Monday, October 29, 2018

The Tax Man Cometh


  • The SPARTA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization and contributions can be used as deductions for federal income tax purposes.
  • SPARTA itself is a 501(c)(4) organization and contributions are NOT tax deductable for federal income tax purposes.   This includes book donations for the book sale.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. -George Santayana

Julius Streicher:

  • early member of the NSDAP
  • publisher of the Der Sturmer, a virulently anti-Semitic newspaper from 1924-1946; the unofficial mouthpiece of the Nazi party.
  • Gauleiter of Nuremberg from 1933-1940; responsible for the destruction of the Great Synagogue of Nuremberg.
  • Charged with crimes against peace and crimes against humanity during the Nuremberg trials.
  • Cleared of the charge of crimes against peace.
  • Judged guilty of crimes against humanity.
  •  In essence, prosecutors contended that Streicher's articles and speeches were so incendiary that he was an accessory to murder, and therefore as culpable as those who actually ordered the mass extermination of Jews. They further argued that he kept up his anti-Semitic propaganda even after he was aware that Jews were being slaughtered.
  • Hung on October 16, 1946.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Great Videos on Dementia!

For anyone dealing with a family member or friend with Alzheimer's or both dementia, here's a great resource.  Teepa Snow is an expert in this field.  You might want to link to these two snippets of her presentations:

Common Issues with Dementia

What is Dementia?

If you thought these were good, search youtube for her other presentations.  

Volunteers Needed for Meals on Wheels

From our President:

Hi, Santha-
Today at our HPPP meeting Tasha Beestman, new Meals on Wheels Exec. Director, approached me about asking our membership for some volunteer help. Meals on Wheels is experiencing difficulties finding enough volunteer drivers.  A number of people have quit recently and they’re very short-handed.  If people even wanted to drive one day a week or be sub drivers, they would appreciate the help.  
Would it be possible to ask SPARTA members?  

Contact information:
Tasha Beestman
Meals on Wheels

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Governor's Race

These questions were put to Scott Walker and Tony Evers by John Forester and the Wisconsin SAA.  Tony Evers answers are below.  The WSAA had no response from Scott Walker1. 

What is your motivation to be Wisconsin’s governor?

I’m running for governor because I believe what is best for our kids is best for our state.

I love Wisconsin, and I’ve had the privilege of living and working in communities all around the
state. Yet, I’ve had more than a few moments over the last eight years where I’ve struggled to
recognize the Wisconsin I love. We’ve watched citizens in over half our school districts vote to
raise their own taxes because the state has failed to meet its commitment to funding our public
schools. We’ve seen historic disinvestment in our public universities. We’ve seen our Governor
turn down resources that would provide health care to thousands of Wisconsin families who
don’t have it, and play games with coverage for pre-existing conditions. We’ve seen foreign
corporations get billions in taxpayer-funded handouts and special breaks from environmental
protections, while our roads deteriorate, our drinking water and air get polluted, and our once
nationally renowned education system falls behind .

Enough is enough. As Governor, I know there is so much more I can do to help build a stronger
and brighter future for Wisconsin. I’ll use all of my skills and experience to end the divisiveness
that has consumed our state and to reinvest in Wisconsin’s future - to improve education,
healthcare, infrastructure, our environment and our economy. I’ll focus on solving problems, not
picking political fights. Wisconsinites know that we are stronger when we look out for each
other, and when we look out for the next generation. Our kids deserve the best from us.

2. What is your vision for K-12 public education in Wisconsin?

My vision for public education is one where every child in Wisconsin - no matter what their zip
code - has access to a world class public education and the opportunity to succeed. Education
is the great equalizer and a key pathway to restoring economic prosperity. Public education
should inspire every child with a passion for lifelong learning and prepare them for success in
college, careers and life.

