ONTD Political

"We still have to teach what the science is."

Students in Alabama will be required to learn about climate change and evolution for the first time next year, after officials announced an overhaul of the state's science education standards.

Until now, teachers in the state weren't required to teach climate change, evolution and other locally controversial topics. Textbooks used in Alabama science classes have for years carried disclaimer stickers stating that evolution is a "controversial theory," not fact. The new course of study, announced on Thursday, doesn't eliminate those warnings, which were originally advocated by Christian conservatives.

But the updated standards do directly support the teaching of evolution, along with the scientific consensus that climate change is happening and humans are the likely cause. Students will now be required to use scientific evidence to "support the hypotheses of common ancestry and biological evolution," according to the standards, and to analyze humanity's impact on the planet and the resulting climate change.

The changes were drafted by a 40-member committee over the course of three years -- including some people with "very strong religious beliefs," Michal Robinson, a science specialist for the state education agency, told The Associated Press.

The new curriculum will help improve scientific literacy in the state, where only 21 percent of 10th-graders meet or exceed national science testing standards. Alabama ranked 37th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in average ACT science scores last year.

The changes were unanimously approved by the Republican-controlled Alabama State Board of Education. This is the first update to the state's science standards since 2005.

The standards will officially go into effect during the summer of 2016. But Steve Ricks, director of the Alabama Department of Education's math and science initiative, told The Huffington Post that the state is being "extremely proactive" and rolling out the guidelines immediately.

The new science will also be accompanied by updated teaching methods that give students a hands-on education extending beyond the textbook. Science classes will soon see a dramatic shift from traditional "knowledge regurgitation," Ricks said, to "higher-order thinking standards."

"The new course of study makes a major shift in the way teachers need to teach," Ricks said. "No longer can a teacher take a textbook and have students just read it and answer questions. It'll require [students] to be doing science, investigating, to be actively engaged."

"We still have to teach what the science is," Robinson told the AP. "If students want to go into a science field in college or beyond, they have to have a foundation."

Ricks said that while the plans might not roll out perfectly, students will be getting a far better education next year. The state has already launched a program to train teachers in the new material, and he said there's already "a lot of enthusiasm."

As for those stickers? A committee that will review science texts for compliance with the new standards could consider whether to remove or alter them, officials said. A public hearing is set for Nov. 9 in Montgomery.

Nick Visser, Reporter, The Huffington Post. Posted: 09/14/2015 05:45 PM EDT. Edited: 09/15/2015 11:41 AM EDT.

Just saying...not all communities in Missouri are narrow-minded or mean-spirited.

Missouri Teen Named First-Ever Transgender Homecoming Queen at Her High School: 'I Feel Like That Princess'

By Char Adams
@CiCiAdams_ 09/14/2015 AT 05:10 PM EDT

A Missouri teen made history this weekend as a Kansas City high school's first-ever transgender homecoming queen.

"To have my students and friends vote for me just really makes me feel welcomed and loved for who I am," Landon Patterson, a senior at Oak Park High School, told Fox 4KC

Patterson, who transitioned into a woman this year, told the station that although she was born a boy, she has identified as a girl for as long as she could remember. She said she has dreamed of walking in the homecoming court since her freshman year.

On Saturday, her dream came true.

During the Oak ParkCollapse )

More photos and a video at the SourceCollapse ) . Several local news stations covered this, but most have video that auto-starts.
Prime Minister-designate Malcolm Turnbull says he will lead a "thoroughly Liberal government" and paid tribute to his predecessor, Tony Abbott, after winning a late-night ballot for the Liberal Party leadership.

The former communications minister defeated Mr Abbott 54 votes to 44 in a party room ballot which also saw Julie Bishop re-elected as deputy leader ahead of Kevin Andrews 70 votes to 30.

The new leadership team fronted the media just after 10:40pm (AEST) where Mr Turnbull said he was humbled by the honour bestowed on him.

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Who knew that packing and carrying a few boxes and furniture could help change a life — or save one?

One moving company is finding itself in the national spotlight this week for its efforts to help California domestic violence victims move out of their abusive homes and settle into new, safe environments — for free. Now Meathead Movers is using its newfound spotlight to challenge other moving companies to follow its example.
“We have decided to start a campaign to challenge other businesses to do what they can to step up to help people in domestic violence situations,” Meathead corporate controller Erin Steed tells Yahoo Makers.
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"I do think race played a part in this."

NEW YORK -- Kamilah Brock says the New York City police sent her to a mental hospital for a hellish eight days, where she was forcefully injected with powerful drugs, essentially because they couldn't believe a black woman owned a BMW.

In her first on-camera interview about her ordeal, which aired Thursday, the 32-year-old told PIX11 that it was all a "nightmare."

It's a nightmare, Brock's lawyer told The Huffington Post, that never would have happened if she weren't African-American.

