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Digital School Success in Mooresville | Pew Research Says Women Voters Turning Fast Toward Obama, Hate Santorum

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CONNECTING Tammy Rigby, a fifth-grade science teacher at East Mooresville Intermediate, helping Grace Lateef, left, and Caitlyn Yaede with a class exercise.Jeremy M. Lange for The New York Times. Finally we have a positive story about American education with impressive results, writes the New York Times about Mooresville School District about 20 miles north of Charlotte. Best known for its connections to Nascar racing, the Mooresville Graded School District has emerged as the “defacto national model of the digital school.”

For decades Apple has enjoyed a positive relationship with schools and American educators.

“Other districts are doing things, but what we see in Mooresville is the whole package: using the budget, innovating, using data, involvement with the community and leadership,” said Karen Cator, a former Apple executive who is director of educational technology for the United States Department of Education. “There are lessons to be learned.”

The achievements are impressive. The district’s graduation rate alone has improved from 80 percent in 2008 to 91 percent in 2011. Mooresville ranks 100th out of 115 districts in North Carolina in terms of dollars spent per student — $7,415.89 a year. But it’s currently third in best test scores and second in graduation rates.

Technology appears to be the answer in Mooresville. Sixty teachers have lost their jobs without any negative impact on test scores or student enthusiasm about staying in school.

Let the Robot Drive

The autonomous car of the future is here, writes Wired.

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The Culture Wars

Image: Tom Pennington/Getty Contraception & The Woman Problem

Rick Santorum Wants to Fight ‘The Dangers of Contraception’, writes TIME. In a transcript of his interview with Evangelical blog Caffeinated Thoughts, Santorum agrees with Catholic bishops that contraception is “not okay”.

One of the things I will talk about that no President has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay. Contraception’s okay.”

It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also [inaudible], but also procreative.

The Atlantic writes today what polls confirmed yesterday: Rick Santorum has a serious woman problem. The Atlantic reviews Santorum’s narrow senate victory in 2000 against then-Democratic Rep. Ron Klink.

Santorum won an impressive 57 percent of the vote among men; that number increased to 60 percent just looking at white men. But among women, Santorum lost to Klink, winning just 48 percent of the vote. Among white women, he barely inched past the Democrat, 52 to 47 percent.

Conservative writer Jennifer Rubin says that when considering the current Republican field, women (presumably Republican women) prefer Romney over Santorum by 38 vs 29 percent. The startling commentary came from the Atlanta Constitution’s Jay Bookman, reviewing the latest Pew national polling:

Obama has a 21-point lead over both Romney and Santorum among women. The margin is 59-38 percent. Among men, Obama actually trails by five against Romney and three against Santorum. That’s a 26-point swing between men and women, and I don’t recall ever seeing a gender gap that large.


Google's New VC University | The Evolving Human Brain | Culture Wars Updates on Komen, Contraception & Bishops

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Anne is reading …

Quanitta Underwood boxes in the lightweight division, one of the three weight classes to be contested in the London Olympics this summer. Justin Edmonds for The New York TimesQuanitta Underwood is regarded as America’s best hope for a medal in boxing at the London Olympics this summer. Today Underwood is at the US Olympic trials for women in Spokane, Wash. The 27-year-old five-time national champion, “a lickety-split puncher ranked fourth in the world in the lightweight division (123 to 132 pounds)”, writes the New York Times Magazine, wants to win big for another reason.

Underwood wants to be a symbol of healing and hope to anyone who has ever been sexually abused. Asked to speak in detail about sexual abuse at the hands of her deeply religious, Pentacostal father, she has agreed. I’ve read the entire article, and it is a very well written, fair and honestly told American story.

Google’s VC University

Google Ventures, which calls itself “the most operational venture capital firm in Silicon Valley” is expanding its Start-Up University program, moving into a 12,000-square-foot building, writes the Wall Street Journal.

“We’re not trying to enable the next generation of online casinos,” Google Ventures Managing Partner Bill Maris said. “We’re looking for stuff that’s transformational. … We’re looking to make a dent.”

The hands-on support stem for start-ups is stunning. For every investor at Google Ventures, there are six industry veterans and experts serving as high-level staff members “whose sole purpose is to help portfolio companies get over hurdles.”