To make that vision a reality, as Governor I will work to finally achieve school finance reform and
restore the state’s commitment to two-thirds funding, without raising property taxes. I will make
historic investments in special education and dramatically expand state funding for student
mental health, sparsity aid and support for English learners, so that every child who needs an
extra lift gets one. I will fund full day 4K, provide Wisconsin’s first state funding for after school
programs and create new supports for students in the state’s largest urban districts. To pay for it
all, my proposed 2019-21 biennial budget would invest an additional $1.4 billion in school aids,
the largest investment in public schools in a generation.

Governing is about priorities. Wisconsin’s kids and families deserve a Governor who will
prioritize public education and support the transformational work happening in schools across
our state every year, not just election years.

3. As governor, what policies or strategies would you advance to improve
academic achievement for all students and close achievement gaps in

One of Wisconsin’s greatest strengths is the growing diversity of our communities, which makes
our workforce and our businesses more innovative and competitive. However, Wisconsin also
has one of the largest achievement gaps in the country. To meet this challenge, we need an
education system and economy that work for everyone.

My 2019-21 biennial budget proposal would give educators the resources they need to close
gaps and help every Wisconsin child reach their full potential. While we are making broad
investments to support children in every corner of the state, we’re also proposing to target
investments to our five largest school districts, which educate roughly 20 percent of all
Wisconsin students and represent disproportionate shares of student groups experiencing our
largest gaps. Under my budget, these districts would get additional resources and support,
including opportunities for additional learning time over the summer, incentives for National
Board Certified Teachers to work in high poverty schools and 3K start up/expansion grants to
provide more access to early childhood education. I’m also proposing to fund a two-year project
in each district to work with adjacent sectors (health care, child care, higher education, housing,
etc.) to address out-of-school factors that impact learning.

To close gaps, I also believe it’s critical to diversify our education workforce, so that our students
can see themselves represented in their educators. We’ll continue to work to aggressively
recruit teachers of color and invest in “grow your own” programs in districts around the state.

As State Superintendent, I’ve led my agency with the vision to make every child a graduate and
address the racial disparities and inequities in our schools, but Wisconsin needs all its leaders
committed to this work. Broadly, across all sectors, we need to make investments in local
neighborhoods and ensure government decision-makers, corporate leaders and educators
reflect the growing diversity of our state. We need to work together to address out-of-school
factors that contribute to our achievement gap, including housing, healthcare, childcare and and
trauma. Advancing racial equity and increasing opportunities for children, families and
communities of color across the state is imperative to Wisconsin’s healthy and sustainable
future, and together, we can move Wisconsin forward.

4. Numerous studies have shown that improving early learning opportunities can
help reduce achievement gaps for children. In Wisconsin, the good news is
families now have access to quality 4K programming in over 98 percent of our
school districts. We simply need greater access to high quality birth-to-three
programming for those children who have a high probability of not being ready
for school. As governor, what policies or strategies would you advance to
improve early learning opportunities in Wisconsin?

As governor, I will make early childhood education top priority.

For school-based early childhood opportunities, my 2019-21 budget would fund full day 4K for
all districts, and would provide funding to start or expand 3K programs in Wisconsin’s five
largest school districts.

Before a child ever enters school, however, it’s imperative that we improve access to high
quality, affordable childcare. It’s simply unacceptable that Wisconsin’s poorest and most
impoverished zip code does not have one high quality early childhood facility. We’ll work to
strengthen the state’s YoungStar quality rating and improvement system, so that more early
childhood programs continue to improve in quality, and we’ll retool Wisconsin Shares child care
subsidy program so that more families can afford the high quality care that every child deserves.
Finally, I will work with the Legislature to expand child care tax credits to make care more

5. In Wisconsin, too many children have unmet mental health needs which, in
turn, result in negative consequences for those children, their families, our
schools and our communities. While school leaders greatly appreciate the
school mental health investments made in the 2017-19 State Budget, most believe
a stronger, long-term commitment from the state is required to meet this
challenge. As governor, what next steps would you take to address this

With one in five students facing mental health issues, educators and schools are the frontline in
meeting this challenge. Our success in the 2017-19 biennial budget was a great start, but it also
underscored the depth of need in school districts around the state. State support remains far
short of the overwhelming demand for programs to assist students with mental health needs.

