On Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy falsely claimed that a government report found students enrolled in Washington, D.C.'s Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), which awards vouchers to students to attend private schools, "performed better academically than students in the public schools" and claimed that Congress' defunding of the program is evidence that "the teachers union has a stranglehold on the Democratic Party." In fact, the report to which Doocy is presumably referring "found no conclusive evidence that the OSP affected student achievement overall."
Doocy: Students in D.C.'s OpportunityScholarship Program "performed better academically than students in thepublic schools." On the July 14 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Doocy claimed that"[a] new government education report shows that students enrolled in thefive-year Opportunity Scholarship Program down in Washington, D.C.,had a higher graduation rate and performed better academically than students inthe public schools. But despite the success, Congress has defunded -- killed --that voucher program." Doocy later claimed during a discussion with FoxNews contributor Tucker Carlson that Congress' defunding of the program"shows that the teachers' union has a stranglehold on the DemocraticParty."
Department of Education report: "[N]o conclusive evidence that the OSPaffected student achievement overall." Doocy is presumably referring to a "FinalReport" on the OSP -- released by the Department of Education in June -- that compared theacademic achievements of students who received scholarships through the OSP andstudents who applied for the program but were not awarded scholarships. Doocyis correct that the report stated that, according to parental reports, studentsenrolled in OSP graduated at higher rates than the students who applied for butwhere not awarded scholarships. However, contrary to Doocy's claim that the OSPstudents "performed better academically," the report actually "found noconclusive evidence that the OSP affected student achievement overall." The report also stated: "On average,after at least 4 years, students who were offered scholarships had reading andmath test scores that were statistically similar to those who were not offeredscholarships." Further, the report found that "[a]lthough some othersubgroups of students (female and higher achieving students) appeared to havehigher levels of reading achievement if they were offered a scholarship, thosefindings could be due to chance." The report also included a chart noting,"Average test scores show no significant difference for OSP students afterat least 4 years":
Study: "[S]tudents themselves rated schoolsatisfaction and safety the same whether they received a voucher or not." From the report's summary:
Overall, low-income students who were awarded vouchers to attendprivate schools through the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) wereperforming at similar levels in reading and math 4 to 5 years later as studentswho also applied to the OSP, but were not awarded scholarships. However,students awarded vouchers (and old enough to have graduated from high school)graduated at significantly higher rates than did their counterparts, accordingto parent reports. The OSP also had a positive impact on parents' satisfactionwith their child's school and their perceptions of the school's safety, butstudents themselves rated school satisfaction and safety the same whether they receiveda voucher or not.
To hear Sarah Palin tell it, she and her mama grizzlies are people-powered, grassroots examples of how Americans can get involved in politics. But a close look at SarahPAC's campaign finance report shows she spends her donations on the same old, standard consultants as every other politician. And like many others, she still finds ways to keep her inner circle in the money.
She pulled in just shy of $866,000 in donations from people hailing from Kissimmee, Florida to Rancho Palos Verdes, California. But Marylander Laurie Beitman's $35 and the bulk of Palin's small-dollar donations is going to more than Republican candidates the former Alaska governor wants to see win this fall. By our count, Palin spent nearly $400,000 on consultants, lobbying firms and the standard direct mail and fundraising firms politicians frequently use. (The AP had a stricter consulting tally, $210,000.) Just about the only maverick-style item she purchased was $4,000 worth of sausage.
Palin spent $30,000 on "consulting, national and international issues" with Randy Scheunemann's Orion Strategies, a lobbying firm representing foreign governments.
Then there's Rebecca Mansour's Aries Petra Consulting, which Palin paid $22,000 for "internet messaging" to write those infamous Palin Facebook messages. Politico describes Mansour as a "Los Angeles screenwriter and political neophyte whose creation of the popular cheerleading blog Conservatives4Palin endeared her to Palin's inner circle."
She paid NorthStar Strategies, the firm owned by her campaign body man and former Bush administration alum Jason Recher $36,000 for "logistics [and] political consulting."
Former press aide Meg Stapleton's IzzyLene Consulting received $2,500 for media consulting.
Palin paid $35,000 to Grey Strategies, a Columbus firm that helped her with media, logistics and political consulting. It appears to now be a newly merged firm called Grey Shockley, run by lobbyists Doug McMarlin and Leslie Beyer. According to Hotline on Call, McMarlin also travels with Palin.
True North L'Attitudes, a consulting firm created in February by an Anchorage woman named Robyn Engibous, got more than $10,000 for scheduling. Engibous, a former staffer for Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), also got almost $1,400 in reimbursements for office supplies and mileage.
Palin has made much of her personal wealth in speaking fees, which reportedly run up to $100,000 per speech. For speechwriting services this past quarter, her PAC paid $3,700 to Lindsay Hayes. Hayes wrote speeches for Palin during the presidential campaign; she also was a speechwriter for Sen. Stevens for several years.
