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I just couldn’t help adding this November 2013 Wired Magazine article here, and how it’s new teaching methods may be adopted within our community here in Rio Arriba — how a poor 12 year old girl, who lives next to a garbage dump in a border town of Mexico, suddenly got the best Math grades in the entire country — and the majority of her class scored in the 99.99%. I love stories like this!! –Barry Ira Geller, www.RACHC.org Administrator

The Class which scored at the 99.99% of Mexico, Paloma standing
The Class which scored at the 99.99% of Mexico, Paloma standing.

These students in Matamoros, Mexico, didn’t have reliable Internet access, steady electricity, or much hope—until a radical new teaching method unlocked their potential.

José Urbina López Primary School sits next to a dump just across the US border in Mexico. The school serves residents of Matamoros, a dusty, sunbaked city of 489,000 that is a flash point in the war on drugs. There are regular shoot-outs, and it’s not uncommon for locals to find bodies scattered in the street in the morning. To get to the school, students walk along a white dirt road that parallels a fetid canal. On a recent morning there was a 1940s-era tractor, a decaying boat in a ditch, and a herd of goats nibbling gray strands of grass. A cinder-block barrier separates the school from a wasteland—the far end of which is a mound of trash that grew so big, it was finally closed down. On most days, a rotten smell drifts through the cement-walled classrooms. Some people here call the school un lugar de castigo—“a place of punishment.”

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It’s not a coincidence that the Affordable Care Act has spawned a host of bills in states dominated by the religious right masquerading as anti-abortion legislation, but in fact punishing women for being able to bear children.

In the last year, attempts have been made in the US House of Representatives and the state of Arizona to defund Planned Parenthood. “Personhood bills” have been introduced in the same time frame in Virginia, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Colorado seeking to ban both birth control and abortion. Bills were also recently introduced in Georgia and Tennessee to criminalize miscarriage, potentially making it a capital offense. And who can forget Virginia’s effort to force medically unnecessary vaginal ultrasounds on females with the temerity to seek medical care?

The ACA may be the most important piece of civil rights legislation effecting women since we gained the right to vote in 1920.

Sadly, the value of the ACA to women remains America’s best kept secret.

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“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”-Ben Franklin

When asked by a woman what sort of government had just been created, Frankin famously replied: “It’s a Republic if you can keep it.”

Last week, I had the great good fortune to attend a number of panels on money in politics at Netroots Nation (NN12) including the panel composed of Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) along with Trevor Potter (former council to Presidents Reagan and Bush cum comedy sensation), and Becky Bond of CREDO. The panel was moderated by former Congressman Tom Periello (D-VA).

I have always believed that despite the goodness of individuals, there is an inner Nazi lurking within every nation, snarling for its late-night human snack. The Senators confirmed my worst fears.

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On Saturday January 8, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head by a 22 year-old man identified as Jared Lee Loughner. Congresswoman Giffords was Arizona’s first Jewish member of Congress. An individual identified as Jared Lee Loughner. Congresswoman Giffords was Arizona’s first Jewish member of Congress. An individual identified as Jared Lee Loughner had recently posted a number of videos on YouTube including one that listed Mein Kampf as a favorite book.

At first glance the videos, which consist of incoherent white text on a black background, appear to be the ramblings of a lone, mentally ill individual. Upon closer inspection however, they spew the rhetoric of an anti-semitic, anti-hispanic, “Christian” right wing confederacy known as “Sovereign Citizens.” This loosely organized, little know managerie of militias, miscreants and misfits spawned such violent luminaries as Oklahoma City Bomber Terry Nichols and, more recently, father and son team Jerry and Joseph Kane who gunned down two Arkansas police officers during a routine traffic stop last May.

The Jewish Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center have been tracking the “Sovereigns” for over a decade.

The Southern Poverty Law Center posted this instructional video on YouTube on November 1, 2010 to assist law enforcement officers to identify potentially violent “freemen” on the highway and to take appropriate precautions when approaching them. The video shows Jerry and Joe Kane mowing down two policemen in cold blood. It also shows Jerry Kane threatening to murder government officials prior to the shooting. This video should be shown to every police officer in America.

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