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What I learned from a rabid raccoon

Just over a month ago I came face to snout with rabies, one of the world’s oldest identifiable diseases and one of the most dreaded. Dreaded, because rabies—which is transmitted via saliva when a person (or animal) is bitten by an infected animal, such as a dog, bat, raccoon, skunk, or fox—has one of the…

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Teachers, tenure and Rex Sinquefeld

Missouri’s November 2014 ballot will include a constitutional amendment regarding a change to the the teacher tenure system in Missouri and development of a new standardized teacher evaluation system based heavily on test scores. Funding for the initiative is primarily from self-appointed Missouri state CEO Rex Sinquefield, who is once again using his millions to…

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Ferguson, as seen by editorial cartoonists

There’s nothing funny about what has been happening in Ferguson, Missouri, in the aftermath of the shooting–by a police officer– of Michael Brown, an unarmed, African-American teenager. But there is plenty of anger and sadness–and a lot to think about. Sometimes, there are no words. And sometimes, some of the best commentaries are visual, as…

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10 reasons why school vouchers should be rejected

Republicans are for school vouchers because they want to privatize public education, turn education into a money making venture, and use taxpayer money to fund religious schools. Some Democrats support vouchers because of a genuine desire to improve education. They want vouchers for innovative schools with alternative curriculums, creative teachers, and enhanced learning environments. Yet, the truth is, this very small number of…

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Who am I? Guess the progressive

Can you identify this person? Occasional Planet’s “Who Am I” series features people who have made important contributions to liberal thought, progressive politics, human rights, enlightened education, and “small-d” democratic principles–both in the US and internationally. The abbreviated bios in our “Progressive Hall of Fame” only hint at the scope of our hall of famers’…