We're all talking a lot about CNBC today after the boffo drubbing Jim Cramer took last night on the Daily Show. As an aside, as big of a clown as Cramer has been and as wildly hyperbolic as many of his recent comments have were, I'll give the guy props[...]
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Here is a quick reminder of what has happened in this country:Corporations, banks, pundits and[...]
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I wonder what motivated the Chinese to say this:
The Chinese prime minister, Wen Jiabao, expressed unusually blunt concern on Friday about the safety of Chinas $1 trillion investment in American government debt, the worlds largest such holding, and urged the Obama administration to provide assurances that the securities would maintain their value in the face of a global financial crisis. . . . Mr. Wen said he was worried about Chinas holdings of United States Treasury bonds and other debt, and that China was watching economic developments in the United States closely. President Obama and his new government have adopted a series of measures to deal with the financial crisis. We have expectations as to the effects of these measures, Mr. Wen said. We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.
There obviously is a motivation for saying this - it is not in China's financial interest to cause concern for US debt. What are they after with this?
Speaking for me only
From the North Side Sun, covering Northeast Jackson, Madison, and Madison Mississippi:
Operating Costs CitedI eagerly await the time when the current economic collapse makes it impossible for Whites in the south (or anywhere, really) any longer to afford segregation, and their bigotry...
Most schools plan tuition increases
By Anthony Warren
Sun Staff Writer
Posted: 03/12/09 - 01:39:14 pm CDT
NORTHSIDERS will have to shell out more cash to keep their kids in private school. To meet the needs of ever-increasing operating costs and a desire to keep teachers' salaries competitive with their public school counterparts, many private schools are raising their fees and tuition for the 2009-10 school year.
Although no one argues that the tuition hikes are needed, private school officials have been faced with the dual challenges of making sure the increase will meet budgetary needs while keeping prices affordable to families affected by the current recession.
In a letter dated February 2, First Presbyterian Day School Head of School Gary Herring said that, because of the economy, "the school board unanimously passed a plan which provides for no increase in fees or tuition" for next year.
The school's Web site states that tuition for the 2008-09 school year was $4,400 for one elementary student, $8,800 for two, $13,200 for three, and $17,600 for four. For students entering kindergarten the cost was $3,750.
Also according to First Presbyterian's Web site, the activity and supply fee for each student is $300.
Of course, in that event, there is now an extensive and socially valorized network espousing and validating home schooling.
The reason public schools don't "work" (although they do, actually, at what they're really designed to do: think wholesale warehousing of excess commodities) is that they are funded to do only the absolute least for poor peoples' kids that well-to-do people can get away/live with. I know this from having sat in at legislative school finance committees in three "poor" states" Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.
And of course, the people who persist in sending their kids to private schools are mounting more and larger legislative initiatives to grant tax relief to private schoolers, thereby FURTHER impoverishing the public school system.
I am a fierce critic if USer "schooling." I draw much of my critique from reading and reflecting upon Freire, Giroux, Kohl, Kohn, Kozol, and others. Structurally and pedagogically its flaws are obvious to even the marginally well-informed observer. Its aims are restrictive and regressive, its structures are panopticly penal, and its outcomes--mainly, the alienation of the "students" from her/his own intellectual means of production)--are predictable.
But I always hesitate to agree with the folks who, seeing the corruption of the intention of public schooling by class interests intent on maintaining their privilege, call for its abolition. This is because I know as surely as the sun will "rise" tomorrow, no other institution capable of the emancipatory mission of the schools (no matter how badly betrayed) will ever be permitted to arise to replace the democratic structures and ideals that that the principle of public education embodies.
Just like there will never be another Glass-Steagal act, or another Fairness Doctrine. Just like the USofA will never NOT torture enemy combatants. The conditions of possibility for the initiation of such programs or laws no longer exist. There's no regaining virginity lost...
If there's a silver lining, it may be that there may soon be available some pretty nice campuses into which the public schools might expand, those belongong to private schools whose former parent group have gone broke protecting their kids from diversity...
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ThinkProgress has documented Michael Steele’s rocky start as chairman of the RNC, from attacking (and then quickly apologizing to) Republican party chief Rush Limbaugh, to flip-flopping on abortion. ThinkProgress editor Faiz Shakir went on MSNBC this afternoon and cited Steele’s string of failures:
SHAKIR: Looking at Michael Steele’s accomplishments here: He’s deceived the party on his views on choice; he’s shut down the GOP’s in-house think tank; he’s thrown out “slum love” to Bobby Jindal and one-armed midgets; he’s said it’s crazy for gay couples to join in civil unions; and then he lost the battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party to Rush Limbaugh. And this is the guy who the Republicans tell us is going to lead them out of the wilderness.
