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Archive for October 26th, 2011

Perpetual Employment and Deployment

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 26th, 2011 4:46 am by HL

Perpetual Employment and Deployment
Pat Buchanan keeps his job on MSNBC despite spouting racist claptrap. In fact, Pat still has a fine six (or seven?) figure contract with the cable network despite writing books that have ventured from remaking Hitler to white supremacy. Buchanan’s on a book tour for his book about the good ol’ days of segregation and decided to appear on the talk show “The Political Cesspool” — and a fine example of tolerance it is.

pic via vuangat at flickr.com

In a world where NPR hosts are required to step down if their spouses work for political interests but Supreme Court justices don’t even have to recuse themselves from particular cases, I suppose this is not surprising.

Pat Buchanan keeps his job on MSNBC despite spouting racist claptrap. In fact, Pat still has a fine six (or seven?) figure contract with the cable network despite writing books that have ventured from remaking Hitler to white supremacy. Buchanan’s on a book tour for his book about the good ol’ days of segregation and decided to appear on the talk show “The Political Cesspool” — and a fine example of tolerance it is.

Why look at the advertisers (feel free not to, drives up traffic):

“Lighthouse literature: A bright light for the white right”

“American Third Position: A political party for White Americans”

“White Apocalypse: Read the Novel that will awaken the West”

That’s the crowd Pat likes to hang with…other than GE executives of course…maybe it’s the same crowd?

Late Late Night FDL: My Way
Elvis PresleyMy Way.

Elvis PresleyMy Way.

What’s on your mind?


Report Claims Church of Scientology Went After ‘South Park’ Creators

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 26th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Report Claims Church of Scientology Went After ‘South Park’ Creators
The Church of Scientology has a storied history of swift and sometimes creative responses to media criticism from traditional ranks—such as print or TV outlets—and now here’s another about the group’s entanglement with Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the colorful creators of “South Park,” courtesy of The Village Voice.

Stone and Parker

The Church of Scientology has a storied history of swift and sometimes creative responses to media criticism from traditional ranks—such as print or TV outlets—and now here’s another about the group’s entanglement with Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the colorful creators of “South Park,” courtesy of The Village Voice.

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WATCH: Obama Talks Gaddafi, GOP, Halloween With Jay Leno

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 26th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

WATCH: Obama Talks Gaddafi, GOP, Halloween With Jay Leno
President Obama appeared Tuesday night on NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and discussed a variety of topics. Leno started the interview on a…

Watchdog Takes Russell Pearce’s ‘Tainted’ Contributions To AZ Doorsteps
WASHINGTON — With less than two weeks until the recall election of Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, a national campaign watchdog group is sending political…

Rick Perry Blasts Mitt Romney On Fox News
Texas governor Rick Perry went after fellow GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” Tuesday night, accusing the Republican front-runner of…


Stossel’s Attacks On Public Education Feature Misleading, Out-Of-Context Claims

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 26th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Stossel’s Attacks On Public Education Feature Misleading, Out-Of-Context Claims

During a Fox News appearance promoting an episode of his Fox Business show, John Stossel used misleading and out-of-context statistics to tout charter schools as a preferable alternative to traditional public schools.

Stossel Claims Increased Education Spending Over Four Decades Has Had No Positive Effect

Stossel: “In 1970 They Spent $50,000 On K-12 Education … Now It’s Triple That. But Test Scores … Totally Flat.” From Fox News’ Your World:

NEIL CAVUTO (host): That’s a preview of what is to come on Stossel tomorrow night on FBN. And John hopes one Joe Biden is watching. Why? What was the vice president saying on this?

STOSSEL: He went to Pennsylvania to say if you just pass this jobs bill, we’ll hire 300,000 new teachers and that will be wonderful for the kids. But if you look at the data, they have spent so much more — this graphic shows it well. In 1970, they spent $50,000 on K-12 education, adjusted for inflation; now it’s triple that. But test scores, the lines on the bottom, totally flat. [Fox News, Your World, 10/19/11]

Fact: Educational Expenditures in 1970 Were $40.6 Billion and $602 Billion In 2010. In the 1969-70 school year, public elementary and secondary schools had expenditures of $40.683 billion ($245.3 billion adjusted for inflation); for the 2009-10 school year, that number was estimated to be $602 billion. [National Center for Education Statistics, accessed 10/25/11]

