South Africa’s first black president spent nearly a third of his life as a prisoner of apartheid, yet he sought to win over its defeated guardians in a relatively peaceful transition of power that inspired the world.
As head of state, the former boxer, lawyer and inmate lunched with the prosecutor who argued successfully for his incarceration. He sang the apartheid-era Afrikaans anthem at his inauguration and traveled hundreds of miles to have tea with the widow of the prime minister in power at the time he was sent to prison.
It was this generosity of spirit that made Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95, a global symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation in a world often jarred by conflict and division…
Mandela’s death deprived the world of one of one of the great figures of modern history and set the stage for days of mourning and reflection about a colossus of the 20th century who projected astonishing grace, resolve and good humor.
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people,” Mandela said. “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
RTFA. It is long as it should be. Nelson Mandela led a courageous life over many decades, conquered many enemies. Those enemies often included the government of these United States and many European democracies. Governments make wrong decisions over time, often for the worst of reasons. Mandela would forgive them.
Some of us who fought to support the wars of national liberation around the globe may also forgive. We will never forget.
Right-wing governors who refused Medicaid expansion force their state taxpayers to pick up the tab for states that did expand Medicaid
Georgia’s Grady Memorial Hospital loses $45 million
The 20 states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act help pay for the expanded Medicaid program in other states…
A Commonwealth Fund Study found Texas, Florida, Georgia,and Virginia were the biggest losers among states not expanding Medicaid because they are forgoing billions of dollars in federal funds, while residents in their states are contributing to the cost of the expansions in other states…
…Researchers explained federal funds that pay for state Medicaid programs are raised through federal general revenue collection — taxes paid by residents in all states — whether or not they participate in the program.
Therefore, taxpayers in states not participating in the Medicaid expansion will bear a share of the overall cost for Medicaid, without benefiting from the expanded program in the 20 states. Glied and Ma estimated the net loss of federal funds to states that do not expand Medicaid by using projected federal Medicaid spending in each state and calculating the federal Medicaid-related taxes paid by each state…
After taking into account federal taxes paid by state residents, states with the highest net losses include Texas, which will see a net loss of $9.2 billion in 2022; Florida, which will lose $5 billion; Georgia, which will lose $2.9 billion and Virginia will lose $2.8 billion, the study said.
Meanwhile, in states that chose not to expand Medicaid, hospitals are planning budget cuts because of the loss of patients that expanded Medicaid would have provided…
Nothing puts the lie to Republican blather about fiscal responsibility than decisions like this. Allegiance to ideology opposing benefits for the poor and working poor, rooted in petty fury over losing yet another election to someone who doesn’t fit the populist mold of White and Right…guaranteed these fools would decide to block an opportunity to aid the poorest of their state populations. Making it certain in the process that state taxpayers would not only pay for the loss; but, pick up the tab for states where elected officials decided in favor of expanding healthcare.
They will continue to campaign on the lie that they saved people money – when all they guaranteed was increasing poverty, ill-health and a harder life for many of their fellow Americans. They are liars and criminals.
The Civil War might be long over, but a battle about putting a monument honoring Union soldiers at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park in Florida is still underway.
The proposal to install a monument at the park — the site of the biggest Civil War battle fought in Florida — was met with opposition on Monday night during a public hearing…
Each year, Olustee hosts a reenactment of a four-hour battle in which Union forces were routed by Confederate troops…
A descendant of someone who died at the Battle of Olustee, Mike Farrell, proposed the new memorial because of his experience serving as an historical exhibitor at the park.
“I always have the visiting public approach me and ask me where the Union monument is on the battlefield, and I often tell them, ‘There isn’t any.’…What I’m talking about is a battlefield monument,” Farrell said.
Republican state Rep. Dennis Baxley…proposed halting the monument from within the state house. “I can do a very simple proposal to the Legislature that we protect all monument sites,” he said.
Racists have grown more practiced in the semantics-based lies they use to answer questions about bigoted proposals. I guess that in itself is recognition of growing understanding among Americans still dull enough to be suckered into rightwing politics. They don’t care to admit publicly how much of their craptastic chicanery is proposed to satisfy racism, justify slavery.
They’re only kidding themselves. The rest of the nation looks and nods – “Yes, these are the village idiots who continue to think they weren’t defeated by the strength of the Union. They believe the South will rise again and Jim Crow laws will be reinstated.”
Illustrating once again how easy it was for Nixon to decide on the Southern Strategy, just how easy it was for Republicans to lock up the bigot vote.
Not a month goes by without former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, unleashing new government surveillance allegations, but on Wednesday, the Washington Post dropped a bombshell: The NSA is tracking cellphones around the world at a rate of almost five billion records per day. This revelation is particularly shocking because it affirms fears that the government is keeping tabs on the physical location of Americans.
1. The NSA can find you in a hotel and can probably tell if you’re having an affair…
2. Americans are definitely being tracked, but providing the exact number is “awkward”…
3. All the collected location data wouldn’t fit in the Library of Congress…
4. Don’t bother trying to hide. The NSA knows if you’re trying to avoid them…
5. And you don’t need to be a suspect to be targeted…
The Feds say that this kind of data collection is not protected by the Fourth Amendment; so, as far as Uncle Sugar is concerned, we’re all legitimate targets.
Read the full report over here.
A floating vessel that is longer than the Empire State Building is high has taken to the water for the first time.
The hull of Shell’s Prelude was floated in South Korea.
When fully built, Prelude will be the largest floating facility ever created, weighing more than 600,000 tonnes.
It would be used to help in the production of natural gas from 2017, Shell said, and would operate for 25 years off Australia’s north-west coast.