When asked how long he thought Steele would last as chairman, Faiz said, “I hope he stays around forever. … He’s great for comic relief.” Watch it:
Though some Republicans, including Mike Huckabee and Ken Blackwell, have gone public with their frustration with Steele, he insists he is not resigning: “Not me Baby! Nuh-uh. Not happening. No way, no how!”
According to the New York Times, President Obama is in a tough spot:
Just seven weeks into office, President Obama is being forced to confront one of the most sensitive social and political issues of the day: whether the government must provide health insurance benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.
In separate, strongly worded orders, two judges of the federal appeals court in California said that employees of their court were entitled to health benefits for their same-sex partners under the program that insures millions of federal workers.
But the federal Office of Personnel Management has instructed insurers not to provide the benefits ordered by the judges, citing a 1996 law, the Defense of Marriage Act. [...]
Now, Mr. Obama is in a tough spot. If he supports the personnel office on denying benefits to the San Francisco court employees, he risks agitating liberal groups that helped him win election. If he supports the judges and challenges the marriage act, he risks alienating Republicans with whom he is seeking to work on economic, health care and numerous other matters.
Let's repeat that last part:
If he supports the judges and challenges the marriage act, he risks alienating Republicans with whom he is seeking to work on economic, health care and numerous other matters.
So let me get this ... ahem ... straight: if the President honors his campaign pledge to "fight hard" for gay rights, he will alienate Republicans? And what would that look like? My guess is, exactly like the past 52 days.
But Gary Bauer warns:
... that if Mr. Obama extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers, he would “provoke a furious grass-roots reaction, reinvigorate the conservative coalition and undermine his efforts to portray himself as a moderate on social issues.”
Oh no! It will undermine how the President has portrayed himself? Does Mr. Bauer mean like when President Obama said:
When it comes to federal rights, the over 1,100 rights that right now are not being given to same sex couples, I think that’s unacceptable, and as president of the United States, I am going to fight hard to make sure that those rights are available.
It's not a tough spot at all.
McConnell knows he can deliver China's vote for sure
The Republicans know as well as anyone that Al Franken won the Minnesota Senate seat. But the national party-- not caring a hoot about Minnesota or Minnesotans, of course-- has an agenda that precludes allowing Franken from being seated. And smack darn in the middle of that agenda is their rapid hysteria about working people being able to form unions to negotiate with business interests. Al Franken is a supporter of the Employee Free Choice Act. His would be the 60th vote that would shut down the Republican obstructionist filibuster.
The 7-week trial for Coleman's frivolous lawsuit against Franken just ended and now the two parties will present their one-hour long closing arguments (today) and the judges will rule... soon. Miss McConnell isn't interested in what the judges have to say, since they are likely to rule against Coleman.
Instead he just wants to protract the process as long as possible to keep Franken from voting-- for Employee Free Choice and for other parts of Obama's agenda to rebuild the middle class which Republicans see-- and rightly so-- as the death-knell for their party's status as a viable, national political entity. McConnell is urging Coleman to appeal all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court so that it drags on for months more.
McConnell said he would urge Coleman to take his legal fight to the federal courts, which could delay the outcome of the Minnesota Senate race for several more months.
?I don?t know when this ends,? said McConnell. ?It seems endless at the moment.?
If the battle went all the way to the Supreme Court, the result could be a long delay.
Democratic leaders have said they expect the Minnesota Supreme Court to declare Franken, the Democratic challenger, the victor by the end of April.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the former chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told reporters earlier in the week that they are very optimistic about the prospect of Franken soon joining the Senate.
I wrote that I would not touch upon Cramerama again but Glenn Greenwald wrote such a good post that I can not avoid it. Glenn writes:
Today, everyone -- including media stars everywhere -- is going to take Stewart's side and all join in the easy mockery of Cramer and CNBC, as though what Stewart is saying is so self-evidently true and what Cramer/CNBC did is so self-evidently wrong. But there's absolutely nothing about Cramer that is unique when it comes to our press corps. The behavior that Jon Stewart so expertly dissected last night is exactly what our press corps in general does -- and, when compelled to do so, they say so and are proud of it.
At least give credit to Cramer for facing his critics and addressing (and even acknowledging the validity of) the criticisms. By stark contrast, most of our major media stars simply ignore all criticisms of their corrupt behavior and literally suppress it (even if the criticisms appear as major, lengthy front-page exposÚs in The New York Times).
More . . .
Glenn is referring to the scandal at NBC regarding its use of Barry McCaffrey as an "objective military analyst" on issues in which "he ha[d] a substantial (and concealed) financial stake." That outrageous behavior was by Brian Williams, the anchor of NBC, who also outrageously defended his behavior. Cramer at least demonstrated some remorse. Williams did not. He vehemently defended his serious breaches of journalistic ethics.
So enjoy the fun with Cramer, but the real journalist culprits are still running around playing the same games.
