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Pitts: Black on black, white on white, crime is crime


Under our system of justice even criminals are entitled to "due process."

We, the people, grant law enforcement considerable authority. When law enforcement makes the decision to deprive any citizen of "due process" it is expected to bear an extra burden of justification.

America is not a nation of vigilante justice, whether by individual citizens or law enforcement.

Crime is a fact of civilized society. In America, we have a constitutionally defined way of handling it.

posted @ Monday, December 22, 2014 - 19:03

Pitts: Black on black, white on white, crime is crime

@swimdawg68: "I wonder if he is capable of writing a column that has no racial overtones, probably not."

Your overall post causes me to wonder if you are capable of understanding what you have read. In the interest of facilitating your understanding I suggest you take another read at the following.

"But guess what? White people kill one another, too. Eighty-three percent of white victims are killed by white assailants. See, the vast majority of violent crime is committed within — not between — racial groups. Crime is a matter of proximity and opportunity. People victimize their own rather than drive across town to victimize somebody else."

"Unarmed people are killed by those who are purportedly there to protect and serve them and the “just us” system looks the other way. That’s the murder of basic human rights."

There has been widespread condemnation from within the Black community of the killing of the two police officers. At the same time, particular interests groups and individuals are in the business of exploiting the tragedy. Free expression is one thing and common sense with decency is quite another.

At this moment, America needs more understanding and less polemics.

posted @ Monday, December 22, 2014 - 11:47

State Rep. Spencer Frye earns UGA degree, gets legislative perspective

Considering, quite an accomplishment.

posted @ Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 13:15

Galis: President's immigration decision doesn't have force of law

@scarborj: "Even if the President did not use an Executive Order, but a directive, he is breaking the law and going against the Constitution by prioritizing deportation"

Clearly, you do not get it. The "Executive Action" was necessitated by the failure of Congress to provide adequate funding for the deportation function. It is called resource allocation. In "common sense" terms it is called doing what you can with the resources you have.

posted @ Sunday, December 7, 2014 - 16:36

Galis: President's immigration decision doesn't have force of law

Thanks for this informative, enlightening, and eloquent piece. In the words of Ciscero, "If truth were self evident, eloquence would not be necessary."

posted @ Sunday, December 7, 2014 - 09:30

What Others Say: President sends mixed message on race relations (Boston Herald)

"Memo to the president: If healing is supposed to be the message, Sharpton will never be the messenger."

These tragedies are more about the need for reform than they are about Race or Al Sharpton.

Reformation will have a healing effect. In the interest of maintaining order, we grant the police and prosecutors significant authority. Recent tragedies highlight the need to strengthen accountability to ensure that authority is not misused and abused. More than anything, handling of these tragedies exposes the perception of a culture of "protection" that further undermines confidence in the justice system.

Body cameras will enhance police accountability. In cases of alleged criminal conduct involving police, prosecutors in the affected jurisdiction ought to be mandated to recuse themselves. Prosecutors' authority to select grand jurors should be seriously examined. Who participate and how grand jury proceedings are conducted need to be revisited.

posted @ Sunday, December 7, 2014 - 09:09

Blackmon: Georgia's patchwork approach to education isn't working

More of the same diatribe.

posted @ Sunday, December 7, 2014 - 08:33

What Others Say: America's race problems getting worse (Newsday)

The tragedies of Ferguson, Travon Martin, the 13 year old killing, and the NY case raise serious questions. However, I am not ready to conclude they suggest "race problem getting worse."

In the foregoing cases we have the court of public opinion and the formalized justice system, both reach judgments about guilt and innocence. In the court of public opinion judgment standards are based upon information provided by the press, which is usually incomplete. The formalized justice system is more complex and has a higher standard of judgment.

The formalized justice system is comprised of many components with different roles. However, recent events have brought performance of the roles of police and prosecutors into sharper focus. Police are responsible for enforcing the law and prosecutors for prosecuting for alleged crime in the name of government.

Some states require prosecutors to present the court with a written statement of the charges, called information. In other states a prosecutor is required to convene a Grand Jury before charging a defendant with a serious crime. A grand jury is a collection of laypersons selected by the prosecutor to examine evidence and decide whether to indict the defendant and so authorize prosecution. The federal level has different requirements.