Fact: Percentage Of Education Spending On Regular Education Has Dropped Significantly. A 2010 Economic Policy Institute report on nine school districts typical of school districts nationwide found that the amount of per-pupil spending going towards regular education was 55 percent in 2005, compared with 79.6 percent in 1967, while the share going to “special education” increased from 3.7 percent in 1967 to 21 percent in 2005:

education spending

[Where Has the Money Been Going?, Economic Policy Institute, accessed 10/25/11]

Fact: Share Of Education Funding For Teacher Compensation Remained Flat Between 1967 and 1991. The 2010 Economic Policy Institute report on education funding also found that in both 1967 and 2005, about three-quarters of regular education funds were spent on teachers’ compensation. [Where Has the Money Been Going?, Economic Policy Institute, accessed 10/25/11]

A Survey Of “Strong Studies” Found That Funding Has “Substantial Effects” On Student Performance. According to a study completed by Bruce J. Biddle and David C. Berliner for Policy Perspectives, a number of “strong studies,” or studies conducted according to accepted methodology, found that per-student funding impacts student performance:

Collectively, these studies have employed various techniques designed to rule out alternative hypotheses, and all of these studies have concluded that funding has substantial effects. We see no reason to challenge this conclusion. [“What Research Says About Unequal Funding for Schools in America,” Policy Perspectives, accessed 10/25/11]

Judging School Funding By A Dollar Amount Is Inadequate To Address Its Effectiveness. From the same study:

Another claim sometimes made by critics of public schools is that aggregate funding for schools has increased sharply in recent years, but this increase has not generated achievement gains.

[…]

[R]ecent legislative mandates and court decisions have created a host of new responsibilities for our schools designed to meet the needs of disadvantaged students — those with physical and mental handicaps, those from impoverished homes, those representing racial and ethnic minorities, those from immigrant families who do not speak English at home, those who are unruly and unmotivated, and the like — mandates that have often been underfunded but, taken together, have raised costs for public schools significantly. As a result, Miles and Rothstein found, about one-third of net new dollars during this period went to support special-education students; 8 percent went to dropout prevention programs, alternative instruction, and counseling aimed at keeping youths in school; another 8 percent went to expand school-lunch programs; another 28 percent went to fund increased salaries for a teacher population whose average age was increasing; and so forth. In contrast, during these years very few additional dollars were provided for needs associated with basic instruction. [“What Research Says About Unequal Funding for Schools in America,” Policy Perspectives, accessed 10/25/11]

Stossel Ignored Lowered Student-Teacher Ratios In Claiming That Employment In Education Has Grown Faster Than Enrollment

Stossel: “They Have Doubled Employment, While Enrollment’s Only Gone Up About 10 Percent.” From Fox News’ Your World:

STOSSEL: And Biden’s talking about hiring more people, if we can see the next slide. It shows how —

CAVUTO: And that’s not making a difference?

STOSSEL: They have doubled employment while enrollment’s only gone up about 10 percent. And —

CAVUTO: So for all the Department of Education, for all the push for more teachers, better pay for teachers, what have we yielded? 

STOSSEL: Nothing. We’ve spent three times as much money, the test scores are flat. But the cool thing is that now the blob, the union monopoly is being broken open. It’s not all union. The government monopoly and there are these experiments, like the clip showed, where kids are excited to learn because schools are trying new things, and they have to try new things because they have to please the parents to stay in business, and that’s what makes everything better.  [Fox News, Your World, 10/19/11]

Fact: Enrollment In Public Schools Was 45,894,000 In 1970 And 49,386,000 In 2010. Enrollment in public schools has increased by an estimated 3,492,000, or 7.6 percent, since 1970. [National Center for Education Statistics, accessed 10/25/11; 2010 number is projected]

Fact: There Were 2,059,000 Public School Teachers In 1970 And 3,174,000 In 2010. The number of public school teachers has increased by an estimated 1,115,000, or 54 percent, since 1970. [National Center for Education Statistics, accessed 10/25/11; 2010 number is projected]

Fact: Student-Teacher Ratio Has Decreased Since 1970. The student-teacher ratio in public schools was 22.3 in 1970 and 15.6 in 2010. [National Center for Education Statistics, accessed 10/25/11; 2010 number is projected]

Stossel Touted Charter Schools As A Preferable Alternative — But Public School Students Outperform Charter School Students In Math And Reading

Stossel: “No Improvement Except In These Places Where They’re Trying New Things.” From Fox News’ Your World:

STOSSEL: And people think we undervalue education, but we spend almost three hundred thou per classroom now. Think about that. Think what you could do. You could hire four great teachers — three. Two hundred fifty thou per classroom, and no improvement except in these places where they’re trying new things. [Fox News, Your World, 10/19/11]