Speaking for me only
Big procedural news -- and if this blog believes anything, it's that there's no news bigger than procedural news -- out of the Senate today where eight Democratic senators signed onto a letter (more letters!) opposing the use of the reconciliation[...]
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Yesterday we noted a report by the New York Times about Rep. Maxine Waters' ties to OneUnited, a bank that got bailout money after Waters set up a meeting between Treasury Department officials and the heads of minority-owned banks, including OneUnited's CEO.
Now Waters is pushing back.
In a statement on her website, Waters asserts that the stories "revealed one thing: I am indeed an advocate for minority banks. Despite my public and consistent advocacy, news reports suggest that somehow I have acted improperly."
The full statement follows after the jump...
Statement by Congresswoman Waters Regarding Her Advocacy On Behalf of Minority and Community Banks
"I have been an outspoken advocate for minority communities and businesses in California and nationally for decades. Recent press reports have raised questions about my advocacy on behalf of minority banks. Ultimately, however, these articles only revealed one thing: I am indeed an advocate for minority banks.
"Despite my public and consistent advocacy, news reports suggest that somehow I have acted improperly.
"Let me set the record straight:
"The National Bankers Association (NBA), the leading trade organization which represents the interests of America's minority-owned banks, requested a meeting with Treasury Department officials last year as the financial crisis was unfolding, jeopardizing the health of banks large and small. It is important to clarify that this meeting was requested and scheduled on behalf of the NBA, not on behalf of OneUnited Bank as press reports suggest. The attached letter from NBA to Treasury indicates the intent of the meeting and the dire concern expressed by the association on behalf of its members (1). The NBA contacted Treasury directly just as other trade associations did, to request a meeting so that its members could discuss their concerns regarding the situations facing minority banks. I followed up on the association's request by asking Treasury Secretary Paulson to schedule such a meeting, as did other members of Congress. Secretary Paulson recognized that the NBA's concerns about the future of minority banks were valid and arranged for a meeting in early September.
"I did not attend the meeting, and thus did not participate in the conversation. Press reports of the meeting focus on concerns expressed on behalf of a single bank. However, NBA's follow up letter to Treasury, reiterates the organization's concerns about the fiscal health of its members generally (2).
"The press reports also perpetuate a misconception about the way in which funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) are distributed to banks requesting assistance. The Executive Branch administers TARP funds, not Congress. In particular, the Treasury Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) decide which financial institutions should receive funds. As reported, Treasury officials admit that the decision to distribute TARP funds to OneUnited Bank were based on the merits of the banks request, not based on anything said at the September meeting and not based on political influence. (Although both my supporters and detractors often refer to me as influential, the truth is that I had no influence on what Bush Administration officials in the Treasury Department or other departments did.)
"My husband Ambassador Sidney Williams, who has represented the United States as an Ambassador and has been a respected and active member of the Los Angeles community for many years, was asked to sit on the board of OneUnited Bank. This bank services our community and was the successor to the bank of which we had been customers at for many years. He accepted the position and did not accept any director's compensation for his work on behalf of the bank and the community it serves.
"Despite suggestions to the contrary, I have fully disclosed all of my financial interests in official filings. These filings included the stock my husband purchased upon joining OneUnited's board (it is required under Massachusetts law, where OneUnited is headquartered, that individuals hold stock in a bank before joining its board). Furthermore, Ambassador Williams is proud to be invested in a minority owned community bank that was given an "outstanding" lending rating from its regulator for its lending activity in underserved communities in Los Angeles, where traditional banks have refused to lend. I even took additional steps beyond what is required of Members of Congress when I voluntarily and publicly disclosed my husband's relationship with OneUnited during an October 30, 2007 Financial Services Committee hearing entitled "Preserving and Expanding Minority Banks."(3) Both the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of Thrift Supervision were present at this hearing.
"The federal government has a legal obligation to support minority banks, as explicitly stated in the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA). In particular, Section 308 of FIRREA insists that the federal government take an active role in the preservation of the number and nature of minority banks. I have previously worked to ensure that the government is held accountable in this regard, and I will continue efforts to promote the interests of minority banks. As recently as the 110th Congress, I exhibited my commitment through my participation in official Oversight hearings on minority banks, as well as the initiation of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on the effectiveness of mandated government assistance to minority banks.
"In addition to this focus on banks, I authored three separate provisions, two of which became law, to insure small, women and minority owned businesses could fully participate in federal contracting opportunities. Unfortunately, most Federal agencies have ignored minority participation laws and failed to make reasonable attempts to assist small, minority and women-owned banks and businesses as required by law.
"I maintain that my advocacy on behalf of small, women, minority and community banks is appropriate. I will continue to bank and do business with minority depository institutions and work on behalf of my constituents, and the institutions that serve them.