With few exceptions, prosecutors have broad discretion in determining whether to prosecute a criminal defendant. A prosecutor does not have to personally believe Beyond a Reasonable Doubt that the defendant committed the alleged act. A prosecutor must simply possess enough evidence to support a reasonable belief that the defendant committed the crime.

Body cameras are reasonable interdiction at the enforcement level. However, the question of the hour is whether prosecutors should have more burdens to bear in executing their prosecution responsibility on behalf of the people?

posted @ Friday, December 5, 2014 - 10:36

Conroy: Blackmon right on high-stakes school testing

Blackmon's writings about high stakes testing reflect an apatite that never satisfies more than anything else.

Measurement is as vital as teaching. It is the only way to know what has been learned. Learning is a shared responsibility between the teacher and student. For too long the burden has been unequally placed upon the student. Student failure can also reflect teacher failure and teacher failure can also reflect school/school system failure.

posted @ Sunday, November 30, 2014 - 19:01

Midterm election's lesson for Democrats: You can't run away and hide

@swimdawg68: "Fortunately for America, Soros and his crowd failed to convince the voters that their flawed far-left ideas personified by Obama, is good for America."

Will you be kind enough to share three of Obama's "far-left ideas?"

posted @ Monday, November 10, 2014 - 09:57

Midterm election's lesson for Democrats: You can't run away and hide

Interesting take on the election outcome.

My take is that the election outcome says more about the state of the electorate than anything else. Low voter turnout does not say much about civic engagement in a nation that prides itself in promoting Democracy around the world. An election that can be bought mostly through the production and distribution of television ads does not say much about how seriously voters take this very important aspect of citizenship. This unhealthy level of engagement and discernment shakes the very foundation of our democracy. It grants too much power to monied interests.

The variance between what voters say in exit polls and how they vote is quite telling. This glaring contradiction should motivate massive non partisan efforts to develop and implement sustained voter education and engagement projects throughout this nation. Such an undertaking should capture the interests of Foundations and wealthy individuals passionate about preserving and strengthening our great democracy.

posted @ Monday, November 10, 2014 - 05:52

Parker: Election results included good news for black Americans

@dahreese: ""Sociological interests" aren't confined only to the South nor confined only to the voting behaviors of whites. Given your statement, which seems to me to carry a veiled accusation of white racism (nor do I deny it exists in all races) keep in mind that Republicans weren't elected by black votes only."

You are absolutely correct that social interests are not confined to either whites or the south. However, having lived her all of my life I can say with confidence that "social interests" have a more predominant impact on voting behaviors in the south. Though a component, my use of the term social interests is not confined to the issue of race. As intended, social also means trendy and because "my friends are Republicans or Democrats," not necessarily understanding or embracing the policies and ideology the Party espouses. My assertion supports yours...for the most part most voters are not serious observers and thinkers about the policies and issues of the day.

"So...what are the black arguments against Obama that carried over to Democrats?"

Tempered with the admission of no expertise here, there are a number of issues on which Blacks disagree with Obama. For example, I strongly disagree with his education policy, but for reasons different from Myra Blackmon. A goodly number of Blacks do not feel their personal situations have improved much under an Obama Presidency. At the end of the day, however, they prefer him over the alternative.

The data shows voter turn out was low among all voting groups, i.e., one third of registered voters participated in the last election. There are any number of reasons...speculations are shaped by the political or ideological bend.

brevity dictates that I stop here.

posted @ Sunday, November 9, 2014 - 19:11

Parker: Election results included good news for black Americans

@dahreese: "Regarding Cornish's last paragraph, this past election is proof positive that disagreements with the Obama administration were the key factor in Republican wins at all levels."

"Proof positive!" Really? That is questionable based upon articles in today's paper..."What compromise, voters divided on issues, too" and "Majority of voters support minimum wage"

posted @ Sunday, November 9, 2014 - 14:09

Majority of Georgia voters support increase in minimum wage

Another glaring example of Georgia voters voting against their interest.

posted @ Sunday, November 9, 2014 - 08:44

Parker: Election results included good news for black Americans

@Kwijibo Junior: "Unless you were raised in East St. Louis, I think she knows more about what she's saying than you do."

