Category Archives: MLK

The sun came up on a different world —Julian Assange

Julian Assange of Wikileaks spoke from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London today (video, text):

The next time somebody tells you that it is pointless to defend the rights we hold dear, remind them of your vigil in the dark outside the Embassy of Ecuador, and how, in the morning, the sun came up on a different world, and a courageous Latin American nation took a stand for justice.

The British government made a stunning mistake in throwing away the worldwide goodwill just gained through the London Olympic Games, by actually beginning to storm a sovereign embassy in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations that was observed throughout the Cold War. How could they be so foolish? This man, this reporter and publisher, they think is somehow more dangerous to them than the armed might of the Soviet Union was? This is as if JFK arrested MLK after John Glenn’s first orbital flight (a step which JFK fortunately did not take).

There is something you can do, even when the world is turned upside down:

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ALEC, Trayvon Martin, CCA’s private prisons, and charter schools?

What’s the connection between the Florida law that’s letting the killer of Trayvon Martin hide, the private prisons CCA runs in Georgia and other states, and HB 797, the Georgia charter schools bill that’s on the floor today for Senate debate today? ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Paul Krugman wrote yesterday for the NYTimes, Lobbyists, Guns and Money,

ALEC seems, however, to have a special interest in privatization — that is, on turning the provision of public services, from schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations. And some of the most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved with the organization.

What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC’s claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.

And in case you were wondering, no, the kind of privatization ALEC promotes isn’t in the public interest; instead of success stories, what we’re getting is a series of scandals. Private charter schools, for example, appear to deliver a lot of profits but little in the way of educational achievement.

Same as private prisons. The only real benefit goes to private prison company executives and shareholders.
Think about that: we seem to be turning into a country where crony capitalism doesn’t just waste taxpayer money but warps criminal justice, in which growing incarceration reflects not the need to protect law-abiding citizens but the profits corporations can reap from a larger prison population.
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from a Birmingham jail in 1963:
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
And today we have an organized threat to justice everywhere. That threat is called ALEC.


Repealing the 1928 GA School Consolidation Law

Received today. -jsq
From: JC Cunningham
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2011 09:01:26 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Fw: The Repeal of Ga. Law on School Consolidation
To: [many people]


Even though we the Citizens of Valdosta have spoken and defeated that hostile takeover, this is not the time to let up. We all must stay a vigilant as possible and never let anything like this happen again.

One way in which everyone in Valdosta and Lowndes can make a impact is to write a letter to Amy Carter, Admin. Floor Leader to the Governor, and ask for her to introduce a bill to repeal the old 1928 law that Cuee was able to use.

Remind Amy that she has an obligation to bring this bill to the floor. Remind her that the people

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Planning meetings, Occupy Valdosta @ VSU 27 October 2011

Yesterday’s Occupy Valdosta organizational session went faster than expected, and resulted in adding some events to the upcoming list:

Here’s Erin Hurley talking about two of those events: Continue reading

The local “unification” attack on public schools is part of a nationwide assault

The “unification” attack on the public schools in Valdosta and Lowndes County, Georgia is part of a nationwide assault on public schools, which has nothing to do with improving public education, and everything to do with private profit and private schools: disaster capitalism right here at home. And it’s not government causing our local disaster: it’s local business interests. What should we do about that?

Jeff Bryant wrote for Campaign for America’s Future 13 October 2011, Starving America’s Public Schools: How Budget Cuts and Policy Mandates Are Hurting Our Nation’s Students

Critics of America’s public schools always seem to start from the premise that the pre-kindergarten-through-12th-grade public education system in this country is failing or in crisis.

This crisis mentality is in stark contrast to years of survey research showing that Americans generally give high marks to their local schools. Phi Delta Kappa International and Gallup surveys have found that the populace holds their neighborhood schools in high regard; in fact, this year’s survey found that “Americans, and parents in particular, evaluate their community schools more positively than in any year since” the survey started.

The first factor: New austerity budgets passed by state legislatures are starting to have a huge influence on direct services to children, youth, and families.
Well, we don’t have that problem in Valdosta City and Lowndes Schools. For example, graduation rates in Valdosta schools have been improving year over year, and both school systems are solvent.

So what happened instead? Why, they made up a crisis instead!

A local business group convinced enough registered voters to sign a petition to get a referendum on the November 8th ballot to decide whether to abolish the Valdosta City School System, which would force the Lowndes County School System to take it over, and also would result in massively raised taxes, which still wouldn’t be enough, so services would have to be cut. Voila! Forced budget crisis! Fortunately, the two school systems have seen through it, and Continue reading

There’s a mousetrap in the house –Rev. Floyd Rose @ Vote No for Consolidation March 22 October 2011

Rev. Floyd Rose, president of the local Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), spoke against school consolidation yesterday at the Valdosta to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who founded SCLC.

Here’s the video:

There’s a mousetrap in the house –Rev. Floyd Rose @ Vote No for Consolidation March 22 October 2011
No school consolidation,
Vote No for Consolidation March, Friends of Valdosta City Schools (FVCS),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 22 October 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman and John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.


VDT announces anti-consolidation march

Brittany D. McClure wrote for the VDT today, Consolidation opponents to march Saturday
Organizers expect hundreds to gather this weekend in front of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce for a march opposing the consolidation of city and county school systems.

Scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, the march takes the stand that “our children are not for sale.”

“We intend to put hundreds of people in the streets,” said the Rev. Floyd Rose, president of the Valdosta-Lowndes County chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “We know and they know that this has never been about consolidating the school system.”

Interesting that the VDT neither contradicts that nor finds a counterview to publish. Maybe since the VDT did an about-face about consolidation, it’s been able to see more clearly….

The march will be led by Rose, Sam Allen, former Valdosta City Schools superintendent, and Leigh Touchton, NAACP president. Other community leaders and representatives from both Lowndes and Valdosta high schools will be present.
9AM Saturday at the parking lot across from the Chamber of Commerce.


At the MLK Monument —Occupy Valdosta

Many people stood up at the Martin Luther King Jr Monument last Friday and spoke. Here they are (we may have missed a few).

At the MLK Monument —Occupy Valdosta
We are the 99%,
Marching to Occupy Valdosta, Occupy Valdosta,
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 14 October 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman and John S. Quarterman
for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.


Update: The Grassroots Handbook Against School Consolidation —David Mullis

Received today. -jsq
Dear Media:

I am sure you are aware that the vote of whether or not to consolidate the Valdosta City Schools into the Lowndes County School System will be held November 8, 2011. The City only is being asked to vote on whether to dissolve the Valdosta City School charter. The proponents of the referendum had a choice between putting the referendum in front of the county and city or the city alone. The Lowndes County Board of Education asked

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Vote No March —Floyd E Rose

Seen yesterday. -jsq
Never before in the history of Valdosta have its citizens been met with a greater challenge. The most powerful business interests in our city have conspired to deceive us with a scheme to dilute the black vote, and thereby rob our community of the political and economic benefits to which we are rightly entitled.

We make up 55 percent of the city’s population. However, we are only 34 percent of the county’s population. If the city and county governments are consolidated, which is the real goal of the Committee for Educational Excellence (CUEE), we will lose forever the opportunity to have access to the millions of federal dollars that will come to Valdosta, with which we can rebuild our community; monies that we are now going to the North side.

This is, and never has been, about school unification. However, legally

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