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yurbud

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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
Number of posts: 34,585

Journal Archives

TOON: the deaths Republicans DON'T investigate



Great toon though it leaves out the teens of thousands of civilian dead in Afghanistan and roughly a million dead in Iraq.

The same people who are demanding answers now were not too eager to investigate what went wrong before 9/11 either.

The last time Republicans had a laser-like focus like this was when they spent a decade looking at who Bill Clinton dropped his trousers with.

TOM FRIEDMAN's new level of stupid: Arne Duncan for Secretary of State

Obama is better than anyone the Republicans put up for president any issue I can think of even education FUNDING, but when it comes to education "REFORM," he is so wrong that Republicans applauded the appointment of Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education.

Republicans and corporate Democrats love the current version of education "reform" because Wall Street hedge fund managers have figured out how to financialize educating our kids and skimming yet more tax dollars into their own pockets instead of putting them in the classroom, and they will pay top dollar, both in campaign donations and after office high paying jobs, to the politicians who will put them in the driver's seat and our money in their pockets.

I doubt that the problem with our foreign policy is that we kowtow to business interests TOO LITTLE.

You just have to read the Wikileaks on State Department cables about say Haiti, Levi Strauss, and the minimum wage to see how our current foreign policy already puts corporate profits over any hope of the poorest people in the world climbing out of poverty.

About the only way a corporate tool like Arne Duncan could improve on that is a "Race to the Top" to see which country can donate the most organs of those who die from our other foreign policies.

At the same time, as our foreign budget shrinks, more and more of it will have to be converted from traditional grants to “Races to the Top,” which Duncan’s Education Department pioneered in U.S. school reform. We will have to tell needy countries that whoever comes up with the best ideas for educating their young women and girls or incentivizing start-ups or strengthening their rule of law will get our scarce foreign aid dollars. That race is the future of foreign aid.

Finally, there’s a reason that since the end of the cold war our secretaries of state have racked up more miles than they’ve made history. Before 1995, the job involved ending or avoiding superpower conflicts and signing big arms control treaties. Those were the stuff of heroic diplomacy. Fortunately, today there are fewer big wars to end, and the big treaties now focus more on trade and the environment than nukes — and they’re very hard to achieve. Also, today’s secretary of state has to deal with so many more failed or failing states. Secretary Hillary Clinton practically had to forge the Syrian opposition groups into a coherent collective, as a necessary precursor to persuading them to do the right things. Today, to make history as a secretary of state, you have to make the countries to deal with first.

In short, we’re still indispensable, but the problems are much more intractable. Our allies are not what they used to be and neither are our enemies, who are less superpowers and more superempowered angry men and women. A lot of countries will need to go back to the blackboard, back to the basics of human capacity building, before they can partner with us on anything. So while we’re not likely to shift our secretary of education to secretary of state, let’s at least understand why it is not such a preposterous idea.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/28/opinion/friedman-my-secretary-of-state.html?ref=thomaslfriedman

How Obama could destroy decades of GOP work to undermine Social Security

The GOP keeps insisting Social Security is part of the deficit even though it has it's own separate tax and an accumulated surplus that will last until 2037.

Obama's Social Security tax cut seemed to play into the Republicans hands by making that depletion of the trust fund date sooner.

But he could turn that apparent weakness into a strength by keeping the low rate and raising the cap on income subject to Social Security tax (currently $110,000) so that the program remains solvent for the next 100 years, and require that the cap be indexed so that the tax rate NEVER has to be raised again.

How exactly could the Republicans oppose permanent NO TAX INCREASES on Social Security? Even Grover Norquist would have a hard time pretending there's a problem with that.

Expose of Charter School Corruption in The New Republic

Timothy Noah, a senior editor of The New Republic, has written a stunning expose of charter school corruption. He begins with Arizona, where the laws are so lax that self-dealing by charter executives is the rule, not the exception. Noah points out that 90 percent of charter operators are exempt from state laws requiring competitive bidding. The state has never withdrawn an exemption.

Noah bases his observations about Arizona's Wild West of charters on investigative reporting by Anne Ryman of the Arizona Republic.

He quotes from Ryman's article:

“The schools’ purchases from their own officials,” Ryman writes, “range from curriculum and business consulting to land leases and transportation services. A handful of non-profit schools outsource most of their operations to a board member’s for-profit company.” A nonprofit called Great Hearts Academies runs 15 Arizona charter schools. Since 2009, according to Ryman, the schools have purchased $987,995 in books from Educational Sales Co., whose chairman, Daniel Sauer, is a Great Hearts officer. And that doesn’t count additional book purchases made directly by parents. Six of the Great Hearts schools have links on their Web sites for parents who wish to make such purchases. The links are, of course, to Educational Sales Co. Since 2007 Sauer has donated $50,400 to Great Hearts. You can call that philanthropy, or you can call that an investment on which Sauer’s company received a return of more than 1800 percent. I’m not sure even Russian oligarchs typically get that much on the back end.

http://wp.me/p2odLa-32Z

How did blue dogs and conservative Democrats do in the election?

I ask because I was listening to an episode of THIS AMERICAN LIFE, and Ira Glass said in passing that the moderates from BOTH parties were being squeezed out.

I wanted to write him about it, but I wanted to check first.

I don't agree with conservative Democrats or think there's any particular virtue in having people in the party who don't support what most consider core principles, but I get annoyed with the false symmetry.

