Daily Archives: January 28, 2013

money will solve everything

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/susan_nielsen/index.ssf/2013/01/susan_nielsen_for_rudy_crew_to.html#incart_river
Oh, the difference a few hundred million dollars would make.

If Oregon schools were expected to get a lot more money next year, Rudy Crew would receive standing ovations wherever he went. He would wax lyrical about equity and quality, and people would cheer his ideas.
But schools are likely to be poorer next year, not richer, based on early budget forecasts. This makes Crew’s job as chief education officer much harder: He tries to move the conversation beyond funding, but the conversation marches right back.
Crew took the hot seat in Portland last week during a forum at Reed College on the future of education in Oregon. Three state lawmakers, a parent advocate, a teachers union leader and Crew fielded questions from a crowd of mostly parents and educators.
Crew disarmed the room in his usual easy way, with quips about getting fired and inspirational words about schools that provide hope and opportunity. People clapped when he characterized Oregon classrooms as overcrowded, underfunded and overtested.
But when Crew spoke of closing the achievement gap mostly by repurposing existing resources, the crowd’s enthusiasm dimmed. And when he said Oregon schools should do a better job with the money they have, the room started to grouse like the British Parliament.
The general sentiment went something like this: You want us to do more with less? You want to starve my school of resources, then extol the virtues of personal relationships between children and their teachers, coaches and counselors? Are you kidding me? 
Crew pushed back, arguing that positive change is possible even when money is tight. The crowd pushed further, fueled by Oregon’s below-average per-student spending on K-12 education.
“We can do this all night,” Crew said at one point. “I’m not afraid to have this conversation.”
Things never got hostile, and if they had, Crew would have been fine. (He’s the former head of schools in New York and Miami, so he can take a lot more heat than Portland can muster.) But the evening provided a preview of the tensions to come in the legislative session — between a state with big goals and local schools with overwhelming money problems.
Gov. John Kitzhaber hired Crew last year to oversee Oregon education from preschool to college. Crew’s job is to help more children show up ready for kindergarten, help more teenagers succeed in college and at work, and improve the system for low-income, minority and immigrant students. He’s especially passionate about the third goal, calling Oregon’s yawning achievement gap an “unforgivable tragedy.”
Crew and the Oregon Education Investment Board — Kitzhaber’s advisory group — are searching for ways to make progress within the state’s budget reality of rising costs and limited new revenue. They’re looking at achievement compacts, teacher evaluations, professional development, you name it. Many of their ideas are good, and Crew is exceptionally talented at laying out a vision, even when he skimps on details.
But the prospect of more cuts and bigger class sizes next fall creates tremendous anxiety and drains much of the collective tolerance for change, risk and reform. Many teachers aren’t thrilled about rigorous evaluations, for example, when they face the further deterioration of their working conditions. Many parents don’t want to hear about high-level restructuring when they’re just trying to get their kid a diploma before the lights shut off altogether.
Fortunately, state lawmakers of both parties agree that Oregon classrooms are getting shortchanged. Many say they want to improve on Kitzhaber’s recommended budget for K-12 schools, which school officials say is not enough to cover a full school year or compensate for the massive increases in next year’s pension bills.
“There is a budget being put together as we speak,” state Sen. Diane Rosenbaum, D-Portland, assured the audience Thursday night.
I’m hoping the Legislature can get creative and cobble together a no-cuts budget for schools early in the session. A huge reinvestment may be unrealistic this year, but holding steady — and avoiding months of local school-budget limbo — is both doable and essential. Otherwise, Crew will make little progress on his most ambitious goals for making schools more joyful and functional again.
And he’ll learn the first rule of education in Oregon: When money is always disappearing, always uncertain, it’s hard to get people to think about anything else.

Mohamud Trial Day 10: "I’m Having the Greatest Morning of My Life"

Woodburn Outlet Mall

On the morning of the planned bombing of thousands of Portlanders at Pioneer Courthouse Square, Mohamed Mohamud told one of his good friends that he was “having the greatest morning of my life.”
Raed Abdelli, one of Mohamud’s college buddies, recounted in court Friday seeing the accused bomber at the Woodburn Company Stores  Outlet Mall on Black Friday, while both were shopping with friends.

A few hours later Mohamud would be throwing a toggle switch to activate a bomb and punching in a code on a cellphone to detonate it.

Abdelli said he saw Mo Mo outside the JC Penney at the outlet mall in the wee hours of the morning of November 26th and shared some small talk before returning to their separate groups of friends. When he asked Mohamud how his morning was going he told him, “I’m having the greatest morning of my life.”

Did that mean he was having fun shopping with friends? His last hurrah before skating off to Yemen after the bombing? The jury is left to decide.