I only presented facts, which have relevance and meaning regardless of where you are raised. Dislike of the facts do not change them. Ignoring and dismissing the facts promote a constant state of denial, which limits growth and development, which dents the quality of life.

posted @ Sunday, November 9, 2014 - 08:32

Parker: Election results included good news for black Americans

"Black Americans, like all Americans, are free. But blacks must step up and use this freedom to learn. It is time to take a different path. Embrace the freedom, and the personal responsibility that goes with it, that was achieved 50 years ago."

Given the preceding narrative, the suggestion that Blacks should "embrace personal responsibility" appears to be based upon the notion that the majority of Blacks gravitate to the Democratic Party because of the lack of personal responsibility and a victim mentality. Please allow me to disabuse you.

Point 1

Myth: People on welfare are usually black, teenage mothers who stay on ten years at a time.

Fact: Most welfare recipients are non-black, adult and on welfare less than two years at a time.


According to the statistics, whites form the largest racial group on welfare; half of all welfare recipients leave in the first two years; and teenagers form less than 8 percent of all welfare mothers.

Here are the statistics on welfare recipients:
Traits of families on AFDC (1)

White 38.8%
Black 37.2
Hispanic 17.8
Asian 2.8
Other 3.4
(Source: Google)

Point 2

Blacks gravitate to the Political Party most aligned with their interests. When analyzing the voting behaviors of whites in the south it can be effectively argued that sociological supersede best interest factors in voting decisions.

posted @ Saturday, November 8, 2014 - 22:30

Towery: Election polling didn't fully capture Obama's drag on Democrats

@swimdawg68: "A majority of the public that voted, just said no to anyone that supports Obama or his policies."

An overwhelming number voted to re-elect President Obama two years ago. It is reasonable to conclude this majority also approved of the policies he espoused.

Would you be kind enough to explain what happened between then and now to justify your assertion?

posted @ Saturday, November 8, 2014 - 08:47

Towery: Election polling didn't fully capture Obama's drag on Democrats

"So in answer to those who wonder why companies like mine were only close to being right, instead of being dead on, here is my answer."


Your answer is not only partisan weighted, it takes the less thoughtful route. In addition to questions about the adequacy of sampling, variance in the election outcome and polling predictions make a loud statement about the electorate. At the national level, poll after poll show dissatisfaction with gridlock, yet partisanship and other factors superseded that concern in voting decisions. In Georgia, blind partisanship prevails. Ask the rank and file voter why they voted the way they did only a very small number can explain the policy difference between the two dominant political parties. At the end of the day, if we want thoughtfulness to take out partisanship in voting decisions, considerable work has to be done to promote more informed, responsible, and engaged citizenship. Unfortunately, beneficiaries are not motivated to engage in such an undertaking...and the beat goes on.

posted @ Saturday, November 8, 2014 - 08:31

Galis: U.S. has ignored the craft of teaching

"What we could have done with the work of Hanushek and others is use it to identify effective teachers for the purpose of understanding their practices well enough to codify them and replicate them at scale. In other words, we could have developed a craft of teaching that can itself be taught. Instead, we settled for No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top and the testing “lunacy” Blackmon decries."

No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top policies are accountability focused. Their ultimate aim is to ascertain whether tax payers are getting a bang for their bucks. Failure to extract best teacher practices from results of tests mandated by these policies is really an indictment of school administrators who have a teacher development responsibility. It is also an indictment of those in higher education responsible for teacher preparation.

posted @ Monday, October 27, 2014 - 06:04

Blackmon: School testing regimen is a crippling lunacy


Your sarcasm is noted.

"...standardized tests are flawed if they do not test what has been taught."

You have admitted not looking into the matter but do not hesitate to register an opinion on it. As a former teacher who professes knowledge you know better but do it anyway. If you want to enhance your understanding assert less and question more.

