Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday's papers

These two headlines in Sunday's Trib say it all

Spending bill OKd with billions for automakers

Citing cost, USDA kills pesticide-testing program

The view from the right

George Will
on McCain, in WaPo:

For McCain, politics is always operatic, pitting people who agree with him against those who are "corrupt" or "betray the public's trust," two categories that seem to be exhaustive -- there are no other people.

Battle of the right-wing think tanks

There’s a battle raging within and among the right-wing think tanks that should have a familiar ring in the midst of the current financial crisis and bailout debate. The traditional free-market conservative “choice” strategy which focuses on vouchers for private schools has been under siege since neocons took over the DOE and control of the massive education budget 8 years ago. Now there’s a push on the right for a strategic shift away from reliance on vouchers.

The new choice plan, put forth by former voucher supporters like Manhattan Institute’s Sol Stern, AEI’s Frederick Hess, and Fordham’s Mike Petrilli calls instead, for massive investment in privately-managed charter schools, including Catholic schools that reinvent themselves as public charters. Like the government bailout of the investment banks, this plan would take the financial risk out of school privatization while still banning collective bargaining rights for teachers.

However, it seems that my old friend—‘70s radical turned darling of the ultra-right—Howard Fuller, is still hanging on to the old voucher strategy. I guess the Bradley Foundation just won’t let go. The worst part is, Fuller is still equating public education with slavery and turning Harriet Tubman into a voucher advocate. If public schools can’t be reformed says Fuller (blame it on unions) than vouchers become Tubman’s underground railway.

So, it’s a stretch.

Tilson sells us short again

If any of you out there are worried about this bailout fiasco, stop. You’re only “suffering from delusions.” The bailout is actually “a win-win.” At least that’s what hedge-fund-operator-turned-school-reformer Whitney Tilson (“A win-win for the tax-payers”).

He assures us that we are bound to make out on this deal. Thanks Whitney. I'm already planning to spend my dividend check on my mortgage payment to Washington Mutual. Can't wait.

Tilson is also the money man behind Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), the main organization promoting school vouchers and union busting within the Democratic Party. More “win-win” ideas, I suppose.

Here's what I wrote about Tilson and his Ownership Society school entrepreneurs in June, 2007.

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