What We Got Tonight In Health Care Reform

Here is the breakdown of what we got and the price we paid:
It’s like winning a huge battle, but half of your friends were killed or wounded.

36 million more people will be insured or become eligible for Medicaid
There will be a trillion dollars raised to help subsidize this.
There will be multiple measures to help control the costs of Medicare
We will stop subsidizing private insurers in Medicare Advantage
Closes the donut hole
Allows Medicare negotiation for drugs
Includes the seeds of a public option
Prohibits denials based on prior conditions; ends rescissions except for fraud
funds more education for doctors/nurses
Begins dozens of health prevention programs, pilots, surveys
Creates entities to evaluate and recommend better treatment, cost saving
And on and on.

It’s a massive achievement, but women, mostly poor, paid a price.
h/t FDL

Tonight was the opposite of a "bold progressive" night. With a huge majority in the House, a vote with only 219 Dems should have been because progressives pushed this bill to the limit. Instead, it was watered-down, watered-down, watered-down. And still, only 219 Dems. This is why we fight. We need to change this.

Charter School CEO Makes $400K

Yes, charter schools make money. That's why so many rich people want to get on board. Like the CEO's pay above shows (picture is link).

h/t Ken Libby


Delphi: Home To Broad And Gates

The Broad Foundation’s philanthropic interests extend well beyond art: health and education have been at the heart of what he calls his “venture philanthropy” model. He explains it to me: “We have three tests – one, if we don’t do it, will it happen anyway? Two, will it make a difference 20 or 30 years from now? And thirdly, the people we invest in, do they really have the ability to make it happen?

“I don’t worry about getting fired, nor does Bill Gates. So we’re going to take risks. Some things are not going to work out. And if they don’t work out, we move on.”
As Ken Libby said, Broad is not accountable, as his statement proves, because he can't get fired.  Of course his entire philosophy of school reform is to fire everyone, especially risk takers.  Bastard!

This is the guy [Eli Broad] who is funding the takeover of public education. With his billions and Gates' billions, he decides whether "it" will "happen anyway" and goes on to predict that "it" will be successful, or not in 30 years based on Broad's, what? A guess? A gut feeling?  Who is he, the Oracle at Delphi?

This guy has lots of money to play with. He really shouldn't be playing with an entire country's vulnerable, impoverished, needy, underfed, uninsured youth, should he?

Keep your greedy hands off public education.  It's not a fucking toy!

Michele Bachman Owes Us An Apology

By now you've all seen Michele Bachman's "press conference" yesterday that was really a racist rally.  There were the typical stupid signs and chants and the screams of "Patriots!!" as if they were all on the set of 300, replacing "Spartans!" with "Patriots!"

Then there were the incredibly distasteful signs with pictures of dead Jews.  I say, F*ck You to these people.  Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) decided to be a bit more respectful.

Friday Cartoon Fun: Sick Edition

Robert Reich: We Need A 21st Century WPA (Updated)

Update: Paul Krugman agrees.

Update II: I gave a response to an email a reader sent me about the military being our version of WPA, as was mentioned in a comment on the Krugman post:
I think we need a CCC or WPA right now. Young kids have no idea what hard work is, how to use a hammer or plumb. The CCC was run by the military, and lots of members claim they became "men" under the guidance of the CCC and all the work they did and were proud of. They also sent most of their money home, as was required, creating stimulus. And they got fat. Literally put on weight. It was nothing but good.

There is nothing like that anymore, and there should be. That is partly my motivation for the draft; either the draft or making some kind of service mandatory would go a long way toward creating a sense of ownership of our country and reduce the perceived separation between the governed and the government.
Update III: Watch the American Experience-The Civilian Conservation Corps. It will cause you to realize the need is now for a similar program, for many, many reasons.


Charter Schools: The Privatization Agenda Exposed

From Our Global Education comes this memo indicating Bush's agenda of privatizing the public schools:

This is part of an essay written in early 2008 by AEI/Fordham's Andy Smarick, a former Bush II Domestic Policy Council member tasked with K-12 and higher education issues (my bolds):

Here, in short, is one roadmap for chartering's way forward: First, commit to drastically increasing the charter market share in a few select communities until it is the dominant system and the district is reduced to a secondary provider. The target should be 75 percent. Second, choose the target communities wisely. Each should begin with a solid charter base (at least 5 percent market share), a policy environment that will enable growth (fair funding, nondistrict authorizers, and no legislated caps), and a favorable political environment (friendly elected officials and editorial boards, a positive experience with charters to date, and unorganized opposition). For example, in New York a concerted effort could be made to site in Albany or Buffalo a large percentage of the 100 new charters allowed under the raised cap. Other potentially fertile districts include Denver, Detroit,Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Oakland, and Washington, D.C.
Third, secure proven operators to open new schools. To the greatest extent possible, growth should be driven by replicating successful local charters and recruiting high-performing operators from other areas. Fourth, engage key allies like Teach For America, New Leaders for New Schools, and national and local foundations to ensure the effort has the human and financial capital needed. Last, commit to rigorously assessing charter performance in each community and working with authorizers to close the charters that fail to significantly improve student achievement.
In total, these strategies should lead to rapid, high-quality charter growth and the development of a public school marketplace marked by parental choice, the regular startup of new schools, the improvement of middling schools, the replication of high-performing schools, and the shuttering of low-performing schools.
As chartering increases its market share in a city, the district will come under growing financial pressure. The district, despite educating fewer and fewer students, will still require a large administrative staff to process payroll and benefits, administer federal programs, and oversee special education. With a lopsided adult-to-student ratio, the district's per-pupil costs will skyrocket.
At some point along the district's path from monopoly provider to financially unsustainable marginal player, the city's investors and stakeholders--taxpayers, foundations, business leaders, elected officials, and editorial boards--are likely to demand fundamental change. That is, eventually the financial crisis will become a political crisis. If the district has progressive leadership, one of two best-case scenarios may result. The district could voluntarily begin the shift to an authorizer, developing a new relationship with its schools and reworking its administrative structure to meet the new conditions. Or, believing the organization is unable to make this change, the district could gradually transfer its schools to an established authorizer.

