Rich Eduformers: Do They Give Or Take?

Fiorillo on Wall St. Robber Barons as Ed Deformers

Michael Fiorillo, ICE-TJC candidate for UFT HS Exec. Bd debates Kitchen Sink, a charter school operator at this Gotham Schools post:

Kitchen Sink:
Just as a point of fact, the rich hedge fund/Wall Street/robber barons, whatever you want to call them, donors and board members of charter schools: they GIVE money to the schools, adding resources to the public schools in NYC. They don’t TAKE money.

They give, don’t take. If you need me to say it louder, they GIVE, don’t TAKE.

Are their motives all pure? Certainly not. Are their politics diverse? Certainly yes. But remember, they GIVE, don’t TAKE.


Let's take a look at this issue of finance capital (which on these pages, hedge and private equity funds are usually a proxy for), it's role in society and its more recent role in education.

The ostensible purpose of finance capital is to allocate money from those who have it to those who can productively use it, and make interest and/or fee income in the process. So far, so good: that's how capitalism works, and as long as there is some kind of healthy balance between lenders and borrowers/producers, then a market economy can function well according to its own terms.

But it that what's really happening in this country, or globally, for that matter?

No. What we have seen over the past 35 years is the financial end of the economy becoming engorged with capital and power, at the expense of both the productive economy and the democratic process, which has been captured by those financial interests. Look no further than home, where NYC's executive office has been purchased by a Finance/media mogul.

The past 35 years have seen:

- the rescinding of usury laws that limited interest charges, resulting in those 30% interest charges on credit cards.

- the shrinking of the productive, goods-producing (and unionized) side of the economy, with finance becoming an ever-greater percentage of GDP. This has led to the physical and social decline of huge regions of the country that were once major economic engines for the US. This has not been some "natural" process, as mainstream economists would like to fantasize about (or propagandize, depending on your point of view), but has occurred while Finance, through merger and acquisitions, private equity takeovers and outsourcing, has directly based much of it growth on cannibalizing the patrimonial wealth that the goods-producing part of the economy generated over many decades. In fact, this is what is driving both the current financial crisis and the attack on public schools: these fundamentally parasitic forces have extracted so much wealth from the private sector that they are now driven to go after society's public wealth. Thus the ever-increasing attacks on public education and Social Security.

- Because their wealth and power is increased by enlarging how much they can skim from every corner of the economy, in the form of rents (interest, fees, royalties and actual rents) there is ultimately a negative relationship between the expansion of Finance and the overall health of the economy and society. This doesn't mean that some, even many, don't benefit: they do. What else accounts for Manhattan becoming a Xanadu of opulence and ostentatious wealth in the past generation? And there is some trickle down: art auctioneers, designers, high-end caterers and restaurants, valet parking attendants all get their little cut, but the overall effect is the decline of long-term, real wealth-generating capacity. As Finance has fattened off the land, the poverty rate in NYC has increased (and NYC has fared much better than many other parts of the country).

- Because there is a limited amount of wealth-producing opportunities for Finance to invest in, and because the money must go somewhere, it goes into ever more abstruse financial instruments that are ever more abstracted from the physical world of work and wealth: credit default swaps, trading of interest rate indexes, futures trading by parties that have no relation to the commodities being traded, foreign exchange plays, etc. As all of this grows relative to the "real" economy, the system becomes top-heavy and more susceptible to crisis. That explains the increasing incidence and severity of financial crises over the past 35 years, most of it directly related to the credit system: NYC's "bankruptcy' (really a banker's coup) in 1975, a succession of Third World debt crises in the 1980's, the S&L crisis of the late 80's and early 90's, the Asian debt crisis and Russian default of 1997, the LTCM crisis, Dot Com meltdown, and our current crisis, which is entirely fueled by debt and "financial engineering" (really just a euphemism for an ever-expanding financial casino gamed by big players).

What does any of this have to do with education? Well, as I said, these immense amounts of money must go somewhere, and opportunities for "investment," which has devolved into systemic extraction of wealth, must be found. Enter the the public schools, "the Big Enchilada" (actually just the "Pretty Big Enchilada:" Social Security is really the Big One) according to Jefferies and Co.