Another friend, Elyssa Redinger said Mo Mo was happy, singing along in the car to eat on their trip to Beaverton for Thanksgiving dinner. She testified he was happy at the outlet mall. He told them, “I love you guys.” Another friend testified Mo Mo actually shared his drink with them–something he hated to do. And they testified Mo Mo kept seeking reassurances that they would be returning to Corvallis without delay after they got up later Friday. Mohamud told them his “uncle” would be picking him up. The “uncle” was an FBI agent who would take him to Home Depot to buy a disguise and then take him back to their hotel to await the bombing.

But how close were these friends? U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight attempted to make that point by asking Luis Martinez, with whom Mo Mo planned to earn money fishing in Alaska, if he knew about Mohamud’s writing for Jihad Recollections, his plans to go to Yemen, his terrorist friends or ever met his fiance. He answered ‘no’ to all.

Mohamud has stayed quiet and attentive during the court proceedings but seeing his friends appeared to have a visceral effect. He started at one point during Martinez’s testimony and his attorney patted his left arm.

Terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann says hiding the plot from his friends was one of six factors that shows Mo Mo wasn’t just a benign talker about jihad–he was a doer.

Kohlmann continues on the stand today. More on this in tomorrow’s installment.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Seattle Police Gun Buy Back Turned Into Gun Show

Buyer
Sellers

The Seattle Police Department’s first gun ‘buy back’ program in 20 years was turned into a gun show as gun owners And it was perfectly legal for gun enthusiasts and worked the crowd waiting to turn in their old guns for a $100 gift card from Seattle Police. 

here’s how Q13 Fox summed up Sunday’s event,

[O]utside the border of the actual event existed a circus-like atmosphere — complete with a gun crazed gorilla wanting to buy ‘banana clips’, a particular style of magazine known for holding dozens of rounds.There were also gun enthusiasts hoping to make a great find and score a one-of-a-kind firearm for a cheap price.“You’ve got guns that are antiques. A lot of these guns are going to disappear,” said Clint, who drove from Graham to offer cash as an alternative to those looking to hand over their guns for gift cards.Another man, who wanted to be identified as David, was paying cash for guns just down the street from the event. He doesn’t agree with the philosophy behind the buyback initiative.“The guns they’re getting off the street are not on the street,” said David. “They’re people’s antique .22s or hunting rifles. Things that aren’t going to be used in crimes anyway.”


Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Oregon Lawmaker: Gun Owners are "Whackos" Thanks Buffalo Wild Wings for No Gun Policy

You’ve seen her holding forth with her acolytes here in which she calls gun owners people with “Rambo” complexes as she’s laughing about a man who accidentally shot himself. Now, she takes to Facebook to thank Buffalo Wild Wings for their no-gun policy, and in so doing, calls gun owners “whackos.” H/T Laughing at Liberals. 

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

money will solve everything

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/susan_nielsen/index.ssf/2013/01/susan_nielsen_for_rudy_crew_to.html#incart_river
Oh, the difference a few hundred million dollars would make.

If Oregon schools were expected to get a lot more money next year, Rudy Crew would receive standing ovations wherever he went. He would wax lyrical about equity and quality, and people would cheer his ideas.
But schools are likely to be poorer next year, not richer, based on early budget forecasts. This makes Crew’s job as chief education officer much harder: He tries to move the conversation beyond funding, but the conversation marches right back.
Crew took the hot seat in Portland last week during a forum at Reed College on the future of education in Oregon. Three state lawmakers, a parent advocate, a teachers union leader and Crew fielded questions from a crowd of mostly parents and educators.
Crew disarmed the room in his usual easy way, with quips about getting fired and inspirational words about schools that provide hope and opportunity. People clapped when he characterized Oregon classrooms as overcrowded, underfunded and overtested.
But when Crew spoke of closing the achievement gap mostly by repurposing existing resources, the crowd’s enthusiasm dimmed. And when he said Oregon schools should do a better job with the money they have, the room started to grouse like the British Parliament.
The general sentiment went something like this: You want us to do more with less? You want to starve my school of resources, then extol the virtues of personal relationships between children and their teachers, coaches and counselors? Are you kidding me? 
Crew pushed back, arguing that positive change is possible even when money is tight. The crowd pushed further, fueled by Oregon’s below-average per-student spending on K-12 education.
“We can do this all night,” Crew said at one point. “I’m not afraid to have this conversation.”
Things never got hostile, and if they had, Crew would have been fine. (He’s the former head of schools in New York and Miami, so he can take a lot more heat than Portland can muster.) But the evening provided a preview of the tensions to come in the legislative session — between a state with big goals and local schools with overwhelming money problems.
Gov. John Kitzhaber hired Crew last year to oversee Oregon education from preschool to college. Crew’s job is to help more children show up ready for kindergarten, help more teenagers succeed in college and at work, and improve the system for low-income, minority and immigrant students. He’s especially passionate about the third goal, calling Oregon’s yawning achievement gap an “unforgivable tragedy.”
Crew and the Oregon Education Investment Board — Kitzhaber’s advisory group — are searching for ways to make progress within the state’s budget reality of rising costs and limited new revenue. They’re looking at achievement compacts, teacher evaluations, professional development, you name it. Many of their ideas are good, and Crew is exceptionally talented at laying out a vision, even when he skimps on details.
But the prospect of more cuts and bigger class sizes next fall creates tremendous anxiety and drains much of the collective tolerance for change, risk and reform. Many teachers aren’t thrilled about rigorous evaluations, for example, when they face the further deterioration of their working conditions. Many parents don’t want to hear about high-level restructuring when they’re just trying to get their kid a diploma before the lights shut off altogether.
Fortunately, state lawmakers of both parties agree that Oregon classrooms are getting shortchanged. Many say they want to improve on Kitzhaber’s recommended budget for K-12 schools, which school officials say is not enough to cover a full school year or compensate for the massive increases in next year’s pension bills.
“There is a budget being put together as we speak,” state Sen. Diane Rosenbaum, D-Portland, assured the audience Thursday night.
I’m hoping the Legislature can get creative and cobble together a no-cuts budget for schools early in the session. A huge reinvestment may be unrealistic this year, but holding steady — and avoiding months of local school-budget limbo — is both doable and essential. Otherwise, Crew will make little progress on his most ambitious goals for making schools more joyful and functional again.
And he’ll learn the first rule of education in Oregon: When money is always disappearing, always uncertain, it’s hard to get people to think about anything else.