In response, my budget proposes nearly $64 million in school mental health funding, including:

● Fully funding mental health grants (funding covered only one-third of applicants this

● Increasing staff to address mental health, including school psychologists, nurses,
counselors, and social workers.

● Expanding statewide mental health training and youth suicide prevention to boost efforts
around trauma, AODA, and mental health first aid.

With over 80 percent of mental health incidents currently going untreated, an Evers
Administration will be committed to getting all Wisconsin kids the support and early intervention
they need.

6. The recruitment, preparation, development and retention of effective educators
is vitally important for our children’s future. As governor, what policies would
you advance to address this important issue?

Over this decade we’ve seen a 35 percent drop in the number of students pursuing an
education degree, a trend that will have devastating consequences for public education. This is
one of the most critical public policy issues facing our state.

As State Superintendent, I’ve worked alongside SAA to develop solutions and break down
barriers to school staffing issues, and we’ll continue to build on the work we’ve done together to
recruit and retain great teachers, particularly in hard-to-staff subjects and regions of the state.
However, we know that one of the biggest challenges we face is one of perception. Recent
polling suggests what we’ve heard anecdotally in Wisconsin for several years now: most
American parents don’t want their kids to pursue teaching as a career.

As a Governor who truly values education and as an educator, I’ll work to restore respect for our
profession. My budget will provide educators the resources they need to do their jobs, and the
resources school leaders need to provide competitive compensation to every teacher - year
after year. We’ll make college more affordable, and help graduates refinance student loans, so
that student debt doesn’t keep aspiring teachers away from the profession. We’ll continue to
partner together to expand “grow our own” programs to create new teachers and leaders in our
communities, and build on policies that work to recruit and retain top talent. Wisconsin’s schools
cannot be strong without strong educators, and together, we’ll tackle this head on.

7. Do you support the expansion of taxpayer-funded private school vouchers in
Wisconsin? Why or why not? What is your position on requiring greater
accountability for schools participating in the voucher programs?

Wisconsin’s public schools provide access and opportunity to over 860,000 kids. They have to
be our priority. When we aren’t adequately funding our public schools, how can we possibly
afford a parallel publicly-funded private school system? Moreover, study after study show the
same results: privatization does not magically solve problems.

I’ve spent the last 20 years fighting back against vouchers and privatizers. On my watch, we’ve
removed more than 30 schools from the voucher program and prevented dozens from joining.
We defeated dangerous “reform’ proposals that would convert struggling schools into voucher
or charter schools. We’ve successfully lobbied to ensure voucher schools receive report cards
just like public schools. Finally, we’ve fought back against unfair funding schemes that subsidize
wealthy families whose kids already attend private school.

I strongly support voucher transparency across the board, which includes publishing the impact
of vouchers on property tax bills and our recent work to publish report cards on voucher schools
(just like public schools). As Governor, I would work with the legislature to phase out vouchers; if
Republican control of the Legislature makes that impossible, then I would ensure the state
adequately funds public schools and require voucher schools to use licensed teachers, adopt
student safeguards like IDEA and non-discrimination protection, and implement needed
transparency measures.

8. One of the greatest problems in Wisconsin’s school finance system is the
systemic gap between allowable revenue growth and school district cost
increases and the investments necessary to meet student needs. As governor,
would you support annual inflationary increases in school revenues?

Yes. As part of my Fair Funding school finance reform proposal, we’ll restore annual inflationary
increases in revenue limits and restore the state’s commitment to funding two-thirds of school
costs. School districts need more predictability in their budgeting in order to meet the needs of
all of our kids, and I’m committed to providing it.