The area has a yearly cyclone season from November to April, but Prelude has been designed to withstand such conditions. It is hoped the facility will be able to produce enough gas to power a city the size of Hong Kong.
I do not miss working in shipyards. Even when you get to work on the construction of something this impressive, it’s still mostly grunt work, plumbing and welding. Oil field work that floats.
OTOH, the engineering requirements of a structure this massive impresses. Even if it wasn’t designed to float and survive severe weather it would be a beastie.
China’s yuan currency overtook the euro in October, becoming the second-most used currency in trade finance, global transaction services organization SWIFT said on Tuesday.
The market share of yuan usage in trade finance, or Letters of Credit and Collection, grew to 8.66 percent in October 2013. That improved from 1.89 percent in January 2012.
The yuan, also known as the renminbi, now ranks behind the U.S. dollar, which remains the leading currency with a share of 81.08 percent…
Yup. A long way to go to be competitive. Though, anyone who thinks the RMB will fall by the wayside anytime soon – is deluded.
The top five countries using the yuan for trade finance in October were China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and Australia, SWIFT said in a statement.
“The RMB is clearly a top currency for trade finance globally and even more so in Asia,” Franck de Praetere, SWIFT’s Asia Pacific head of payments and trade markets said…
The world’s second-largest economy is accelerating the pace of financial reform to promote its currency to international players beyond Hong Kong. China aims to lift the yuan’s global clout and reduce its reliance on the U.S. dollar.
Even though the dimwits in Congress still run their trick bag on the American public about Chinese currency being manipulated as cheap – to steal business – they know nothing about ForEx or global biz. It’s been a few years since the PBOC stopped pegging the RMB to the US dollar and it’s only gone in one direction since. Up, up. About a third of a percent, yesterday.
The Western moneyboys are jostling each other in the peloton to get to the front on converting yuan to euros and dollars – and vice versa. The Swiss and the Brits mostly in the lead. This month.
The US SpaceX company has announced its intention to take a big slice of the market for launching the world’s TV and telecoms satellites.
The California outfit has just launched a new platform for satellite operator SES to serve its growing customer base in India and South East Asia…It is the first time SpaceX has put a satellite in a geostationary transfer orbit, far above the Earth.
The launch took place at Cape Canaveral in Florida…
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket got up off the pad at 17:41 local time (22:41 GMT) and released the SES-8 platform on its planned trajectory some 33 minutes later…
SpaceX is promising to substantially undercut the existing players on price, and SES, the world’s second largest telecoms satellite operator, believes the incumbents had better take note of the California company’s capability.
“The entry of SpaceX into the commercial market is a game-changer – it is going to really shake the industry to its roots,” SES’s chief technical officer Martin Halliwell told BBC News before the launch.
The flight from Cape Canaveral was the seventh mission to date for a Falcon 9.
The progression to longer flights, larger payloads, appears to be doing just fine. At this rate, I expect they’ll land a Tesla on the moon for Chinese astronauts to drive around in.
RTFA for lots more detail, background. I chose one of the longer videos – worth watching.
Joerg Sarbach/AP Photo
More than half a million 15-year-olds around the world took the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2012. The test, which is administered every three years and focuses largely on math, but includes minor sections in science and reading, is often used as a snapshot of the global state of education…
Not much has changed since 2000, when the U.S. scored along the OECD average in every subject: This year, the U.S. scores below average in math and ranks 17th among the 34 OECD countries. It scores close to the OECD average in science and reading and ranks 21st in science and 17th in reading…
On average, 13 percent of students scored at the highest or second highest level on the PISA test, making them “top performers.” Fifty-five percent of students in Shanghai-China were considered top performers, while only nine percent of American students were.
One in four U.S. students did not reach the PISA baseline level 2 of mathematics proficiency. At this level, “students begin to demonstrate the skills that will enable them to participate effectively and productively in life,” according to the PISA report…
The U.S. ranks fifth in spending per student. Only Austria, Luxembourg, Norway, and Switzerland spend more per student. To put this in context: the Slovak Republic, which scores similarly to the U.S., spends $53,000 per student. The U.S. spends $115,000. The PISA report notes that, among OECD countries, “higher expenditure on education is not highly predictive of better mathematics scores in PISA.”
Much like health care, Americans who believe nothing counts better than dollars probably still believe we have the best education in the world – regardless of test results, in spite of diminishing GDP marching downhill in parallel to PISA scores.
In fact, it’s becoming fashionable on a couple of fronts to reject test scores like these. Aside from old-fogies fearful of furriners, the teaching infrastructure from the NEA to bloated bureaucratic structures won’t agree to any streamlining – even if we try to copy the Finnish model placing teachers into the upper pay scale of education and employment.
The grade school I attended had over 600 pupils K-8, 18 teachers, 1 janitor, a school nurse, 1 principal and a secretary. What does the employment roll look like in anything comparable in your town or city?
My school was typical of the several in a medium-sized New England factory town. Last time I checked on Albuquerque, New Mexico, the total number of folks on the payroll of the city’s school board exceeded the number of students.
Yes, this is one of the easiest hot buttons to push on my brain. Because I received a pretty good education – supplemented by what my family came up with for my sister and me via books they bought and the neighborhood Carnegie library. Over the 9 years of that K-8 school, we had exactly 3 dropouts. And they were considered an anomaly. Ne’er-do-wells who only sat there waiting to be old enough to quit.
RTFA. Not too long for all the details and categories included. Think about it. I hope you get pissed off enough to apply pressure to the sensitive parts of your local politicians.
Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority – AMAFCA – are the folks who give us all our truly New Mexican snowman, every year.
Happy Holidaze, folks