But Finance has a PR problem. Most people (rightfully) don't fully trust Wall Street gamblers. And don't be fooled: a hedge fund is nothing but a gambling machine, creating no tangible wealth whatsoever. Their "investments" are short term bets, which often (as we're seeing right now in the case of Greece, Spain, Ireland and Portugal) have negative consequences. So plutocrats and Wall Street gamblers must start foundations, and have Society benefit balls, and make patronizing statements about their concern for the "underprivileged." Look at the very term "social entrepreneur": there is a (deluded or deceptive) notion that marketizing the right to an education will somehow benefit people. Sorry, that's not how postmodern capitalism works.

Meanwhile, they have dollar signs in their eyes. Having ignored if not benefited from the decades-long disinvestment in inner city schools and communities (which were largely a result of their own investment decisions, combined with their political efforts to reduce their taxes), they become part of the chorus chanting about the failures of public education (which in reality does have many problems and shortcomings, problems that these very same people have an indirect hand in as a result of what they do for a living every day).

Finance makes "investment" decisions that often reduce the productive capacity of the nation, leaving communities and entire regions (Upstate NY, the Great Lakes, etc.) hollowed out: that's a TAKE.

Finance captures the political process to extend its power and wealth, further skimming wealth: that's a TAKE.

Finance (along with its political and media assets) uses its increased power to create an echo chamber that endlessly harps on the failures of public education (and the public sector in general) and the faults of teachers and their unions in those failures: that's a TAKE.

Finance helps establish a parallel, privately-run (but publicly-funded) educational system that consciously skims, filters and creams some students, and excludes or counsels out others. At the same time, it diverts money from the public schools system: that's a TAKE.

Finance works to create the political climate for the diversion of funds from the public schools by imposing executive (mayoral) control over school systems, disenfranchising school communities, in particular the minority communities they claim to serve: that's a TAKE.

Now, KS, what exactly do they GIVE?
h/t Education Notes Online

Saturday Cartoon Fun: Old, Broke And Sick Edition


School Webcam Spy Authorization Meeting Was Taped

KIPP Study Makes A Dubious Claim

KIPP Works

It’s relatively obvious to anyone who looks that the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), the nation’s largest charter management organization, produces results. Just by seeing its classrooms you start to figure this out: the students are in matching uniforms, they chant and seem energized about learning, and, other than the chants, they’re orderly and respectful. To prove that KIPP works mathematically, up until now we’ve had to rely on pretty low-level analyses that show very high numbers of their students pass state accountability exams.

A new, rigorous analysis for the National Bureau of Economic Research changes that. Using a quasi-experimental research design that capitalizes on the large number of students applying to get into but ultimately rejected from one KIPP school in Lynn, Massachusetts, the researchers were able to compare students who entered the school with those who wanted to attend but were rejected due to space restrictions. This design helps the researchers isolate KIPP attendance from motivation, parental education, environmental factors, or any other variable that might be difficult to detect.

After these controls, KIPP attendees gained .35 of a standard deviation every year in math and .12 standard deviations each year in English. Results were even more positive for Limited English Proficiency and special education students (the demographics of KIPP Lynn lottery winners matched lottery losers and the district as a whole)...
Is it so obvious KIPP works?  The study claims to deal with "creaming"--the effect that self-selection creates a superior student body--so a comparison can be made between those who got into KIPP and those who didn't.  What the study doesn't deal with is the environment at the two different schools students ended up in.  On one hand you have the students who got into KIPP along with all the other self-selected students who got in.  Great learning environment there, I assume.  Then there are the kids who ended up in non-KIPP schools with all the other students whose parents couldn't or wouldn't attempt to get them into KIPP.  Not as great a learning environment there, I assume.

The study is flawed due to this rather blatant omission of reality.  A KIPP school demands proper behavior from its students, as well as high parental participation among other things.  A non-KIPP school takes all comers, regardless their motivation.  That makes for a less ideal learning environment.

So, it's not that KIPP works; it's that KIPP has "better" (creamed) students as we have been saying forever.


Thursday Cartoon Fun: It's A Trap Edition

We Are Part Of The Third World

Those light gray countries? That's usually called the third world.
h/t JM

Millot: Sound Decision or Censorship at TWIE (V)

Marc Dean Millot has written his last post in the series. Here it is without links:
Millot: Sound Decision or Censorship at TWIE (V)
-Marc Dean Millot:

This last post is not about This Week in Education editor Alexander Russo’s decision to pull “Three Data Points. Unconnected Dots or a Warning” because Andrew Rotherham suggested a colleague at Scholastic should make it so. It’s simply a list of my reflections on reactions to this series.

