Archive for Education

Vermont High School Kills Homecoming In Fear of Twerking




When I heard the words "From The Rutland Herald"  in the MSNBC early news mentions, I assumed Bernie had made the headlines, or perhaps the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant was up to no good.

Instead … the culprit was a Vermont Catholic high school nearby that had done the unthinkable and cancelled Homecoming. For fear of The Twerk.

Were they expecting an orgy? The hippie population is alive and well so this is doubly surprising.

I'm rarely ashamed of Vermont, but I have no idea what those idiots are thinking to censor or cancel Homecoming. We don't have a ton of culture up here always, but this has to be one of the most ridiculous and wrong-headed strictures on fun and dancing in state history. From the Bennington Banner.

BENNINGTON — Administrators at Mount Anthony Union High School have canceled the homecoming dance scheduled for Sept. 20 because the popularity of an aggressive and sexually suggestive dance has made some students feel uncomfortable and unsafe, said Principal Sue Maguire.


Getty ImagesMiley

In a letter, Maguire said the dance, called “twerking,” had been popularized by Miley Cyrus at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. Since then, the way students have been dancing at school functions has “crossed the line of what we can condone as appropriate behavior at a school,” she said.

For crying out loud … couldn't the kids have the freedom to enjoy Homecoming? Mount Saint Anthony could have an alternate plan, just bring in more frowning nuns with rulers to herd the Twerkers.

Terry Creech, professor of dance and other arts at Bennington College (the school is also in Bennington) gave an opinion on the limitations. A high school further north, near Stowe, Vermont, is trying to shut down all dancing. Because of the Evil Twerking.

WTH? The principle of Mount Saint Anthony, Sue McGuire, doesn't seem to eager to bring dancing back ...

"We plan on continuing the dialogue in hopes that we can work together to reinstate dances,” Maguire said.

“Unfortunately, our young people are continuously exposed to a culture filled with sexualized images and messages, but this should not and cannot be permitted at our school."


What kind of message is this to high school and young girls -- that they're acting like sluts and can't be trusted -- but do have actionable offenses.

This really speaks to the wave of anti-feminist/anti-woman sweeping the country since the damn Tea Party started going as far Right as possible: Full On Puritan.

Have they not seen Dirty Dancing?

Look out folks, it'll be burkas and no visible skin from head to toe. The evil female can't suppress her libido in public -- so shut them down.

Terry Creach continued,

Some of the religions in the U.S. think of dancing as being sinful and sexual as opposed to an art form or being sensual,” he said. “… For those of us in the dance world, we feel very limited by that perspective.

Check out the the principal's letter at Bennington




Five Children Murdered After They Were Deported Back To Honduras


So now the United States [and the budget conspiracy theorists] has gots some 'splainin' to do.

And by Hannity tonight, by O'Reilly tonight and after Rush Limpbaugh pulls a girl with terrible taste off him and lights a cigar at tea-time, we are going to see a boatload of blame offloaded on the president.

Starting to think Extreme Religionists, Open Gun Fondlers, Homicidal Abortion Opposition and the ones that are really engaged in a war on women should get their own little country.

Graphic courtesy


ThinkProgress has details about this heart-wrenching cycle of poverty and no allocation of resources funded or enforced. Almost seems like a long, long way from Lady Liberty's message.

Between five and ten migrant children have been killed since February after the United States deported them back to Honduras, a morgue director told the Los Angeles Times. Lawmakers have yet to come up with best practices to deal with the waves of unaccompanied children apprehended by Border Patrol agents, but some politicians refute claims that children are fleeing violence and are opting instead to fund legislation that would fast-track their deportations.

San Pedro Sula morgue director Hector Hernandez told the Los Angeles Times that his morgue has taken in 42 dead children since February. According to an interview with relatives by the LA Times, one teenager was shot dead hours after getting deported. Last year, San Pedro Sula saw 187 killings for every 100,000 residents, a statistic that has given the city the gruesome distinction as the murder capital of the world.