Mohamud Trial Day 10: "I’m Having the Greatest Morning of My Life"

Woodburn Outlet Mall

On the morning of the planned bombing of thousands of Portlanders at Pioneer Courthouse Square, Mohamed Mohamud told one of his good friends that he was “having the greatest morning of my life.”
Raed Abdelli, one of Mohamud’s college buddies, recounted in court Friday seeing the accused bomber at the Woodburn Company Stores  Outlet Mall on Black Friday, while both were shopping with friends.

A few hours later Mohamud would be throwing a toggle switch to activate a bomb and punching in a code on a cellphone to detonate it.

Abdelli said he saw Mo Mo outside the JC Penney at the outlet mall in the wee hours of the morning of November 26th and shared some small talk before returning to their separate groups of friends. When he asked Mohamud how his morning was going he told him, “I’m having the greatest morning of my life.”

Did that mean he was having fun shopping with friends? His last hurrah before skating off to Yemen after the bombing? The jury is left to decide.

Another friend, Elyssa Redinger said Mo Mo was happy, singing along in the car to eat on their trip to Beaverton for Thanksgiving dinner. She testified he was happy at the outlet mall. He told them, “I love you guys.” Another friend testified Mo Mo actually shared his drink with them–something he hated to do. And they testified Mo Mo kept seeking reassurances that they would be returning to Corvallis without delay after they got up later Friday. Mohamud told them his “uncle” would be picking him up. The “uncle” was an FBI agent who would take him to Home Depot to buy a disguise and then take him back to their hotel to await the bombing.

But how close were these friends? U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight attempted to make that point by asking Luis Martinez, with whom Mo Mo planned to earn money fishing in Alaska, if he knew about Mohamud’s writing for Jihad Recollections, his plans to go to Yemen, his terrorist friends or ever met his fiance. He answered ‘no’ to all.

Mohamud has stayed quiet and attentive during the court proceedings but seeing his friends appeared to have a visceral effect. He started at one point during Martinez’s testimony and his attorney patted his left arm.

Terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann says hiding the plot from his friends was one of six factors that shows Mo Mo wasn’t just a benign talker about jihad–he was a doer.

Kohlmann continues on the stand today. More on this in tomorrow’s installment.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Seattle Police Gun Buy Back Turned Into Gun Show

Buyer
Sellers

The Seattle Police Department’s first gun ‘buy back’ program in 20 years was turned into a gun show as gun owners And it was perfectly legal for gun enthusiasts and worked the crowd waiting to turn in their old guns for a $100 gift card from Seattle Police. 

here’s how Q13 Fox summed up Sunday’s event,

[O]utside the border of the actual event existed a circus-like atmosphere — complete with a gun crazed gorilla wanting to buy ‘banana clips’, a particular style of magazine known for holding dozens of rounds.There were also gun enthusiasts hoping to make a great find and score a one-of-a-kind firearm for a cheap price.“You’ve got guns that are antiques. A lot of these guns are going to disappear,” said Clint, who drove from Graham to offer cash as an alternative to those looking to hand over their guns for gift cards.Another man, who wanted to be identified as David, was paying cash for guns just down the street from the event. He doesn’t agree with the philosophy behind the buyback initiative.“The guns they’re getting off the street are not on the street,” said David. “They’re people’s antique .22s or hunting rifles. Things that aren’t going to be used in crimes anyway.”


Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Amro Alali,

Dwyer, who began work for the FBI in July 2002, also testified about 29 other emails that Mohamud exchanged with other figures, including a friend identified only as Dawlat.

Alali, who lived in Portland in 2008, is being held in his native Saudi Arabia suspected of his own involvement with al-Qaida.

But Barre followed up by forwarding to the FBI an email link he had received, DeLong said. It concerned a school in Yemen that his son hoped to attend. The correspondence contained the email address truthbespoken@gmail.com, which Mohamud had created in the United Kingdom, DeLong said.
The agent combed through the FBI’s storehouses of electronic data, finding that the address had been tied to the investigation of Samir Khan. He would learn that Mohamud had traded more than 100 emails with Khan beginning in February 2009 and that Mohamud had written articles for Khan under a pen name while a student at Beaverton’s Westview High School.
When DeLong took his findings to a supervisor, the FBI opened an investigation of Mohamud based out of its Portland office. But the case moved to the Eugene satellite office in October 2009 because by then Mohamud was studying at Oregon State University in Corvallis.
Mohamud’s defense team, mounting an entrapment defense, is not disputing the facts of the case.
“He deeply regrets his actions,” they wrote, “and is humiliated and ashamed for what he said and did.”
Mohamud may have “expressed unpopular political ideas and fundamentalist religious beliefs,” but “he was not ready and willing — had not even contemplated — using a weapon of mass destruction in the United States against his fellow citizens,” they wrote.special coverage
But in DeLong’s opinion, relayed in an email to his FBI colleagues, Mohamud’s radicalism had toned down. He was drinking to excess in college, smoking and perhaps selling small quantities of marijuana — way out of bounds for a serious Muslim.
DeLong’s supervisors decided against putting the squeeze on Mohamud. Instead, they wanted agents to assess the young man — then 18 — to find out if he was dangerous. In November 2009, an FBI informant posing as “Bill Smith,” a new Muslim convert living in eastern Idaho, reached out to Mohamud by email.
Amr Solaiman Ali Alali tried to help Mohamud join jihadists in Yemen, the FBI alleges. He went by Amro Alali when he studied biology at Portland State University in 2008. Today he is locked up overseas, presumably in his native country, where it appears he hasn’t been tried for any crime.
Alali’s relationship with Mohamud, which apparently began in Portland, marks a pivotal point in a narrative expected to spill out at Mohamud’s trial in January.

Little is recorded of Alali’s days in Oregon and beyond. What follows is what is known, based on public records, court papers filed by prosecutors and Mohamud’s defense team, interviews with school officials, and recent testimony in Portland’s U.S. District Court. 

Alali, born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, turned up at North Seattle Community College on Sept. 24, 2007, where he worked toward an associate’s degree until the fall quarter ended that December. He moved to Portland and enrolled at PSU for the winter 2008 quarter. The Saudi government paid his tuition. 
It’s unclear when, or where, Mohamud met Alali. But Mohamud’s lawyers suggest in court papers that their client fell under FBI surveillance as early as March 2008, as Alali’s first term ended. 
Alali replied on Dec. 12, 2009, passing Mohamud an email address and a password to make contact with a man identified as “Abdulhadi,” the government alleges. But when Mohamud emailed Abdulhadi, he botched the password. 
Mohamud, now 21, sat through a motion hearing last June as FBI Special Agent Miltiadis Trousas, who headed the undercover operation, testified about Mohamud’s  friend. 



Oregon Lawmaker: Gun Owners are "Whackos" Thanks Buffalo Wild Wings for No Gun Policy

You’ve seen her holding forth with her acolytes here in which she calls gun owners people with “Rambo” complexes as she’s laughing about a man who accidentally shot himself. Now, she takes to Facebook to thank Buffalo Wild Wings for their no-gun policy, and in so doing, calls gun owners “whackos.” H/T Laughing at Liberals. 

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Victor Sharpe: Sunday Times of London’s Libel Against Israel

This is the grotesque, evil and utterly repugnant cartoon, which was posted in The Sunday Times on Holocaust Memorial Day. Instead of condemning Nazi Germany and its European allies and honoring the Jewish victims, the newspaper ran a grotesque libel against the embattled State of Israel.
The horrific terrorism perpetrated against Israeli civilians by the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians is, and has been, effectively resisted by Israel’s use of a separation barrier that has saved thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish lives from Muslim suicide bombers.
This vile cartoon is a moral inversion of the truth and should shame Britain’s Sunday Times, which has sunk to a new level of degradation.
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com