Brain Enhancements

Recently a team of ethicists from Oxford released a paper on the implications of using Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (TDCS) to improve cognition in human beings. In his most recent book Better Than Human,  Allen Buchanan, a professot of philosophy at Duke University and a consultant to the President’s Council on Bioethics argues “that its critics often proceed from a deeply flawed understanding of human nature. ” The Atlantic Monthly spoke with Buchanan about the ethics of deep brain stimulation, the history of cognitive enhancement, and what a world of cognitively enhanced human beings might look like.

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Energizer makes batteries, writes NPR, but in the midst of the Komen/Planned Parenthood battle, the company found itself dragged into the abortion wars by social conservatives. “Energizer — like many other companies that have been big donors to Komen — found itself fending off thousands of negative emails and comments on its Facebook page.”

“No company ever wants to do something which polarizes its supporters and stakeholders,” says Jim Ziminski, chief marketing officer for Energizer Global. The company has donated $1.2 million to Komen since 2007.

Related: Komen Found Nancy Brinker’s Mysterious Expense Report The Daily Beast

The Culture Wars Update

Gay Marriage:

Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire’s signature to legislation legalizing same-sex marriage expanded a list that also includes Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Iowa, New York and the District of Columbia. In New Jersey, the state Senate passed a gay marriage bill which is slated for an Assembly vote on Thursday.

Obama Contraception Plan:  

Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe are satisfied with changes announced last Friday and will break with Republicans seeking to derail the plan. The Catholic Health Association, representing more than 1200 Catholic health care sponsors, systems, facilities, and related organizations and servics is also supporting the compromise. Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Hospital Association, announced her support Friday evening. Catholic Charities has accepted the compromise.

Catholic bishops remain totally opposed to the compromise. Media groups weighing in on the bishops specifically are TIME, who writes that Catholic Bishops have lost their grip on US politics and their flock.

While Catholic bishops in the US were taking the moral hgh ground in America, a papally endorsed symposium is now underway in Rome. The focus is on how the Church has to change if it wants to prevent sexual abuse crises in the future.  The TIME article criticizes media that fails to distinguish that Catholicism is not a monolithic American institution.


'Amanpour Debuts on CNN International | Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC | Christine Quinn's New York Mayoral Race

Kate Moss | Steven Klein | W Magazine March 2012 | Good Kate-Bad Kate’ AOC Private Studio

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Archbishop Timothy Dolan wrote a letter to his fellow bishops, blasting Obama’s compromise on birth control coverage. David Handschuh/New York Daily News

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America’s Catholic bishops announced that they will not support the Obama administration’s proposed compromise on mandatory contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act. After agreeing to study the proposal, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said that under the compromise, Catholic leaders would be called upon to facilitate contraception coverage for employees of Catholic universities, hospitals, schools and other ‘public’ entities.

The bishops called the plan “nationwide government coercion of religious people and groups to sell, broker or purchase ‘services’ to which they have a moral or religious objection.” They said the plan represents “an unprecedented attack on religious liberty.”

The Guttmacher Institute and Catholics for Choice confirm that 98/99 percent of all sexually experienced Catholic women have used birth control at some time in their lives. This reality makes the Catholic bishops totally divorced from the realities of Catholic women, even though Rev. Robert Bubel called contraception ‘poison’, speaking for Archbishop Dolan today. The Archbishop is in Rome, where he will become a cardinal this week.

The history of monotheism is focused on a patriarchal control of women’s bodies and answering to a ‘higher law’ than those in America. The Supreme Court has ruled that women are entitled to control their own reproduction. The Catholic bishops say ‘no’ putting Catholic women and the rest of us, too, in a totally untenable position.

AOC agrees with yesterday’s New York Times op ed The Freedom to Choose Birth Control.

If a religious body does not like a public policy that affects its members, it is free to try to change it, but it cannot simply opt out of society or claim a special exemption from the law. Besides, contraceptive access is already in place in 28 states, and has been the law in New York for a decade, without inflicting the slightest blow to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, which has complied.

Mr. Obama had already gone too far out of his way to exempt churches and their religious employees from the preventative care mandate. It was not necessary to carve out a further exception for their nonreligious arms, like Catholic hospitals and universities, which employ thousands of people of other faiths.