9. In Vincent v. Voight (2000), the State Supreme Court found the Wisconsin school
finance system constitutional, so long as the legislature provided sufficient
resources to ensure that all students are offered an equal opportunity for a
sound, basic education. The court specifically enumerated three classes of
students to which the state has a special obligation for ensuring equitable
opportunities: economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities,
and English language learners. Since 2000, the rising costs to meet the growing
needs of students in these enumerated classes have far outstripped the limited
school funding directed to each of these student classes; thereby challenging the
abilities of local school districts to meet the Court’s standard. As governor, how
would you address this problem?

My 2019-21 biennial budget proposal would provide the largest increase in school funding in a
generation, focused in large part on serving these special populations of students. I’d shatter the
decade-long freeze on special education funding with a historic $600 million investment in our
state’s primary special education categorical aid, raising the reimbursement rate from 25 to 60
percent. I’d provide significant new funding for the state’s bilingual-bicultural categorical aid
program, and establish a new stream of funding to support all English learners.

Approximately 4 in 10 children in Wisconsin are economically disadvantaged and our large
investment in school aids will help children in poverty all over the state. Furthermore, my budget
proposes several new programs, including early childhood investments, afterschool funding and
support for students in our large urban districts all of which provide support to economically
disadvantaged students. In a systemic change that supports economically-disadvantaged
students, our Fair Funding school finance reform plan will account for family income as a factor
in our state’s school funding formula for the first time.

With these investments, and a continued commitment to a strong and vibrant K-12 system in the
future, we will be making good on our constitutional responsibility to provide an equal
opportunity for a sound, basic education to every child.

10. Geographically large, sparsely populated rural school districts are hit especially
hard by the state’s inadequate support for school transportation costs. Even
with the increases to the high cost transportation aid program in the 2017-19
State Budget, state reimbursement to local school districts is still only about
10.4% of actual school transportation costs. As governor, how would you
address this problem?

As Governor, I’d continue to invest in both pupil transportation aid and the high cost
transportation aid program, while providing substantial new revenues to our schools for general
use. My 2019-21 biennial budget proposal would increase the reimbursement rate for students
who are transported 12 or more miles, and would fully fund high cost transportation aid,
measures which are specifically targeted to providing additional aid to geographically large,
sparsely populated districts.

Moreover, as Governor, one of my first priorities will be to solve our state’s transportation crisis.
Wisconsin’s road quality is now among the worst in the country. Towns and villages are
returning to gravel, and municipalities are passing new vehicle fees and taxes to fund road
maintenance that should be covered by the state. A 2018 report from the American Society of
Civil Engineers found that 27 percent of Wisconsin’s public roads are in poor condition, resulting
in average costs per Wisconsin driver of $637 per year. Deteriorating roads impact school
buses, increasing the cost of maintenance and increasing the burden on our schools’ bottom
line. As Governor, I’ll work with Democrats and Republicans alike to find a long-term solution to
our state’s ongoing transportation standoff.

11. Small, rural schools continue to face many challenges that limit educational
opportunities for the children they serve. These include: declining enrollment, a
lack of economies of scale, difficulties in recruiting/retaining qualified staff
contributing to reduced programming options, and distance from
post-secondary education institutions. As governor, what policies/initiatives
would you advance to reduce the disparities in educational opportunities for
children in rural Wisconsin?

When I’m out talking to young people and ask why they choose to stay here, they almost always
point to our natural resources and our quality of life - things rural Wisconsin has in spades.
While we need to invest in new opportunities, we must also maintain the high quality of life
Wisconsin is known for, which keeps people here and draws businesses to the state. This
includes a strong public education system from early childhood through higher education that
produces an educated workforce, high quality roads and infrastructure, clean air and water as
well as abundant recreational opportunities.

As I noted earlier, I’m committed to fully funding our public schools, and I can do it on day one
with my Fair Funding plan. It’s been endorsed by educators and school boards across
Wisconsin and it ensures that every kid who needs an extra lift, gets an extra lift. It also changes
how we distribute our education dollars so that every district is guaranteed a minimum amount
of aid per student and income, not just property value, is taken into account. These changes will
greatly benefit rural school districts in Wisconsin. Even the current hostile Legislature has
adopted some of my recommendations, like expanding sparsity aid for rural districts and upping
the reimbursement for transportation - things that I’d continue to build on in my 2019-21 budget.