Thank You. I must thank five independent educator-bloggers who offered their hands in friendship for open debate. My posts can be found at Jim Horn’s Schools Matter, Norm Scott’s EdNotes Online, The Frustrated Teacher, Tom Hoffman’s Tuttle SVC, and here at Borderland. The complete record resides at TFT. I could not have responded as quickly or broadly if they had not lent me their platforms and credibility with their readers – and done so even though we disagree on some important policy matters. They are the ones who took risks.

Now that this series is ended, I will end my guest column status on their sites and return to the school reform blogosphere sometime in the future. In the meantime you will undoubtedly see a few of my comments on others’ sites.

Effect. Convincing these unknown colleagues to borrow their blogs offered me a quick response to Russo’s decision and Rotherham’s blog posting. One upside of the “five-blog” strategy was the potential to reach a larger audience. The downside might have been that it was harder to follow the series, yet most of my colleagues reported higher than normal traffic when I posted on their sites.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and I had hoped to generate some interest in the mainstream education media. Diane Ravitich and Anthony Cody did post on their blogs in edweek.org, but I have no reason to believe the national media is interested. If you think they should be, let you favorite education reporter know. Reader suggestions can have influence.

Silence. Before I go deeper into the blogosphere’s reactions, readers have probably noticed that neither Russo nor Rotherham recognized any of my posts on their blogs, or any blog. For both it was probably the best “communications” strategy. From their perspective, any response would simply add fuel to the fire and keep the story going. Neither has a credible rejoinder on the merits, and the blogger’s usual knee-jerk reaction – the snide remark, was unlikely to go over well. Accepting responsibility and fault was never in the cards.

However, we do know that someone with Education Sector has spent hours reading my series – see here and here, so ignorance is not a valid plea for Rotherham.

General Trend of Comments. When I had edbizbuzz.com on edweek.org I found that: comments were made by a tiny proportion of readers, opponents were far more likely to comment than “allies,” a good portion of negative comments were ad hominem, and that edwonks who might be the targets of my posts were well-defended by their “blogroupies.”

This was the opposite experience: a much higher ratio of commentators to readers, more vociferous agreement than disagreement, ad hominem attacks directed against Russo or Rotherham, and no comments from either’s entourage. My guess is more “destination readers” followed the series than might follow a typical site.

Russo and Rotherham: Both have had several years of non-stop edublogging; plenty of time to make friends and enemies. No one expressed great admiration for Russo, but there were few real attacks on him. Rotherham was a different story; he has a great many detractors. There are the usual suspects, like the Klonsky brothers, but quite a few people who do not blog expressed similar sentiments.

Conspiracies. The series definitely became fodder for those inclined towards conspiracies around Scholastic, the Gates Foundation and for-profit education. As I’ve written before I’m not inclined in this direction because I don’t think people are sufficiently disciplined.

I would say that Scholastic was the unwitting accomplice of a friend or colleague of Andrew Rotherham – no executive of any standing had anything to do with ordering Russo to pull the post. Maybe someday I’ll remember or figure out the guy’s name.

As for Gates, New Schools, their grantees, EdSector etc., my own experience with very large nonprofits is that senior staff can leverage their organizations in ways their presidents and boards can’t dream of. Instead, see a network of people – Shelton, Smith, Rotherham etc., with a similarly focused view of school reform from a similar subculture of philanthropy, similarly invested – psychologically or otherwise – in a specific group of grantees, working towards the same ends. It’s not a conspiracy so much as an open secret. They’ve never hidden themselves from the public, they’ve spent a decade daring people to challenge their positions. They are a case of emperors wearing no clothes.

Finally there is nothing like a coherent “for profit education industry.” It’s kind of like talking about the “United Nations.” The industry is divided at least between the multinational publishers, their local consultants and everybody else selling products, services and program. The first two groups want no change to the status quo and would be happy to repeal NCLB. The few, mostly weak, trade groups have badly fractionated the broader industry’s Washington presence. And within any segment of the industry there are literally hundreds of small for- and nonprofit organizations motivated by every force known to man.