Brock sued the city earlier this year in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She contends that her constitutional rights under the Fourth and 14th Amendments were violated and that she suffered "unwanted and unwarranted intrusion of her personal integrity, loss of liberty [and] mental anguish."

The suit details how Brock pulled up to a traffic light in Harlem on Sept. 12, 2014, the music on her car stereo playing loudly. An NYPD officer approached her and asked why she was driving without her hands on the steering wheel, according to the suit.

"I said I was dancing, I am at a light," Brock told PIX11. "He asked me to get out of the car."

For unclear reason, Brock contends, she was taken into custody and transported to the NYPD's 30th Precinct, where she was held for a few hours before being released without being charged with any crime. She said she was told to come back the next day to pick up her car, a 2003 BMW 325Ci.

When she showed up at a police substation to get the car the next day, Brock said, "I just felt like from the moment I said I owned a BMW, I was looked at as a liar. They put me in handcuffs and said they just need to put me in handcuffs to take me to my car. And I said OK, whatever it's gonna take to get to my car."

"Then EMS approached me," she continued. "And they said we're gonna take you to your car. And I'm like, in an ambulance? I'm going to my car in an ambulance? I'm going to my car in an ambulance? I was just so confused."

Brock was taken instead to Harlem Hospital, where medical records obtained by her attorney, Michael Lamonsoff, show she was injected with powerful sedatives and forced to take doses of lithium.Collapse )

Christopher Mathias, National Reporter, The Huffington Post. Posted: 09/11/2015 04:02 PM EDT. Edited: 09/11/2015 05:57 PM EDT.

Source has video.


And on a related, and deeply sobering note:

The former vice president waved off numbers that showed Iran’s nuclear capacity grew rapidly under the Bush administration

Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday shrugged off the rapid growth of Iran's nuclear capacity during the Bush years, insisting that the American invasion of Iraq had curbed Iranian nuclear ambitions.

"There was military action that had an impact on the Iranians when we took down Saddam Hussein," Cheney said on "Fox News Sunday". "There was a period of time when they stopped their program because they were afraid what we did to Saddam we were going to do to them next."

The invasion of Iraq in fact deeply strengthened Iran's hand in the region, ousting a traditional enemy of Iran and installing a new government far more sympathetic to the Iranian regime. Much of Iraq has effectively functioned as a client state of Iran for years.

Fox News host Chris Wallace pointed out to Cheney that Iran had no uranium enrichment centrifuges prior to the Iraq War, but had 5,000 of them by the time Bush and Cheney left office.

Cheney waved off the statistic. "I think we did a lot to deal with the arms control problem in the Middle East," he said.

Cheney also claimed that the Iraq invasion forced Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi to dispose of his own weapons of mass destruction -- a claim that was debunked several years ago.

In 2006, Time magazine reported that Hussein's ouster nearly derailed lengthy nuclear negotiations with Gaddafi. American and British leaders had been pressing since the Clinton years to cut a deal with Gaddafi that would require him to dispose of weapons of mass destruction. When Hussein was toppled, Time reported, Gaddafi nearly walked away from the talks, concerned that diplomacy with the United States would make him look weak in the face of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke about the shortcomings of the invasion of Iraq on “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

"The fact of the matter is, we did it right in the first Gulf War. We had to listen to arguments for years afterwards about, 'Why didn't you go to Baghdad?' And the 2003 war came along and you saw why you didn't want to go to Baghdad," Powell said. "We had a clear mission, clearly defined and put resources against that mission and took out the Iraqi army in Kuwait, restored the government, what we set out to do."

"Once you pull out the top of a government, unless there's a structure under it to give security and structure to the society, you can expect a mess," he added.

Cheney's comments on Iraq came amid his criticism of President Barack Obama's recent diplomatic deal that aims to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Cheney said the U.S. is a "loser" in the pact, while the Iranian regime is "the only winner."

Supporters of the pact have noted that economic sanctions against Iran have not curbed its nuclear capacities, and that other nations will not be willing to enforce economic levies against Iran if the U.S. abandons the deal. They argue that rejecting Obama's agreement would leave war as the only remaining tool to deal with a potential nuclear threat.

By Zach Carter. Senior Political Economy Reporter, The Huffington Post. Posted: 09/06/2015 11:04 AM EDT.

This comes under the heading of "it's about time."

The Justice Department announced a policy Thursday that will require its law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant to deploy cellphone-tracking devices in criminal investigations and inform judges when they plan to use them.

The new policy, announced by Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates, should increase transparency around the use of the controversial technology by the FBI and other Justice Department agencies. It imposes the highest legal standard for the device’s use and a uniform standard across the department.

The policy change is an acknowledgment by the Justice ­Department that the use of the devices — sometimes called StingRays, the name of one popular model — raises serious privacy concerns.

There are illustrations and a great deal more said at the source link below.

Source is Washington Post
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