I previously mentioned my commitment to improving our roads, but strong infrastructure also
means strong internet. Reliable high speed internet is the interstate of the 21st century, and
should be available in every single home and business in Wisconsin. Yet, a recent study shows
Wisconsin ranks nearly dead last in average download speeds. As Governor, I’d add statewide
broadband to our infrastructure plans, an investment that would bring new industries to
Wisconsin, reduce costs for businesses already here and create new job opportunities for
people of all ages. Reliable and high speed internet would also give rural residents new
opportunities to access digital coursework to grow their knowledge and skills, including more
options for rural students to access challenging courses that local economies of scale might not
support on their own.

I’ve lived and worked in rural communities across central Wisconsin, and, as Governor, I’m
committed to helping our rural schools and our rural communities thrive.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

September 18 General Meeting

Stevens Point Area
 Retired Teachers’ Association
Mon. Sept 10, 2018 Meeting
Location: Park Ridge Restaurant
                                           3425 Church St, Stevens Point

NO Reservations required.

Socialization at 11:15; order your lunch off the menu at 11:30. Meeting will begin as soon as allorders are taken and continuing through lunch.

PROGRAMK9 Program in Portage County
 by Officer Daniel Wachowiak

We have lots to do at this meeting!
 Remember to bring:
a copy of the attached pdf file;
 your record of volunteer hours;
 your membership form; and 
your calendar (to sign up to work
 at the October book sale!)
See you on the tenth! Bring a friend!

If you cannot attend Monday’s meeting, please print the membership form from the attached file and mail it to Jan now.Thanks.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Port Washington Trip

Once again, Eileen has pulled off a successful field trip for us.  We visited Cedarburg for touristing and shopping, then enjoyed a wonderful dinner and show at "Memories" in Port Washington.  Hats off to Eileen for all the work she puts into organizing these trips (and all the joy she takes in trying to make 50 people happy).  Thank you!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

No, Private Schools Aren’t Better at Educating Kids Than Public Schools. Why This New Study Matters

From our resident guru on the political scene:

Despite evidence showing otherwise, it remains conventional wisdom in many parts of the education world that private schools do a better job of educating students, with superior standardized test scores and outcomes. It is one of the claims that some supporters of school choice make in arguing that the public should pay for private school education.

The only problem? It isn’t true, a new study confirms.

University of Virginia researchers who looked at data from more than 1,000 students found that all of the advantages supposedly conferred by private education evaporate when socio-demographic characteristics are factored in. There was also no evidence found to suggest that low-income children or children enrolled in urban schools benefit more from private school enrollment.

The results confirm what earlier research found but are especially important amid a movement to privatize public education — encouraged by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — based in part on the faulty assumption that public schools are inferior to private ones.

DeVos has called traditional public schools a “dead end” and long supported the expansion of voucher and similar programs that use public money for private and religious school education. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 27 states and the District of Columbia have policies allowing public money to be used for private education through school vouchers, scholarship tax credits and education savings grants.

The new study was conducted by Robert C. Pianta, dean of U-Va.’s Curry School of Education and a professor of education and psychology, and Arya Ansari, a postdoctoral research associate at U-Va.’s Center for Advanced Study for Teaching and Learning.

“You only need to control for family income and there’s no advantage,” Pianta said in an interview. “So when you first look, without controlling for anything, the kids who go to private schools are far and away outperforming the public school kids. And as soon as you control for family income and parents’ education level, that difference is eliminated completely.”

Kids who come from homes with higher incomes and parental education achievement offer young children — from birth through age 5 — educational resources and stimulation that other children don’t get. These conditions presumably carry on through the school years, Pianta said.

Pianta and Ansari used a longitudinal study of a large and diverse sample of children to examine the extent to which attending private schools predicts achievement and social and personal outcomes at age 15.