It's like saying the chess team and the football team have equal numbers of bullies.

Where we DO need a filibuster rule:

If 60 percent of Democratic voters support a policy, Democratic politicians should actively pursue it.

If 60 percent of Democratic voters oppose a policy, Democratic politicians should actively oppose it.

Both should be regardless of what the Wall Street and inside-the-beltway consensus is since those two constituencies see the rest of us as something between catfood and kitty litter.

For-Profit Colleges Losing to Better-Rated, Cheaper State Schools

Since higher education relies heavily on part time instructors, I know people who work at varying combinations of community colleges, state universities, for profit private schools, and well-known and respected private universities. I asked a friend who teaches at a CC and a semi-elite private university what he does differently at the private school, and he laughed and said, "They get the same thing, they just pay more for it."

Students seem to have largely figured this out too.

What is sad is that when it comes to K-12, politicians are acting like for-profit schools have some superpowers of education that public school teachers don't--but the only superpower they have is skimming some of our tax dollars as profits, and using some of that money to buy politicians who then don't look too carefully at how well their donors are doing the work they give them.


The cost was outrageous” at the for-profit school, said Trimble, who lives in Sacramento, California. “I didn’t think that graduating from the University of Phoenix would give me the respect that comes with a degree from a traditional four-year college.”

Competition from state universities’ expanding online programs is pummeling for-profit colleges, once among the fastest-growing U.S. industries. The companies, including University of Phoenix and Washington Post Co. (WPO)’s Kaplan chain, are closing campuses as enrollment and stock prices plunge. With outstanding student loans totaling $1 trillion, some potential customers are turning away from the schools out of concern about cost and quality.

It’s a potent threat because publicly traded for-profit colleges drew 59 percent of their enrollment last year from online-only students, according to estimates from Deutsche Bank AG. At the University of Phoenix, the figure was three-quarters.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-20/for-profits-losing-to-better-rated-cheaper-state-schools.html

DC Voucher Schools: No Accountability

How many more times do we need to hear variations on this story before Dem politicians admit that the testing mania has nothing to do with improve public schools and everything to do with an excuse to funnel our tax dollars into vouchers, for-profit charter schools, and union busting education management companies?

If politicians really thought repetitive testing helped, they would demand even more of it from their private sector pets not shield them from testing and accountability.

DC Voucher Schools: No Accountability

by dianerav

The Washington Post looked closely at the DC voucher program and found a shocking lack of oversight or accountability.

The reporters found that there was little or no oversight over curriculum, quality or standards, and parents got no information other than te schools' advertising.

"...Washington Post review found that hundreds of students use their voucher dollars to attend schools that are unaccredited or are in unconventional settings, such as a family-run K-12 school operating out of a storefront, a Nation of Islam school based in a converted Deanwood residence, and a school built around the philosophy of a Bulgarian psychotherapist."


Accountability, apparently, is only for public schools.

You can bet that the voucher schools won't be required to adopt the Common Core standards or to evaluate teachers by test scores. If these schools fail, they won't e forced to fire their staff or close or turn into a charter.

Double standards, anyone?

http://wp.me/s2odLa-11636

BAD bipartisanship: Obama ed sec to speak at Jeb Bush public ed privatization conference

There are some areas where the argument can at least be made that Obama was forced to compromise with the right, but K-12 public education "reform" isn't one of them.

He appointed a secretary of education fully committed to the right wing agenda of repetitive standardized testing for traditional public schools to prove they are failing so their unions can be targeted for busting and the schools can be replaced by for profit charter schools--which are then largely exempt from accountability and can screen out difficult kids in any case.

These schools do worse than traditional public schools more often than not and the punitive approach to motivating teachers has filtered down to potential teachers, and enrollment in teacher education programs in California has dropped by HALF.

The only thing this has succeeded at doing is diverting tax dollars into the pockets of Wall Street sharks and got them in a feeding frenzy for more.

What is even more mystifying about Obama's bipartisanship on this is it not only screws kids and teachers, but gives a big boost to Jeb Bush's presidential prospects since this is his pet project.

Marx said something about the capitalists selling you the rope you'll hang him with, but in this case, they're bribing Democratic politicians to buy the rope to hang their political careers, and not incidentally, our kids education.

About That Bipartisan Consensus to Privatize Public Education

by dianerav

If ever evidence was needed about the bizarre mind meld between the Obama administration and the far-right of the Republican party, here it is.

Secretary Arne Duncan is giving the keynote to Jeb Bush's Excellence in Education summit in Washington, D.C. on November 28. Another keynote will be delivered to the same gathering of the leaders of the privatization movement by John Podesta of the Center for American Progress, who headed the Obama transition team in 2008. This is sickening.

Jeb Bush's organization supports vouchers, charters, online virtual charters, and for-profit organizations that run schools. It also supports evaluating teachers by student test scores and eliminating collective bargaining. Jeb Bush believes in grading schools, grading teachers, grading students, closing schools, and letting everyone "escape" from public schools to privately-run establishments. The free market is his ideal of excellence, not public responsibility, not the public school as the anchor of the community, but privatization.

http://wp.me/p2odLa-31t

What should Senate Dems do about the filibuster?

It sounds like the current proposal is along the lines of requiring actual standing on the floor and yapping until the person yields or they get a cloture vote.

I would prefer just ending it altogether since the Republicans use it too much, and when in the minority, the Democrats don't seem to use it at all.

What should they do?
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