The charter school reform emerged in part out of a progressive effort to promote innovation that could be used to improve all public schools, and to open up discussion on the relationship between school and community, particularly in urban areas. It was a movement initiated by Ray Budde, a professor at the University of Massachusetts and envisioned as a school that would gain freedom to try different methods of teaching that could be transferred to all public schools.
However, a funny thing happened along the way. Free-market zealots (with riches) realized that over $600 billion is spent in the U.S. on public schools. A whole new frontier leading to stable profits was recognized. Everyone knows “it takes money to make money,” and the faces behind the voucher/charter “reform” movement are not bashful in stepping up to the bar.
And they want to run your privatised hospitals, privatised water, privatised electric, privatised gas, privatised buses, privatised railways, privatised garbage, privatised jails, privatised nuclear power!
“As John Adams famously put it, the United States was intended to be a government of laws, not of men. Dick Cheney is living proof that if we are not brave enough to enforce our laws, we will forever be at the mercy of a handful of men.”—Dahlia Lithwick, on Dick Cheney’s memoir
“We have no evidence that C.E.O.’s are fashioning, with their executive leadership, more effective and efficient enterprises,” the study concluded. “On the other hand, ample evidence suggests that C.E.O.’s and their corporations are expending considerably more energy on avoiding taxes than perhaps ever before — at a time when the federal government desperately needs more revenue to maintain basic services for the American people.”
Verizon, which earned $11.9 billion in pretax United States profits, received a federal tax refund of $705 million. The company’s chief executive, Ivan Seidenberg, meanwhile, received $18.1 million in compensation. The online retailer eBay reported pretax profits of $848 million and received a $113 million federal refund. John Donahoe, eBay’s chief executive, collected a compensation package worth $12.4 million, the study said.
Verizon, who’s pitching a fit worthy of the most hyperactive and poorly-raised 2-year-old over paying most of its workers decent benefits, is on this list.
(Related dirty fucking hippie idea of the day to fix the economy: why don’t we outsource CEOs? I’m convinced most of them are not Steve Jobs-like in their ability anyway, and wouldn’t it be more democratic and in the spirit of “free market competition” glibertarians love so well if no one person were in charge of a company anyway?)
An interview with Helen Ferguson Crawford on Praeterita:
“Helen Ferguson Crawford is another artist-writer I discovered on Google Plus. Her biographical information describes her as an artist, registered architect, and professor. I was first drawn towards her paintings, with their strong sense of form and sensitive touch. When I went to her blog, I found that these qualities were clearly evident in her writing, too — with the addition of a strong narrative element. In this interview, I asked Helen to describe what happens when she works with word and image in such close proximity to each other…”
“The way market fundamentalists react to the turmoil that ensues when their ideas are implemented is typical of utopian ‘totalitarians’: they blame the failure on compromise—there is still too much state intervention—and demand an even more radical implementation of market doctrine.”—Slavoj Žižek. (via waitingforbrodot)
I’m no fan of John Boehner, but I’m really getting tired of jokes about his “orange” skin tone.
He’s looked that way his whole life; he just has slightly darker skin than others in his family. So what? It’s just not funny anymore. Give it a rest already.
Maybe I’m just a DFH, and I laughed about this one a couple years ago too, but jokes about skin color and the features we’re born with get old really fast. And this one’s really, really old. Find something new, please.
Florida’s new drug-tests-for-welfare-applicants program just yielded its first batch of results: 98 percent passed. It’ll only cost the state $178 million.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who rode his own fortune and the tea party’s adoration to office last year, has stated publicly several times that people on welfare use drugs at a higher rate than the general population. So at Scott’s urging earlier this year, the legislature implemented a policy requiring all temporary cash assistance applicants pass a drug test before getting any help.
The Department of Children and Families says about 2 percent of applicants are failing the test; another 2 percent are not completing the application process, for reasons unspecified, according to the Tampa Tribune.
An Italian radio program’s story about Iceland’s on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt. The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion.
As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example. Here’s why:
Five years of a pure neo-liberal regime had made Iceland, (population 320 thousand, no army), one of the richest countries in the world. In 2003 all the country’s banks were privatized, and in an effort to attract foreign investors, they offered on-line banking whose minimal costs allowed them to offer relatively high rates of return. The accounts, called IceSave, attracted many English and Dutch small investors. But as investments grew, so did the banks’ foreign debt. In 2003 Iceland’s debt was equal to 200 times its GNP, but in 2007, it was 900 percent. The 2008 world financial crisis was the coup de grace. The three main Icelandic banks, Landbanki, Kapthing and Glitnir, went belly up and were nationalized, while the Kroner lost 85% of its value with respect to the Euro. At the end of the year Iceland declared bankruptcy…
What happened next was extraordinary. The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Iceland’s leaders to the side of their constituents. The Head of State, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, refused to ratify the law that would have made Iceland’s citizens responsible for its bankers’ debts, and accepted calls for a referendum.
Of course the international community only increased the pressure on Iceland. Great Britain and Holland threatened dire reprisals that would isolate the country…
In the March 2010 referendum, 93% voted against repayment of the debt. The IMF immediately froze its loan. But the revolution (though not televised in the United States), would not be intimidated. With the support of a furious citizenry, the government launched civil and penal investigations into those responsible for the financial crisis. Interpol put out an international arrest warrant for the ex-president of Kaupthing, Sigurdur Einarsson, as the other bankers implicated in the crash fled the country.
But Icelanders didn’t stop there: they decided to draft a new constitution that would free the country from the exaggerated power of international finance and virtual money.
To write the new constitution, the people of Iceland elected twenty-five citizens from among 522 adults not belonging to any political party but recommended by at least thirty citizens. This document was not the work of a handful of politicians, but was written on the internet.
Refusing to bow to foreign interests, that small country stated loud and clear that the people are sovereign.
Partners: As the Justice has assumed an influential role on the Roberts Court, his wife has helped lead the public war against the Obama Administration.
Ginni Thomas’s particular target was the health-care-reform law, which was, in her view, clearly unconstitutional. In Atlanta, in April: “I have been writing my congressman, and going to his office. I waited for the August health-care hearings and were there any town-hall hearings? No.” On Fox News, in May: “The audacity of power-grabbing that I’m seeing right now in cap-and-trade, health care, the stimulus plan, it’s corrupt. It’s a big power grab. It’s picking winners and losers from Washington; it’s abhorrent to our national principles.” At the Steamboat Institute, in Colorado, in August: “We need outsiders to help a constitutional audit to help set up a system where Congress can reconsider different functions, and programs, and agencies… . I think we need a big spending reduction and no new taxes… . I think we need to repeal Obamacare.” In Florida, noting her support for Republicans running for office in the midterm elections: “We support the more constitutionally inclined candidate.”
He’s in 2nd grade, and when he was in kindergarten he decided he wanted to design t-shirts and started drawing on his white ones. I helped him scan, sharpen, and upload to a zazzle shop. The spiky eye was his first one, and this weekend we put up the stories behind some of his designs.
I typed his stories and helped pick the theme. Now he wants to print more QR symbols and pin them up all over the neighborhood.
“The media has got to begin to not give equal time or equal balance to an absolutely absurd notion just because somebody asserts it or simply because somebody says something which everybody knows is not factual.”—John Kerry, on MSNBC (via whiporwill)