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Does Dancing Boost Student Achievement?

A Southern California dance program is proving that the arts play a bigger role in learning than we realize.

America's pretty dance obsessed lately. Three popular shows—So You Think You Can Dance, America's Best Dance Crew, and Dancing With the Stars—all get stellar ratings, and Natalie Portman won an Oscar for her portrayal of a troubled ballerina. But is there a connection between learning the art of dancing and better performance in school? The example of Santa Ana, California-based nonprofit, The Wooden Floor suggests that there is. Since 1983, they've been integrating year-round dance training for fourth- through twelfth-graders with academic assistance and family service. Since the program's inception, 93 percent of participants have gone on to college, and for graduates from the past six years, that number has climbed up to 100 percent.

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GOP Official Says Her Incredibly Racist Obama Monkey Email Wasn't Racist

Marilyn Davenport calls Obama a chimp but says she's not a bigot.


A Republican official caught sending an email in which Barack Obama is depicted as a monkey is saying that she's not a racist, and that the email in question was "a joke." Marilyn Davenport is a member of the central committee of the Orange County Republican Party, and last week she sent some friends of hers a message with the subject heading "Now you know why no birth certificate." Attached to that email was a picture of Obama as the son of chimpanzees." Asked by a reporter if she thought the email was appropriate, Davenport said, "Everybody who knows me knows that I am not a racist. It was a joke. I have friends who are black."

A precursor to Davenport was former Los Alamitos, California, Republican Mayor Dean Grose, who after Obama took office in 2009 sent out an email with a picture of a watermelon patch on the White House lawn.

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A reader points out that the death threat in our rundown of hatespeech spewed at a recent anti-Muslim rally in California was courtesy of none other than Deborah Pauly, a city council member elected to represent Villa Park (in California's Orange County). Why is an American elected official making death threats against other Americans?

Pauly, a self-proclaimed Tea Party member, was only elected in 2010, but she's already making a splash. Last March she compared the Affordable Care Act to anal rape. And in February of this year, at a protest against an Islamic charity fundraiser, Pauly, whose son is a Marine, said she knows "quite a few Marines who would be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in paradise." In other words, her son and some of his friends would be happy to execute the Muslim-American men, women, and children in attendance at the charity function. This is crazy—even by the standards of the typically reactionary O.C.

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