Very few in the for-profit world are interested in running public schools – it’s a very unprofitable business. Having reviewed the economics of both the charter management and teacher training businesses, I would say the new philanthropy actually wants to push the burden of their own subsidies onto the government, via RTTT and I3. Finally, there’s just not a lot of exchange going on between the for-profits and the nonprofit represented by the naked aristocracy. Sure it exists, but its not very likely that anyone at for-profit Scientific Learning knows anyone at nonprofit KIPP knows anyone at for-profit University Instructors knows anyone at nonprofit Success for All knows anyone at Scientific Learning. With a foot in both worlds, I can say they are two different worlds and cultures – although they share the fee-for-service revenue model.

Hearsay. I did not explain the term in my first post because there was enough jargon as it was and, although I am a lawyer, I felt I could make my point without still more. But as reactions to the series progressed Rotherham’s post demonstrated the risks policy wonks face when they forget the limits of their expertise by managing to confuse a lot of readers. What follows is the best, simple discussion on point that I found online http://www.lectlaw.com/def/h007.htm :

[A] statement introduced to prove something other than its truth is not hearsay. For example, testimony may be offered to show the speaker’s state of mind.

Example: Dana and Bruce were fighting, and Dana shouted “Bruce, you are a lousy bastard.” Marla heard the argument and was asked to testify at Dana and Bruce’s divorce trial. Marla was permitted to repeat the statement “Bruce, you are a lousy bastard,” because it is not hearsay. It was not introduced at the trial to prove that Bruce has lice or is an illegitimate child, but rather to show that Dana was angry.

What I wrote was not hearsay at all. I introduced the information, not to prove “the fix is in,” but to show the state of mind of people interested in the RTTT and I3 grants program. If Rotherham, or maybe his contact at Scholastic, had looked the term up in a dictionary and reflected on its application to my column, you probably would not reading this post.

Censorship. There also seems to be some confusion about this word. At least one commentator suggested that Russo’s decision was not censorship. It was not “government” censorship, which is how most people think of the term. After reviewing various dictionaries on the web, Wikipedia offers a fair summary of its meaning:

Censorship is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media organizations as determined by a censor.

Readers can decide who the censor was: Rotherham, the Scholastic employee, or Russo. The net result was censorship.

Millot. No great opposition to me, actually a great deal of personal support. Some commentators had a very hard time accepting that I’m pro-market. Frankly, I think there is more common ground between those who share my view of a school improvement market and teachers than many educators believe. This would be a useful area for discussion and at least one blogger – Anthony Cody, has extended an invitation to have such a dialogue. We shall see.

Other complaints included too much detail, too much legalese, talking too much about me, and my use of the Millot-Russo email record.

Without going on and on (any more), some quick responses: The detail, legalese and autobiography were deliberate choices. I did not want to engage in a running, sniping, indecisive blog battle. Short items leave too many openings for misleading counterargument. I decided to take “one bite at the apple” with each segment of my argument; I wanted readers to have all the facts relevant to making up their own minds. Printing the email transcript was the hardest decision, but absent it, this would all be “he said, she said.” Russo’s termination of the contract without public explanation left me no choice, and he never disputed the record.

Would I do this again? Absolutely. And if you ever face the decision to sit this out or dance – I hope you’ll dance.

Olbermann On Health Care

Keith Olbermann's father is not doing well. The conversation one has to have at the end of life is a hard one, but a necessary one, as Keith forcefully and personally explains:


It's About The Kids, Or Something

Just read:
Why not fire all the teachers?

Finally, a school system has decided to fire all of the educators at an ailing school.

Why didn’t we think about this sooner?

Firing some of them hasn’t really proven effective in turning around schools, has it? So why not get rid of all of them and start over?

That’s why the school committee in Central Falls, Rhode Island’s smallest and poorest city, voted to fire every educator at Central Falls High School at the end of the school year. They did this because about half of the school’s students graduate, and only 7 percent of 11th-graders were proficient in math in 2009.

At the committee meeting Tuesday night, 93 names were called for firing --74 classroom teachers, plus reading specialists, guidance counselors, physical education teachers, the school psychologist, the principal and three assistant principals, according to the Providence Journal. Not one of them was good enough to stay.

Some of the teachers at the only high school in the city cried, but the committee held firm.

It’s no wonder that Education Secretary Arne Duncan applauded the move, saying the committee members were “showing courage and doing the right thing for kids.”

Courage, indeed.

Now, all they have to do is find 93 excellent professionals to take their places. Recruiting the best educators should be easy, especially when you can offer them life in a very poor town and a job with no security.

And, of course, the powers that be will have to ignore all the other influences on high school students because their poor performance was all about the adults at the high school.