This is a truly awful American Exceptionalist category to win.


What's the Matter with America?


Nicole Sandler


As evidenced by the events unfolding in Ferguson, MO over the past 10 days, there's a lot wrong with America. Some of the problems are within the president's authority to fix. Thomas Frank  joined me in the last half-hour of today's show to talk about the three he outlined in his latest piece at Salon, "How to Wreck the GOP in 3 Easy Steps."

Of course, his suggestions would only wreck the GOP's chances of taking over the Senate in November, and bolster the Democrats', and make the country better for those of us struggling to get through each month.

This action by President Obama would also probably help to quell the unrest in Ferguson, MO and fend off similar future demonstrations of frustration and anger that will undoubtedly pop up around the nation. But as long as the needs of hurting citizens are ignored, the more we'll see people taking to the streets.

Attorney General Eric Holder is headed to Ferguson today. This morning, his open letter to the citizens of that town appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Although he sounded some of the right notes, he also proved to be as tone-deaf as MO Gov. Jay Nixon with proclamations like this:

In order to begin the healing process, however, we must first see an end to the acts of violence in the streets of Ferguson.

There's a reason the chant "No Justice, No Peace" has resonated so clearly with so many. He's got it backwards..

I began the show today by reading that letter, then recounting my own horrible experience with law enforcement both recently and a few years ago when I was not only arrested for trying to ask my then-congressman a question at an event that was supposed to be a "town hall meeting," then being sprayed with pepper foam while in the custody of the Broward County jail.

I told that story again because of an Op-Ed published in yesterday's Washington Post, written by Sunil Dutta, identified as "a professor of homeland security at Colorado Tech University, has been an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department for 17 years."

Aside from the sickening realizion that "homeland security" is a course of study at at least one American university, the content of Mr. Dutta's editorial underscored the need to revisit the "authority" granted to those who wear badges and carry guns.

It begins benignly enough

A teenager is fatally shot by a police officer; the police are accused of being bloodthirsty, trigger-happy murderers; riots erupt. This, we are led to believe, is the way of things in America. It is also a terrible calumny (a false and slanderous statement.) ; cops are not murderers. No officer goes out in the field wishing to shoot anyone, armed or unarmed. And while they’re unlikely to defend it quite as loudly during a time of national angst like this one, people who work in law enforcement know they are legally vested with the authority to detain suspects — an authority that must sometimes be enforced. Regardless of what happened with Mike Brown, in the overwhelming majority of cases it is not the cops, but the people they stop, who can prevent detentions from turning into tragedies.

But then descends into a state of power crazed madness

Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?


But if you believe (or know) that the cop stopping you is violating your rights or is acting like a bully, I guarantee that the situation will not become easier if you show your anger and resentment. Worse, initiating a physical confrontation is a sure recipe for getting hurt. Police are legally permitted to use deadly force when they assess a serious threat to their or someone else’s life. Save your anger for later, and channel it appropriately. Do what the officer tells you to and it will end safely for both of you. We have a justice system in which you are presumed innocent; if a cop can do his or her job unmolested, that system can run its course. Later, you can ask for a supervisor, lodge a complaint or contact civil rights organizations if you believe your rights were violated. Feel free to sue the police! Just don’t challenge a cop during a stop.

As I learned the hard way, innocent citizens who are brutalized by power drunk megalomaniacs often have no recourse. I didn't.

Susie Madrak, managing editor of Crooks & Liars, joins me every Wednesday morning. Today, she sent along a video that every manly man should watch. It's a great lesson to authority figures everywhere who might wield some modicum of power to show how to use it in a positive way.

And finally, a big "You Go Girl" to Mo'ne Davis, the first girl ever to pitch a shut out in the Little League World Series. She takes the mound again tonight.

I'll be drinking lots of fluids and downing some chicken soup today in a quest to rid myself of this summer cold and will be back tomorrow with author Sasha Abramsky and Congressman Alan Grayson, Radio or Not!


