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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
Number of posts: 39,405

Journal Archives

Supreme Court decision on birth control shows why health insurance should be divorced from job

I'm not happy with private, for-profit insurance companies still being in the loop, but some aspects of Obamacare look like they ARE an improvement.

This is not one of those areas.

Do you really want your employer mucking around in what kind of contraceptive you use?

If you have to pay the vig to the insurance companies, there ought to be a way to keep employees from from getting jerked around by their employers.

Pando Abruptly Fired Two High-Profile Lefty Writers Without Notice or Cause

Like the buying and selling of venerable newspapers like so many baseball cards by the investor class, usually followed by changes based on the new owner's whims, this firing of David Sirota, a major lefty investigative reporter and Ted Rall, a nationally recognized editorial cartoonist, makes me wonder if the for-profit sector can be trusted as the home of real journalists.

A lot of these arbitrary actions could be avoided if journalists worked at non-profits or cooperatives, instead of relying on the favor of corporations and spoiled trust fund babies.

Over the weekend, Pando fired two of its hardest-hitting editorial staffers, David Sirota and Ted Rall, both nationally syndicated veteran journalists. Sirota recently broke a big story about Chris Christie's administration awarding pension contracts to hedge funds, private equity groups, and venture capital firms whose employees donated to the governor's reelection.

In February, Pando raised $1.2 million in financing from some powerful venture capitalists, including Accel Partners and Founders Fund, both of which invested in prior funding rounds.

Sirota's scoop about Chris Christie breaking anti-corruption laws was shared and liked 10,000 times on Facebook. According to Quantcast, Pando is only pulling in 859,000 monthly uniques globally and 579,000 uniques in the U.S.

An anonymous source alerted Valleywag to the firings. Neither Rall nor Sirota would comment on why they were fired. But there was a consensus among sources that the decision was not related to budgetary concerns. "It was completely from Sarah Lacy. Paul was the executioner. Apparently it came from complaints from investors in Pando," according to one Valleywag source. "Sarah basically said there was not enough tech and too much politics."


PIC: true transparency on capitol hill

I found this on Reddit. I wish I made it.

Iraq Demands United States form a more inclusive government

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki spoke for his parliament and cabinet today when he urged the United States to form a more inclusive government that was responsive to more than just the minority of extremely wealthy individuals.

"Polls show less than half of Americans approve of President Obama's performance, record public distrust of the US Congress, and little change economic, trade, budget, tax, and foreign policy regardless of which of the two major parties is in control of the White House or Congress," said Maliki.

"Further, recent studies have shown that American politicians are far more responsive to wealthy donors and past and future employers or business cronies than they are to their constituents even when what the wealthy want conflicts with the wishes of their constituents or actually harms them," he added.

"Therefore, for the stability of the United States and because of the effect their large economy and military presence has on the rest of the world, we ask that they dissolve their government and reconstitute a "salvation government" that is more inclusive of the vast majority and their economic interests and diminishes the influence of money in policy-making, whether through the inclusion of smaller parties or establishing means of direct democracy at the national level or whatever it takes," he concluded....


RAVITCH: U.S. Dept. of Ed. Bails Out Failing For-Profit College Chain

This makes me wonder if the Obama administration cares about the party winning anymore elections or offering voters a choice at all.

This is the kind of blatant crony-care I would have expected from the Bush administration.

These guys get a bailout--how about the students who took out massive loans to go to these scam colleges, or even bailouts for students who took out massive loans to go to regular private and public colleges?

Washington seems to have taken Grover Norquist's words to heart and put their own spin on it. They want the MIDDLE CLASS to be weak enough that they can drown it in the bathtub.

But no misdeed of the wealthy can go unrewarded. If they are too incompetent to make more money from us directly, then they can get a bailout until the figure out how to steal properly.

Peter Greene comments here on the U. S. Department of Education's decision to bail out Corinthian Colleges, Inc., a for-profit chain.

Not so long ago, the U.S. DOE pledged to monitor predatory for-profit colleges. Not so, it seems. Not now.

Greene writes:

"Corinthian has a somewhat checkered past. Okay, checkered might be generous. They have grown prodigiously since being founded in 1995, acquiring around twenty other post-secondary institutions from Duff's Business School to the American Motorcycle Institute. They operate the Everest College chain, plus a few others. They've been called "the nation's worst private college chain" and have been sued more times than anybody seems to be able to count. The State of California in particular seems to be intent on driving them out of business, charging them with the usual predatory practices of marketing to poverty-level folks with promises of careers that never appear. This would also be the chain who got caught (by Huffington Post, of all people) hiring their own grads to keep their grad-employment numbers up.

They are, in short, exactly the kind of for-profit college that the feds said they were going to shut down."

The announcement was made by Ted Mitchell, Undersecretary of Education, who served previously on the boards of for-profit education institutions and was CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund, which is a major supporter of privatization efforts.

dianeravitch | June 23, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Categories: Education Industry, For-Profit, Higher Education | URL: http://wp.me/p2odLa-89G

RAVITCH: Common Core Writer Blasts CC Basic Reading Standards

One of the writers of the Common Core doesn't like how those standards have been translated into standardized tests, and predicts half of students will never pass those tests.

Maybe that's the point.

If the bar is raised so high half the kids fail, the corporate "reformers" can point at that "failure" as a reason to continue privatization--even though privatized, for profit charter schools are usually less accountable, have less experienced teachers, and produce no better results than traditional public schools.

Isn't it time to stop letting the wealthy dictate public education policy in ways that make them wealthier at the expense of our kids?