Fact: Fourth- And Eighth-Grade Math And Reading Scores Of Public Non-Charter Students Are Higher Than Those Of Public Charter Students. From average scale scores compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics:

2009 public school national average scale scores

Charter

Non-charter

Mathematics, grade 4

231

239

Reading, grade 8

212

220

Mathematics, grade 8

275

282

Reading, grade 8

257

262

[National Center for Education Statistics, accessed 10/25/11; screenshots of data here]


Feds: Perry Signed Redistricting Map That Was Intentionally Discriminatory

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 26th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Feds: Perry Signed Redistricting Map That Was Intentionally Discriminatory
There is ample circumstantial evidence that the congressional and state representative redistricting maps signed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry had not only the effect but the intent of limiting the voting power of Hispanic voters, Justice Department lawyers said in a court filing just before midnight.


Alabama Democrat Artur Davis Flips On Voter ID But Won’t Say Who He Saw Committing Fraud
Former Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) hasn’t been making many waves since he left office, lost his bid for Alabama governor and joined a Washington law firm.



Seeking solace: High Tea in Banff & the ghosts of PTSD

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 26th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Seeking solace: High Tea in Banff & the ghosts of PTSD
After finally arriving in Banff National Park the other day, I treated myself to high tea at the famous historic high-tone Banff Springs Hotel. Now this is the right way to camp! Joining me for high tea at the hotel was an up-and-coming young filmmaker named Holly Chadwick. Chadwick is currently in the process of editing […]


Lee Wants His Own Super PAC

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 26th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Lee Wants His Own Super PAC
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has asked the FEC “to allow him to accept unlimited funds from corporations and the wealthy in a political action committee that he would use to support like-minded conservatives running for Congress,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

“In essence, the freshman senator from Utah wants to be the first sitting officeholder to directly run his own super PAC.”

“The law now prohibits candidates or officeholders from soliciting donations that go beyond federal limits, either for themselves or for another political entity.”

Republicans Resistant to Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan
The recent flurry of attention to Herman Cain’s “9-9-9” tax reform plan has also made it increasingly unpopular according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The “9-9-9” plan’s favorability ratings are underwater across the board, trailing 35% to 61% among Democrats, 35% to 58% among Independents, and 41% to 50% among Republicans.

Key question: Will the lack of public support for Herman Cain’s signature proposal begin to hurt Cain with voters, or does his candidacy have enough staying power independent of his “9-9-9” plan?


The Stunning Victory That Occupy Wall Street Has Already Achieved

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 26th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

The Stunning Victory That Occupy Wall Street Has Already Achieved
In just one month, the protesters have shifted the national dialogue from a relentless focus on the deficit to a discussion of the real issues facing Main Street.


Illusionary peace negotiations can only lead to a

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 26th, 2011 4:36 am by HL





Illusionary peace negotiations can only lead to a hallucinated peace
The world seems to be in deep, collective amnesia. We have been here before–at a point where half-baked initiatives and distorted negotiations based on the power imbalance on the ground and non-compliant with international law were touted as “the right…


University Career Counseling Incentive Problems

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 26th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

University Career Counseling Incentive Problems
Marina Keegan writes an interesting Yale-focused piece about the fact that 25 percent of Yale graduates end up working in finance or consulting despite the fact that approximately 0 percent of incoming freshmen aspire to join these fields. She makes a number of good points, but at one point dismisses the idea that we should […]

Marina Keegan writes an interesting Yale-focused piece about the fact that 25 percent of Yale graduates end up working in finance or consulting despite the fact that approximately 0 percent of incoming freshmen aspire to join these fields.

She makes a number of good points, but at one point dismisses the idea that we should blame career services offices for this, dismissing that as scapegoating. I think that may be a mistake. If you think about the basic “business model” of a fancy donor-funded university, it has a very strong interest in encouraging people to go into fields where they get very high financial incomes. Yale can’t ask you to donate a share of your satisfaction with your work or your strong relationship with your friends and children. It can ask you to donate a share of your income. So it needs you to have a high income. Indeed, they sort of benefit if you manage to combine high income with a vague sense of self-loathing that you feel like salving through charitable donations. I don’t think elite university administrators are sitting around saying “what can we do today to discourage our graduates from becoming moderately successful small business proprietors” but incentives do matter. The selection process for elite colleges generates a lot of bright, hard-working conformists. The incentives facing elite colleges encourage them to encourage people to work very long hours for very high pay in finance and consulting. Conformists tend to end up doing what they’re encouraged to do. And the system trundles on.