They started with data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. That was a 10-site research project that followed children from birth to 15 years with a common study protocol, including an annual interview and observations at home and school and in the neighborhood. In that years-long study, there were 1,364 families that became study participants, with ethnicity and household income largely representative of the U.S. population, though Pianta and Ansari looked at 1,097 of those children for their analysis.

The Pianta-Ansari study examined not only academic achievement, “which has been the sole focus of all evaluations of private schooling reported to date, but also students’ social adjustment, attitudes and motivation, and even risky behavior, all of which one assumes might be associated with private school education, given studies demonstrating schooling effects on such factors.” It said:
“In short, despite the frequent and pronounced arguments in favor of the use of vouchers or other mechanisms to support enrollment in private schools as a solution for vulnerable children and families attending local or neighborhood schools, the present study found no evidence that private schools, net of family background (particularly income), are more effective for promoting student success.”
And it says this:
“In sum, we find no evidence for policies that would support widespread enrollment in private schools, as a group, as a solution for achievement gaps associated with income or race. In most discussions of such gaps and educational opportunities, it is assumed that poor children attend poor quality schools, and that their families, given resources and flexibility, could choose among the existing supply of private schools to select and then enroll their children in a school that is more effective and a better match for their student’s needs. It is not at all clear that this logic holds in the real world of a limited supply of effective schools (both private and public) and the indication that once one accounts for family background, the existing supply of heterogeneous private schools (from which parents select) does not result in a superior education (even for higher income students).”
Pianta and Ansari note in the study that previous research on the impact of school voucher programs “cast doubt on any clear conclusion that private schools are superior in producing student performance.”

A 2013 book, “The Public School Advantage,” by Christopher A. Lubienski and Sarah Theule Lubienski, describes the results of a look at two huge data sets of student mathematics performance, that found public school students outperform private school ones when adjusted for demographics. Pianta and Ansari refer to this book in this part of the report:
“Although recent studies separating enrollment from length of attendance suggest that the longer lower income students remain enrolled in a private school (at least up to 4 years) the higher the likelihood of accruing substantial benefits, the present report finds that length of enrollment was not associated with student outcomes, once family income was taken into consideration, consistent with other nonexperimental work (Lubienski & Lubienski, 2013). For the one-third of the sample enrolled at any time in private school, on average these students attended private schools for 5 to 6 years, which is longer than the most recent follow-up evaluations of voucher programs (Berends & Waddington, in press; Mills & Wolf, 2017). Thus, even for students who remained in private school for almost half of their K-12 experience, there was no discernible association with any of the wide range of outcomes we assessed at age 15.”

New Grant Application

Hot off the presses from J. Swiston and her crack team of grant experts, a new application is available.  Check out the pages on the sidebar to download a copy.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Be Prepared

I lifted this post from Pharyngula.  Although  it refers to the need to prepare for a National Strike on June 30, (What! You missed it?)  I thought it contained some valuable tips on preparing for any sort of disaster.  As we've seen after Katrina and lately in Puerto Rico, you should plan as if no one's going to be there to help you.  I hope the most extreme circumstances we experience is a week with the air conditioner on or a weekend snowbound, but planning for the worst and hoping for the best seems good advice.  Click on the title to read the whole article.

A #NationalStrike? Think about it.

From Libbie Grant on Facebook, here’s something we can prepare for.

...Here’s what you need to start doing right now in order to make this strike effective and ensure you can continue to participate without putting yourself or your loved ones at risk of too much discomfort.

-Stock up on non-perishable food, enough to last up to a month. Canned stuff. Can your own goods now if you know how to do it and have the equipment. Go for foods that are calorie-dense and/or filling. Dried beans are cheap and will keep you going indefinitely. Buy a ton of them and store them in solid, critter-proof containers.

-Make sure you have a good can opener and a spare.

-Stock up on medications and other care supplies for a month or more.

-Stock up on all the pet supplies you will need for a month or more.