Why don't we try smaller class size, more social services on campus in high risk communities, and ways to attract more teachers to the job instead of driving them away.

Dr. Louisa Moats was part of the team that wrote the foundational reading standards for the Common Core. In "Psychology Today," she strongly criticized the standards.

Among other things, she said:

"I never imagined when we were drafting standards in 2010 that major financial support would be funneled immediately into the development of standards-related tests. How naïve I was. The CCSS represent lofty aspirational goals for students aiming for four year, highly selective colleges. Realistically, at least half, if not the majority, of students are not going to meet those standards as written, although the students deserve to be well prepared for career and work through meaningful and rigorous education.

"Our lofty standards are appropriate for the most academically able, but what are we going to do for the huge numbers of kids that are going to “fail” the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) test? We need to create a wide range of educational choices and pathways to high school graduation, employment, and citizenship. The Europeans got this right a long time ago.

"If I could take all the money going to the testing companies and reinvest it, I’d focus on the teaching profession – recruitment, pay, work conditions, rigorous and on-going training. Many of our teachers are not qualified or prepared to teach the standards we have written. It doesn’t make sense to ask kids to achieve standards that their teachers have not achieved! "

dianeravitch | June 24, 2014 at 7:00 am | Categories: Common Core, Teachers and Teaching | URL: http://wp.me/p2odLa-87w

Has anyone here ever watched BOONDOCK SAINTS?

So many of my college students have said that it was their favorite movie over the years, that I finally got around to watching it.

It was kind of fun and watchable but had a couple of glaring plot holes about character motivation in some key points, but even more weird was Willem Dafoe cross-dressing, pretending to be a hooker a mob boss sent some of his henchmen as a perk, and ANY guy saying yes (unless he had a Willem Dafoe fetish).

His character in drag looked a little worse than Wendy the prostitute in BREAKING BAD.

If you've seen it, let me know what you thought.

Were politicians who voted for the Iraq War "mistaken"?

I just saw a story where Harry Reid said he was "misled" and "mistaken" in his vote for the Iraq War, which has more or less been the mantra of those Democrats who voted for it.

Likewise, the Bush administration at most claim they were "mistaken" about the intelligence on Iraq--not that they pressured analysts to change their reports and even used some pure lies.

However, even if most or all of what the Bush administration said about Iraq had been true, Iraq would still have been no threat to us or even to Israel.

Everyone in Congress in 2002 was old enough to remember the Cold War, when both the United States and Soviet Union had enough nuclear weapons to destroy the other (and the rest of the world) several times over, but neither fired the first shot for fear of being wiped out by the retaliation.

Why then would some country with a SMALLER nuclear arsenal launch a nuke at us or even give a nuke to terrorists to detonate here, knowing that at best, they might take out a city or two here, but our retaliation would wipe their country off the map?

Likewise, Israel has hundreds of nukes, and could easily burn any of her neighbors off the map if they were nuked.

To believe otherwise is to believe you live in an action movie or cartoon, and few politicians are that stupid.

Some in Congress actually laid this out before the war, but most of the media wouldn't give them the time of day.

Do you think that Democrats who voted for the Iraq War really believed Saddam Hussein was a threat to the United States?

Louisiana: Governor Jindal Drops Common Core and PARCC


Louisiana's Governor Bobby Jindal held a press conference today to announce that the state is dropping its participation in PARCC and Common Core. He directed the state board to develop its own standards and assessments.

dianeravitch | June 18, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Categories: Common Core, Jindal, Bobby, Louisiana | URL:http://wp.me/p2odLa-87y

Read more: http://wp.me/p2odLa-87y

A REPUBLICAN governor has dropped the corrupt and deeply flawed Common Core--when will corporate Democrats admit that handing public education over to Wall Street is a failed policy that the public DOESN'T WANT?

Are you an 11% Democrat?

Someone posted a poll that said only 11% of Democrats want a candidate more "liberal" than Hillary Clinton and 83% were fine with Hillary or wanted someone more conservative.

I don't mean this as a criticism of Hillary in particular. She would have done roughly the same job Obama or any number of DLCers would have done.

However, I wonder if the results of that poll would be the same if you asked some specific questions:

Should corporations be held accountable for criminal actions, pay closer to full restitution and their executives sent to prison?

Should those very wealthy individuals who live primarily on investment income have a separate, lower tax rate than most middle and working class people?

Should workers get to keep a greater share of the wealth they create for their employers?

Should public education be privatized, turning our tax dollars and children's education over to the same Wall Street scammers who outsourced your job, gambled with your mortgage then foreclosed you, and got trillions in bailout dollars that they didn't use to help the economy?

Should we have trade deals that enrich transnational corporations but impoverish average Americans AND average people on the other end of the trade deals?

Should there be cuts to social programs in the name of balanced budgets while the budget for a military as big as that of the rest of the world combined is uncut and the many of the most profitable corporations in human history not only pay no taxes but GET subsidies from the federal and state governments? AND start more costly wars?

Should we continue overthrow foreign governments, by covert means or overt wars, when those governments are not compliant enough to oil companies, plantation and sweatshop corporations, and international bankers?

Should all policy decisions of our government be for sale to the highest bidder, and the role of average Americans be restricted to being sold on what has already been decided behind closed doors?

Should the differences between our major political parties be limited exclusively to abortion, gay rights, gun control, immigration, and the role of religion in public life?

If you asked questions like this, not only would most Democrats be progressives, but so would a lot of Republicans.

Taken in this light, do you want someone more progressive than Hillary, about like Hillary, or more conservative?
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