Their elementary and middle school education -- or lack thereof? Not a problem.

Their sometimes difficult home lives? Naw. That doesn’t affect how a kid does at school.

No Child Left Behind, a federal education law that has driven schools to drastically narrow curriculum and use rudimentary standardized tests to measure how well kids are doing? Nope. Not an issue, nor is the fact that Duncan is largely continuing the NCLB practices that have been shown to be a failure.

Firing all the educators may sound bold to some, but it sounds sad and desperate -- not to mention ineffective -- to me.

There is no evidence that wholesale changes at schools makes a difference at schools, though it has been tried repeatedly in districts around the country -- even in Duncan’s Chicago public schools, which he ran for years before becoming education secretary.

As my colleague Nick Anderson noted in a Post story Duncan tried a lot of things during his more than seven years as Chicago chief: shutting down schools, hiring experts in turning around schools, and firing a lot of people. There results? To put it nicely, there was no Chicago miracle. Some schools improved, others didn’t.

That’s because grand gestures don’t work in improving schools. It would be nice if they did, but time and time again, we’ve learned they don’t. Making schools work is a hard, hard job. There is no one thing that you can blame; there is no single remedy that works for every school and school district.

Instead of trying to figure out where real changes could be made at Central Falls High, the powers that be there went ahead and did the desperate thing.

Let Duncan call them courageous. It sounds foolish to me. And the people who will most suffer? As usual, the kids.

h/t PPN

Wednesday Cartoon Fun: Not Dead Edition


CEP Recommendations

From the Center on Education Policy study, February 2010 (link):
Principle 5—Out-of-school influences: Consider broader social factors that affect students’ achievement and readiness for school.

Disadvantaged children as a group start school with an achievement gap. As they progress through the grades, their achievement continues to be shaped by social factors outside formal schooling, such as poverty, health and nutrition, parental education and involvement, access to high-quality child care and preschool, and availability of community resources for learning. Although ample research has corroborated the link between achievement and these other factors, federal policies hold elementary and secondary schools accountable for raising achievement and narrowing gaps with little attention to social factors.

As discussed in recommendation 10, federal efforts to promote educational equity and improve learning for all students must pay more attention to early childhood education, particularly for disadvantaged children, as well as to after-school, summer , and family educational programs. In addition, the federal role in education should be considered in the context of national efforts to address health care, economic and job security , and other social problems. If fashioned correctly and carried out well, a reformed health care system, for example, could improve student achievement by making children healthier and more ready to learn. Programs to reduce poverty and create good jobs could also help narrow achievement gaps because family income is one of the strongest predictors of students’ test scores.
h/t John Thompson


Teachers: Suck It

A great post from Edwize's Ron Isaac:
The Teaching Profession As Phoenix

Imagine that you have been a successful practicing pediatrician for many years and have retained your original idealism and smarts over all that time. You’re a great diagnostician with a “bedside manner” to match. You’ve sharpened your skills, deployed your intuition, kept up to speed on research and treatments, dog-eared your much-consulted Physicians’ Desk Reference, tapped the fruits of your experience, balanced empathy with detachment and volunteered pro bono to heal indigent patients who lack the means to fund the biannual new Lexus your peers expect you to drive. There have been no complaints and two generations of community residents swear by you.

Enter the inquisitors.

A pair of uninvited strangers possessing clipboards but not necessarily any scientific background, opens the door to your examination room while you’re pacifying a non-compliant infant. These visitors are there to check you out. It’s not unheard-of but rare that they introduce themselves. They take notes as you swab the babe’s cheek. At some point they leave. There’s something vaguely inconclusive and unsettling about their departure. You know you’ll hear from them again soon and you sense you’d rather not.

Days later you receive a letter containing some heavy evidence of your inadequacy:

1. The wallpaper in your examination room was not sufficiently picturesque, lacking the regulation blue/red/green balloon motif.
2. Your jar of tongue-depressors was not in its designated corner.
3. You violated Doctors College dictum by saying “Ah” when you should have said “Oh” upon discovering a rash.

This scenario is of course silly and unreal. It could never happen to doctors because they have reasonable autonomy in setting the conditions and direction of their livelihood. There’s is a profession not in name only. They are the acknowledged experts in their field and they police themselves. That’s also true of civil engineers. They design bridges and judge their structural integrity. Nobody would expert bakers to replace, much less supervise them.