-Assume that this ... government will attempt to fight back by shutting down utilities in some cities. That may include your city. 

So that means you must:

1) Get those big 5-gallon water jugs, lots of them, and fill them up now, and put secure coverings over the openings so bugs can’t get in. Store them in a safe place. 

2) Have camping supplies? Great! Stock up on white gas or other fuel sources to run camping cook stoves. If you don’t have a camping stove already, get one now. They aren’t terribly expensive and you can find used ones on Craigslist. You should have one anyway in an emergency kit (as those of us who live in earthquake country know!) 

3) Be sure you have working flashlights and plenty of batteries. 

4) Get a solar charger for your personal electronic devices. 

5) Pull out some cash and keep it in a safe place in case you need to buy anything in a real emergency situation. Or put aside valuable items you think you can trade to your neighbors. 

6) Consider what your town is like during the summer and think ahead to your comfort needs. Plan how to meet those needs without electricity or money. Maybe that means identifying the coolest location in your neighborhood and making a plan to spend the hottest hours of the day there. Start thinking about this stuff now. 

7) Check in with your elderly and disabled neighbors to be sure they are similarly prepared for utility shutdowns and have supplies laid away and a way to contact help if they need it. 

8) Make a plan for waste disposal if those utilities are shut down, too.

Be prepared. A national strike is almost certainly coming at this point. With luck, it won’t be a long-term situation and it’ll be over in a matter of a handful of days. But be sure you’re ready in case it’s not over so quickly.

I would support this. The only question is what fraction of the population would actually join in…because face it, there are a heck of a lot of people who think fascism is just fine.

Another thing that could be done: Marches are planned all across the country for 30 June. I’ll be there!

Pharnygula 6/20/2018

Goodwin's Law Officially Revoked: By Goodwin

I know, it's been awhile.  The last SPARTA meeting is like the last day of school; you need to run away for little bit.

If you read political blogs, you're familiar with Goodwin's Law.  In it's simplest form, it states that you can't throw the word "Nazi" around during an argument.  Well, it seems Goodwin has revised that a bit.

American attorney and author Mike Godwin created an online meme-related rhetorical law, appropriately titled “Godwin’s Law.”

 Godwin's law (or Godwin's rule of Hitler analogies)[1][2] is an internet adage asserting that "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1";[2][3] that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Adolf Hitler or his deeds. Promulgated by the American attorney and author Mike Godwin in 1990,[2] Godwin's law originally referred specifically to Usenet newsgroup discussions.[4] It is now applied to any threaded online discussion, such as Internet forums, chat rooms, and comment threads, as well as to speeches, articles, and other rhetoric[5][6] where reductio ad Hitlerum occurs.

 As Godwin explained in an interview with Dan Amira of New York Magazine back in 2013, “It’s the worst thing anybody can think of, so if you have some kind of rhetorical escalation with someone you disagree with, it’s sort of easy to go there if you’re not very reflective about what you’re saying.” Of course, right wingers and those “debate champion” libertarian friends of yours have used this rhetorical law as a cudgel to yell about hyperbole being used in the arguments over Trump and Republican policies.

But even according to Mike Godwin himself, the concept the “Godwin’s law” was not to say comparing things to Hitler or Nazis made those claims false; his hope for the “law” was to remind people to consider deeply the comparisons they were making in the heat of an argument battle.

American history has its own flirtations with fascism and racism and militarism, and people have believed in any and all of these things, so with certain individuals it has to come up from time to time. So it’s not the case that the comparison is never valid. It’s just that, when you make the comparison, think through what you’re saying, because there’s a lot of baggage there, and if you’re going to invoke a historical period with that much baggage you better be ready to carry it.

Here is the tweet Mike Godwin has pinned to the top of his account.

By all means, compare these s******** to Nazis. Again and again. I'm with you.
5:03 PM - 13 Aug 2017

The information highway is in agreement as to the heinous nature of our current state of the union. We are separating families and putting them in cages. 

Daily Kos 6/20/2018