginal Bill: (without Amendments) This bill eliminates the ability of charter schools to give an enrollment preference to […]

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Are You Ready For A Labor Day Weekend Foodie Post?

Filed in Delaware by on August 31, 2014 5 Comments
Are You Ready For A Labor Day Weekend Foodie Post?

It’s been a while since we had a foodie thread.  As usual, please share your recipes in the comment section.

Have you ever made pizza on the grill?  No?  Well, you’re missing out.  This pizza is amazing.  Do not be daunted by dough making.  The olive oil in the dough makes for easy kneading – or if you have a KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook even better.

Perfecting this pizza took several tries (it was delicious every time) due to the speed at which it cooks.  Below the recipe I’ll include some helpful hints!

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California’s “Yes Means Yes” Bill

Filed in National by on August 29, 2014 135 Comments
California’s “Yes Means Yes” Bill

The California state senate unanimously approved a bill on Thursday that defines when “yes” means “yes” to sex. Instead of “no means no” – the phrase commonly associated with sexual assault prevention – the law would require “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement” by each party to engage in sexual activity. If Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signs the bill into law – he has until the end of September – colleges and universities would have to adopt the so-called affirmative consent standard to continue receiving state funds for student financial aid.

Under the proposed standard, the fact that a person didn’t say “no” is no defense in a campus sexual assault investigation.

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