Category Archives: Economics and Class

Kiersten Marek:

Don’t be fooled by the Change.org petition by Students First — it’s a scam for the corporate-funded reform movement.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

A reader submitted this post:

http://backburner-nkk.blogspot.com/2011/08/ive-been-conned.html

It tells the now-familiar story of how an unwary person was conned by Michelle Rhee’s Students First. The reader was going through her email, and along came a “puppies-and-kittens” petition from Change.org, and “Click!”

Too late: “And suddenly, there it was…the wolf in sheep’s clothing, the Trojan horse of all Trojan horses: Join the Fight to Save Great Teachers,  a petition initiated by Students First, the education policy lobby run by faux education expert, Michele Rhee.  Remember her?  The mythologized Bee Eater who got results in the Washington, D.C. schools, and then quickly ducked out when her mayoral patron was evicted from office?

This blogger was repentant but not fooled:

Here’s what Students First says they’re for which sounds a lot like “kittens and puppies” at first blush:
  • Elevating the teaching profession by valuing teachers’ impact on students;
  • Empowering parents with real choices and…

View original 367 more words

$3.65/hr in 1970 = $14.60 in 2012, but we’ll Settle for $7.75

RI Future reports that the General Assembly voted to increase the minimum wage.

While it’s far short of a living wage– taking into account the high cost of housing just as an example, it’s a good move. For all you out there who sweated at a press all summer for $3.65/hr and met people who worked in the factory for decades– remember that now, as then, some of the most essential work is underpaid. Rhode Island’s industry has moved to China, but we still need workers. You can’t outsource elder care.

If you buy into the myth that ‘job creators’ are financiers and stock traders, you will gripe about the lavish $0.35/hr raise for people doing the toughest jobs. If you value an economy that attracts good workers to the state you will see this as a baby step in the right direction.

Interview with Sheldon Whitehouse at Netroots Nation 2012

Short interview with Sen. Whitehouse in which he extolls the virtues of Netroots Nation, appreciates the value of the Occupy Movement, and talks about his efforts to keep funding for wellness and health. He also talks about his phone conversation with President Obama following the Buffet Rule vote in the Senate, and how the fight is not over to change our tax policies to support the middle class.

Stephen King: Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake! – The Daily Beast

If only more people could cut through the right-wing “protect the rich” talking points like Stephen King, we might actually have a strong middle class again.

Stephen King: Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake! – The Daily Beast.

Not Above the Law

This case needs a day in court–

Michael Appleton for The New York Times
A judge has rejected Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s claim of diplomatic immunity in his effort to dismiss a civil suit filed by a hotel housekeeper who claimed that the French leader had sexually assaulted her.

Justice Douglas E. McKeon of State Supreme Court in the Bronx characterized Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s attempt to claim diplomatic immunity as “his own version of a Hail Mary pass,” noting that he had resigned from his position as the head of the International Monetary Fund when the suit was filed.

Justice McKeon cited Nafissatou Diallo’s right to clear her name, and certainly the media trial was a poor substitute for justice.

Read the rest at The New York Times.

American Education: Brought to You by Corporate Giant Pearson

Here’s a telling quote from an article by Gail Collins:

An American child could go to a public school run by Pearson, studying from books produced by Pearson, while his or her progress is evaluated by Pearson standardized tests. The only public participant in the show would be the taxpayer.

via A Very Pricey Pineapple – NYTimes.com.

You have to wonder about the dangers of the growing control of corporations when you read stuff like this.

Question for Mitt Romney

The Numbers

Ed Kilgore at the Washington Monthly reports that the Romney campaign has a new slogan, “Obama Isn’t Working”.

Job loss and a weak economy are affecting almost all of us. We who feel fairly secure in our jobs have children, friends, relatives who are out of work.

I am one of those who wanted President Obama to start a new WPA, to make the banks accountable, to break up monopolies so that in future we will not be held hostage by private corporations that have grown ‘too big to fail’.

NYT columnist Gail Collins said that Barack Obama promised to bring us together, but he didn’t promise to bring us together in left field. Clearly we elected a moderate.

Given that, I have never in my lifetime seen such hostility to a president. That includes Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush. Barack Obama had to show his birth certificate. He is constantly accused of being socialist and faces a divided Congress. The economic recession is worldwide– as you will notice if you watch the stock market freak every time something happens in Greece or China. Even if Barack Obama had inherited a surplus and a peace dividend, we would be facing some rocky times.

Of course, that was not the case.

President Obama inherited an economic crisis, two foreign wars, and a Congress with a slim Democratic majority formed by coalitions of widely differing constituencies.

We do not have the job growth we need, but the graph shows what we were up against after 8 years of President Bush.

My question for Mitt Romney– ‘Republicans held the White House for 8 years. Clearly their economic policies weren’t working. What would a President Romney do differently from President George W. Bush?’

That is the question to ask.

Soul Food Junkies

Hate to feel like I’m just a cut-and-paste blogger, so I want to mention that I enjoyed a local screening of ‘Soul Food Junkies’. Byron Hurt, the documentary maker, came to Rhode Island and showed his film at Miriam Hospital to health care workers, and later at an event open to the public at the Cathedral of Life Christian Assembly in Olneyville.

The film is an impressive balancing act– recognizing the centrality of food as culture, family and comfort– and the pleasure it brings. Also presenting the evidence that an un-balanced diet will take years off your life.

‘Soul Food Junkies’ was selected to show on PBS, date to be announced.

This short post is a taste, a larger portion will follow.

BREAKING: Bush Opposes Taxing the Rich

What a surprise.  George Bush wants all the tax breaks to stay in place for the 1%.  “Leave capital in the treasuries of the job creators,”  he says in the article linked below.  Here’s a concept:  what about letting the middle class be job creators?  What about helping small businesspeople feel economically strong enough to expand and carry out a plan that would involve employing other people?  That would mean the wealthy paying a little more in taxes so that the middle class could see some relief.  The Buffet Rule legislation could move us in that direction.  But first, a word from our primary sponsor of the Great Recession:  Bush wishes his name wasn’t attached to tax cuts – Apr. 10, 2012.

Why is Youth Sports on the Decline?

Talking with a Cranston dad after church, he mentioned that our local Little Leagues are taking a hit in terms of enrollment, and have a smaller batch of teams this year.  I wondered if the trends went further than just Cranston and found this article:  Participation in youth sports on the decline | SouthCoastToday.com.  As you can see from the stats cited,  nationally baseball little leagues are down by 24% since 2000.  Basketball has also seen a reduction in numbers by about 9%.  Soccer is on the rise, and hockey looks like it is exploding.  But still, the overall numbers are down, since hockey is a relatively smaller sport than baseball or basketball.

So what gives?  Are we just a couch potato society where kids would prefer to stay home and play Nintendo and Wii?  Is it the competition from other activities like karate and drama clubs?  Or is this a result of families in the middle class simply not having the resources, especially since the economic collapse of 2008, to put toward their children’s athletic development?

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