You can practically check off each of Smarick's suggestions for a pro-charter policy environment, particularly in places like Los Angeles. The general silence of Right-wing education "reformers" (hell-bent, in reality, on destroying and privatizing public education) is not a coincidence - they're largely happy with Obama/Duncan's education agenda.

Welcome to "third way" centrism.

Kucinich On Health Care Bill: "It's Killing The American People"

Evidence? We Don't Need No Stinking Evidence!

I sure wish the rigor Duncan expects of teachers and students were also expected of him and his data. But, alas, no amount of data is ever enough to sway those who are well funded. Here is a quote from Jim Horn's latest on the nonsense:
This is just a sampling of the hard data that should give pause to Duncan and Obama's capitulation to the corporate ed reform oligarchs, whose ideological agendas are driving education policy, evidence be damned. The question faced by states: is it worth it to jeopardize public schools for what amounts to chump change, just to expand the education industry and to create a new unaccountable and unregulated corporate bureaucracy to be in charge of the children we have essentially thrown away?


Teach Them To Kill


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will join the nation’s military leaders to discuss the importance of early learning in improving a child’s chances for success in life, whether choosing college, the workforce or the military. The event will be held at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Investing early in young people is critical to securing our nation’s future. Programs that prepare young people for academic success in college and the global workforce are the same ones that help them honorably serve their country, according to a report being released by the Pentagon. According to the report, it is critical that young people, especially those at-risk, have access to high-quality, early childhood education.

President Obama has laid out a cradle-to-career education plan, which begins at birth. States are being asked to reform their early childhood education programs, and invest as partners in raising the bar and improving the learning experiences for all young children, especially low-income students who will benefit most from high-quality programs and settings because they’re the students who start school behind and have to work hard just to catch up.
This is a great way to keep the war machine chugging along. Instead of teaching real stuff like tolerance, getting along, respect, accountability and civics, we have an education department convinced our youth don't know anything and that is the fault of teachers, and our youth need better preparation to do the bidding of the oligarchs that run our country.

If you want kids prepared to fight and kill in war then make all kids, when they graduate high school, join the military. Maybe we should bring back the draft. That way people will think twice about war-mongering if they know someone they love will have to go out and risk it all for nothing.

Imagine citizens taking responsibility for their country. The draft would be a great way to "incent" that behavior. Right Arne (who apparently missed out on enlisting)?

Eisenhower continues to spin in his grave...

h/t Mike Klonsky


I am a big fan of appropriate pedagogy:


The Price We Pay For Health Care

From Boing Boing:

Poverty: THE Problem

From HuffPo:
Overall, about 49 percent of all children were on food stamps at some point by the age of 20, the analysis found. That includes 90 percent of black children and 37 percent of whites. The analysis didn't include other ethnic groups.

The time span included typical economic ups and downs, including the early 1980s recession. That means similar portions of children now and in the future will live in families receiving food stamps, although ongoing economic turmoil may increase the numbers, Rank said.

An editorial in the medical journal agreed.

"The current recession is likely to generate for children in the United States the greatest level of material deprivation that we will see in our professional lifetimes," Stanford pediatrician Dr. Paul Wise wrote.
Half of America's kids will at some point be on food stamps. That is an embarrassing statistic. Embarrassing for rich people, and Republicans.

All those fat cats could feed lots of kids with all their money. Maybe the personal chefs of the bailed-out bankers could be sent into impoverished neighborhoods and cook, at their employers' personal expense, nice meals for the folks who live there as a way to earn back some respect and pay back American citizens!

When will America wake up and realize that a little fairness never killed anyone, but unfairness does?

Arne Duncan: A Flawed Proposition

From the National Journal Online debate about school turnarounds:

Richard Rothstein, Research Associate, Economic Policy Institute

It is an admirable goal to "turn around" low-performing schools. But before attempting this, we need to ensure that we have accurately identified which schools are low-performing. It would be tragic if we aggressively intervened in (or even closed) schools that were, in fact, better performers, while ignoring schools that were worse.

This is the fundamental flaw in Arne Duncan's proposal. We don't, in fact, have any good ways to identify low-performing schools, so any turnaround efforts are likely to include considerable misdirection.

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