Related reading: How the Church and Susan Komen Place Themselves Before Health The Atlantic

FLOTUS Launches ‘Platypus Walk’

First lady Michele Obama’s Let’s Move tour hit Orlando’s Disney World, where FLOTUS led a gorup of school kids and Disney stars in the dance inspired by the ‘Phineas and Ferb’ cartoon.

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Catholic magazine America writes A Lost Generation? confirming the decline of interest in Catholicism among younger women.

More recent data (2002-8) from the annual General Social Survey indicate that the reduced religiosity of American Catholic women extends to the millennial generation (born between 1981 and 1995), as well. Millennial Catholic women are even more disaffected than Gen X women are… . Both genders of millennial and Gen X Catholics are much less devout and much less orthodox than their elders, and many practice their religion infrequently if at all. But the decline is steeper among women. Millennial Catholic women are slightly more likely than Catholic men their age to say that they never attend Mass (the first generation of American Catholic women for whom this is so), and the women are significantly more likely to hold heterodox positions on whether the pope is infallible and whether homosexual activity is always wrong. None of the millennial Catholic women in the survey expressed complete confidence in churches and religious organizations.

Meet Leading 2013 Democratic NYC Mayoral Candidate Christine Quinn

Photo: Patrick McMullanNew York City may elect — not only its first woman mayor in 2013 — but one who is openly a lesbian. New York Magazine calls Christine Quinn the early favorite in the 2013 mayor’s race. Quinn, the Speaker of the New York City Council drew extra scrutiny this week. But her upcoming wedding to corporate lawyer Kim Catullo, her partner for a decade will require sensitivity and balance.

“The ability to elect the first woman and the first openly gay mayor of New York City is going to be a national cause,” says Human Rights Campaign’s Brian Ellner.“It’s an instance where you have both substance and symbolism, and that will create enormous excitement.”

‘Amanpour’ Debuts on CNN International

Christiane Amanpour’s new show ‘Amanpour’ will debut this week on CNN International. The half hour program featuring a mix of international news and interviews will air weekdays at 3pm and repeat at 5pm ET.

Melissa Harris-Perry at MSNBC

Tulane professor Melissa Harris-Perry held the MSNBC Rachel Maddow audience when guest hosting. As a reward, MSNBC president Phil Griffin has given Harris-Perry her own show at 10am Saturdays.

Anne of Carversville

Crystal Renn | Matt Irwin | Muse Magazine #28 Winter 2011/12 | ‘Hot Legs!

AOC Private Studio

Angeleno Lauren Avery | Ellen von Unwerth | Schon! #16 | ‘Eat Me’

Kate Moss | Steven Klein | W Magazine March 2012 | ‘Good Kate, Bad Kate’

AOC Style

Melina Martin | Roman Asmus | Material Girl Winter 2011/12 | ‘Sparkling Sky’

Dominika Kucharova | Matus Toth | Harper’s Czech March 2012

Sensuality News

SN Living

Linda Vojtova | Tom Munro | Harper’s Bazaar UK January 2012

Miranda Kerr | Tiffany Bakker | The Sunday Telegraph 2012 Valentine’s Day Issue

Milou van Groesen | Nathaniel Goldberg | Purple Fashion #7 S/S 2012 | ‘Someone Else’s Life’

Kate, Laura, Karl +25 | Mario Testino | LOVE Magazine #7 | ‘30 Years of Optimism’

Heidi Mount | Marcus Ohlsson | Vs. Magazine Spring/Summer 2012

Nicki Minaj | Howard Huang | Paper Magazine Spring Fashion 2012

Jennifer Lopez | Sølve Sundsbø | Glowing Fragrance Campaign 2012

Adriana, Doutzen, Miranda, Candice  + | Willy Vanderperre | VMAN #25 Calendar Girls

Kate Moss | Mario Sorrenti | Liu Jo Spring 2012 Campaign

AOC Apple Valley

Petroleum Jewellery raises awareness about this controversial substance that is widely abused by consumers all over the world. The designers say that it is essential to learn how to preserve it in order to take care of our planet for future generations. Each piece of Petroleum Jewellery is handmade, containing a droplet of petroleum magnified by mineral glass, encased inside a delicate silver or gold cocoon. The concept has been re-interpreted by Anna Gram’ Design Studio in various forms, encompassing rings, earrings, pendants and bangles. via Yatzer