It is clear I cannot sway you on this one so we will have to agree to disagree.

posted @ Monday, October 13, 2014 - 15:49

Blackmon: School testing regimen is a crippling lunacy

@dahreese: "I think Myra has a point, and speaks from her perspective as a volunteer in the classroom - as well as being a parent and daughter of a teacher."

That is your opinion and you are entitle to it. However, being a classroom volunteer, a parent, and daughter of a teacher do not provide the knowledge requirements necessary to understand what makes a test flawed. They provide a base for opinions, not necessarily informed and enlightened ones.

I am a former teacher (at graduate level) with a terminal degree, parent, know something about test and measurements, as well as married to a veteran teacher of 40 years and do not feel qualified to assert that a particular test is flawed without careful study of its relevance, methodology and validity.

Not once has Blackmon written a piece explaining the need for and justification of accountability in public schools. Why? The answer is obvious.

posted @ Monday, October 13, 2014 - 11:30

Blackmon: School testing regimen is a crippling lunacy


I am at the computer more than usual today because of the weather, which explains my ready response.

We usually agree on public policy matters so I will try to enhance your perspective on this matter. The argument that high stakes testing encourages teaching to the tests is weak on its face. Teaching to the test is motivated more by a desire for the tangible reward or recognition than the facilitation of learning.

I agree that some in the reform movement have unfairly placed too much blame on teachers. Some of it is due to political posturing, and some is attributed to administrative ineptness within and among the public school structure. Student/parent also bear some responsibility. That said, Blackmon's drivel on the subject matter is constricted by an apparent inability to recognized and acknowledge the need for more accountability from public school educators, teachers and administrators alike.

Instead of suggesting more effective use of test results Blackmon constantly laments about those behind the reform movement. Constantly making weak attacks against test designers and publishers,as well as questioning the motive of those in the reform movement who have a different perspective than she does.

posted @ Monday, October 13, 2014 - 09:23

Blackmon: School testing regimen is a crippling lunacy

@autumnlark: "The rest(of my comments) make no sense to most people who actually work in schools."

Quite a generalization! Either you do no like or understand what I said...neither render my comments meaningless.

A goodly number of people in public school education do not embrace the drivel Ms. Blackmon has been spewing about testing for quite some time now. It is irresponsible to make general claims that tests are flawed without demonstrating how. Even more, it is irresponsible to claim that tests are invalid because they do not measure what you think they ought to measure and because of a failure to make effective use of their results.

posted @ Monday, October 13, 2014 - 06:58

Blackmon: School testing regimen is a crippling lunacy

"Both programs(No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top) have proved to be deeply flawed, rendering them virtually useless in actually improving teaching and learning."

"Improving teaching and learning" is not their aim. The better teachers and administrators can and do make effective use of test results.

"A great deal of testing data today comes either in aggregate form for the class, the school or the district and makes it impossible to use for diagnosing the needs of specific children."

For the most part, individual student test results are available upon request.

"High-stakes testing is not about measuring “student growth” or helping teachers do a better job."

The burden of using test results to facilitate student learning rests with teachers and administrators, as it should be.

Increasingly, your comments on this subject matter are not only circular, they are getting more and more elementary.

posted @ Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 21:40

Frye: Lawmakers should delay implementation of state's new teacher evaluation system

Teacher Keys "requires that half of a teacher’s evaluation score be based on standardized test scores."

The learning process is a shared responsibility between student and teacher, for which the latter gets paid. Test scores not only make a statement about the student, they also say something about teacher performance.

Teacher Keys "requires that districts create and test student learning outcomes, taking time away from teaching and learning."

The same could be said about tests administered by teachers.

"these tests are little more than a measure of poverty." Quite an assertion with no basis in fact. How do you explain the fact that a goodly number of students excel in spite of their poverty situation?

Your assertion that Teacher Keys test "is not used effectively to improve teaching in our classrooms" is quite an indictment of teachers, principals and others in the management structure because effective teachers and administrators should know how to make qualitative use of such information.

"There is no doubt in my mind that teachers in Clarke County and across the state are committed to improving learning opportunities for our children."

So are the accountability advocates.

posted @ Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - 06:47

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