Education is, alas, different, especially in this era of mal-reform. Teachers have relatively little control over their lives in the classroom, despite their impressive credentials. Despite this, most teachers have a “professional attitude” on the job, but that’s not the same as equating their job with a profession. One can have a “professional attitude” in one’s approach to stir-frying vegetables at a restaurant.

When the new breed of school managers and the think-tank pundits who love them say, “Act like a professional,” what they usually mean is that a teacher should abrogate their contractual right, such as due process, or a work rule, such as a duty-free lunch period. If they balk at being an “at-will employee,” it means they’re “unprofessional.” At least according to some (though not all) the twenty-somethings from the Leadership Infirmary.

Teachers are, on the whole, as diligent, creative, energetic and unselfish as any group of workers anywhere. But all of society would be better off if they were in overwhelming charge of the educational establishment on every level. Then the teaching profession would be born again.


Make It Better By Destroying It

From Fred Klonsky's blog about Illinois, but it might as well be about the whole country:
“We’ve work to do in the Shire now.”

While the sorry state of educational funding in Illinois has been getting most of the recent attention from the press, the corrosive policies of school district reform initiatives fly under the public’s radar. Editors and Superintendents have provided the dragons – test scores, failing students, bad teachers. As a result, legislators, with the passage of public act 96-0861, have armed district administrators with enhanced powers to destroy the dragons. And teachers find themselves in the dual role of both knights and dragons: in order to slay the dragons, they must attack themselves.

It is the Grand Collusion.

Too often editors are businessmen, while superintendents are politicians. Editors want to sell papers. Superintendents want to sell themselves. Their nexus is the public upon whose approval both depend. Both thrive on easy targets. Nothing sells papers like fear. High taxes, futureless children, and lazy teachers make nice dragons. Nothing sells a superintendent’s job like a response to these fears. Budget cuts, raised tests scores, and teacher-bashing make nice solutions.

Fear shapes the forum. Selling determines strategies.

I can almost forgive the legislators at this point. They’re politicians, but at least we know what kind of creatures they are. They’ll do the expedient thing like this recent reform that will tie student performance to teacher evaluations. Sounds like a plan. But, leaving the details to the devil, as this vague law has done, promises not a Race to the Top (whatever that is) as much as it guarantees a retreat to primitive ground. Much of what we’ve learned about the development of sentient beings will be jettisoned in favor of data-friendly practices (like test scores). This won’t help the millions of children who are being left behind. This won’t improve our public schools as engines of democracy. And it most certainly won’t deliver a compassionate and literate society. But, it will be measurable, with learning geared to the instruments of evaluation.

Coercion will corrupt the curriculum. And it will do so under the banner of reform.

An awful lot of educators and administrators are in a dragon slaying frenzy. I watch in frustration as millions of teacher hours and billions of taxpayer dollars are squandered on initiatives based upon unexamined or debunked assumptions about learning, all in the name of what is measurable. The fact that we are, in effect, assaulting public school education in the name of improving it is not lost on me. Which leads me to the title of this piece. It comes from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and it is a line that haunts me at most institute days. At the end of the book, the hobbits, having saved all of Middle Earth, return to their beloved home, the Shire, only to discover that it is being ruined, and that some hobbits are actually feeling progressive in turning a pastoral setting into a polluted wasteland. Their zeal and their goals have been harnessed by a malevolent power intent on destroying the Shire, but they are under the illusion that they are making a better world, even while they are destroying their homes. They even scorn and deride those who do not cooperate.

Collusion creates illusion.

There’s a lot of this in our own ranks now. Until we clear up this confusion in our own ranks, until we say these policies are no good for our children, for our futures, and for our communities, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top will continue unchallenged by the public, measured not by the scales of justice, but by the scales of dragons.

We’ve work to do now.

Sunday Cartoon Fun: No Nukes Edition

Admitting A Crime: Two Outcomes

Margolis' last point is especially important, since the former Vice-President of the United States is now going around the country telling people that he supports waterboarding and actively sought to use it when he was in office. Put differently, there is at least one member of the previous Administration walking around that is an admitted war criminal, although, to be sure, confessing to the elements of a war crime on television apparently does not, at least in this country, lead to any serious danger that one will actually be prosecuted for such crimes.

So, Dick Cheney can admit to a war crime on television, and nothing happens but cheers from the Right.

But, be a homosexual and admit to a mercy killing many years ago of your dying lover on television and get arrested.

Our priorities are all screwed up.

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