Mary Cassatt, Part Deux of the artistes' Fascinating Art History

Cassatt, The Pensive Reader

Cassatt, The Pensive Reader

Continued from Part One.

Cassatt became bosom bows with another talented young American, Elizabeth Jane Gardner, who was actually the first woman to ever exhibit at the Paris Salon. They often studied and painted together in the Louvre, which served as the sort of social and artistic venue denied them by the male-dominated, avant garde Paris cafés.

Soon after she got the nod from the Salon, it became apparent that yet another schism was taking place in the larger Paris art community. Visionaries Edouard Manet and Realist movement patron Gustave Courbet had started to pull away from traditional values, always a controversial path. This particular period was marked by works that evinced a new level of social commentary, the American Civil War was by no means the only conflict of note. Courbet was daring.

Cassatt, Sketch for 'Francoise in a Round-Backed Chair, Reading

Cassatt, Sketch for 'Francoise in a Round-Backed Chair, Reading

One of his works would not be exhibited until over one hundred years after their origin, the female genitalia-centric Origin of the World. By 1870 the signs of the upcoming Paris Commune were unmistakable, and Cassatt returned to the States for a time. She was tremendously creative, but by no means a radical. Her work remained quite conservative despite the influence of her less traditional teachers and peers. Alas, pauvre Courbet would live the last years of his life in exile in Switzerland.


Cassatt, Trying On Dress

Cassatt was not pleased to be back in Pennsylvania in the summer of 1870. One cannot spend their days traversing the cobblestones of Montparnasse and the Rue de Rivoli one month, and happily downgrade to Altoona the next.

Cassatt's work, even though placed in well-known New York galleries, was not leaping off the walls and into the homes of those who dictated the art preferences and market of the day.

Her father rather pettily showed his disapproval by refusing to bankroll her art supplies, and grudgingly providing room and board alone.

His daughter showed none of the expected interest in finding a suitable young man to marry, nor in abandoning her 'hobby' and settling down. She counted the days and weeks until she could return to her chosen home of Europe. An opportunity arose to live in Chicago and work, and she availed herself of it without hesitation. Tragically, the Great Fire of 1871 robbed her (and the world) of many of her early works.

Girl With a Banjo, by Cassatt

Girl With a Banjo, by Cassatt

It was by no means the greatest time to be an American living in the United States. Carpet Baggers headed South, slaves headed North, and politics was everywhere. Cassatt despaired of being crative in that atmosphere, and became so discouraged she threatened to quit painting. She was rescued however, by a commission of the Bishop of Pittsburgh. He asked her to set herself up in Parma and copy key Correggio works for the Church (a common practice, the 'reproduction' of Masters' paintings by young, cheap talent).

Cassatt sailed off with delight, in the last months of 1871. She spent eight extremely happy and productive months there, then moved on to Spain and studied at the Prado. Velázquez, Murillo, Titian, and Rubens were all available for her eager eyes and brushes. She added Spanish to her growing list of fluent languages, merrily visited Paris, Belgium and Rome, and became more and more fleshed out as an artist.


Mary Cassatt The Conversation 1896

Spanish Dancer Wearing a Lace Mantilla was her first Spanish-influenced work, but by the time she decided to move permanently back to Paris her closest friend and most frequent model arrived to join her ~ her beloved sister, Lydia Cassatt.

In 1874, the two sisters established a studio and an apartment in Paris, and entered the artistic life of ex-pats with great fervor. Both young women were frank to the point of rudeness, and never held back an opinion. For Mary, this offered her the rare freedom of not being overly concerned with critics or what her artistic peers thought of her.

An enviable level of independence, that. Later in life it was that brutal honesty that spurred her to describe Monet's Water Lilies as 'those glorified wallpapers', and to deem Picasso 'dreadful'. It's a shame that she and Julia Childe were not of an age, I feel that they would have been fast friends.

To be continued ...