SarahPAC gave another $5,000 for "clerical" work to Ivy Frye, a close confidant of Palin's who has been with her since her campaign for governor and who Palin hired as an aide in the governor's office. In addition to the $5,000, SarahPAC gave Frye almost $1,500 to reimburse her for postage and copies. In the first quarter of 2010, she paid Frye $15,000 for clerical work and more than $3,000 in reimbursement for printing and shipping costs.
The PAC also pays a $10,000 monthly legal retainer, totaling $30,000 for the quarter, to the Palin family lawyer, Thomas Van Flein. Van Flein was Palin's personal lawyer while she was governor, defending her against ethics complaints. He also represented Palin's daughter, Bristol Palin, when she tried to get child support from Levi Johnston earlier this year.
Check out our past coverage of Palin's "brain trust" of advisers here.
Yesterday, we told you that the Congressional office charged with protecting Capitol employees issued a report claiming they couldn't even contact the same employees they are supposed to protect. Someone, the report said, had blocked them from getting staffers' email addresses.
The Office of Compliance report appears to have done the job -- somewhat. The office will now have access to the House email system, so it can send employees information about their rights when it comes to workplace safety and harassment. In an email obtained by TPMmuckraker, the Committee on House Administration announced that it would help the OOC get out information through the system.
But the email doesn't detail how much access the OOC will have. A spokesman from the CHA did not return phone calls, and the OOC refused to comment.
The OOC yesterday declined to say which office blocked them from getting a list of staffers' email addresses. But a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner told Politico that it was former Chief Administration Officer Dan Beard, and used it to attack Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"It is ridiculous that Speaker Pelosi's hand-picked CAO, the recently-departed Dan Beard, blocked the Office of Compliance from communicating directly with House employees about the problems they face in the workplace through the House e-mail system," Michael Steel said. "Add that to the lengthy list of blunders we hope Speaker Pelosi's next pick for CAO won't repeat."
Immigrants in Utah are reportedly terrified after news outlets and state law enforcement agencies received a list containing 1,300 names of people allegedly in the country illegally.
The governor's office has ordered several state agencies to investigate the list, which includes detailed personal information, including birth dates, addresses and phone numbers. More strikingly, 31 of the names are accompanied by Social Security numbers. More than 200 children are listed, and so are the due dates of six pregnant women.
Nearly all of the names, according to local reports, are Latino.
A letter, signed "Concerned Citizens of the United States," accompanied the list and reads, in part, that the writer "observes these individuals in our neighborhoods, driving on our streets, working in our stores, attending our schools and entering our public welfare buildings."
Two anti-immigration groups, the Minutemen and the Utah Coalition on Illegal Immigration, have said they're not responsible for the list.
"There is absolutely no justification for anyone ... releasing private information to the public," the Coalition's Ron Mortensen told the Salt Lake Tribune. "If someone has done that and they're in violation of any state laws they ought to be held accountable."
A co-chair of the Minutemen, Eli Cawley, told the Tribune he disapproved of the list. But he also told a local radio station, "If you had a legitimate list that didn't unnecessarily or negligently point out citizens and legal residents, then I think that would serve the greater interest."
One immigration advocate, Tony Yapias, says he suspects a government employee sent out the list.
The governor has ordered the state office of information technology to investigate. Other offices, including the Health Department and Workforce Services, are also seeing whether the information could have come from their offices.
It's not clear whether the people named on the list are actually undocumented. One woman on the list, reached by local TV station KSL, said she's been a legal resident for years and is due to get her citizenship next month. Another person on the list, however, admitted to being in the country illegally.
Utah is considering an anti-immigration law similar to Arizona's.
The vampire was not Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister. – The New York Times The usual suspects are not the only ones being blamed, with someone finally rising from the PA ashes of Arafat. … It was Salam Fayyad, prime minister[...]
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Encourages Participation from Both Opponents
Ivy, VA--The Perriello campaign said today it has agreed to a televised debate to which all three candidates on the ballot have been invited. The debate, produced by WDBJ7 in Roanoke, will allow 5th district voters the opportunity to learn about the candidates' positions on major issues facing Virginia and the nation. Although Sen. Robert Hurt has switched his position on his willingness to debate third-party candidate Jeffrey Clark, the Perriello campaign--joined by a chorus of 5th district editorial pages of all ideological stripes--is urging participation from both opponents.
"There is no tradition more tried and true in our American democracy than the debate. Tom looks forward to informing the voters of his record of results, as well as to engaging with the other candidates about their ideas for how to improve competitive advantage in our local economy," said Lise Clavel, campaign manager for the Perriello campaign. "We urge Sen. Hurt and Mr. Clark to quickly agree to this debate so that 5th district voters may be best equipped to make an informed choice in November."
Sarah Palin, just another politician? Sarah Palin - Politics - United States - Republican - Parties[...]
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It was only a matter of time before the neo-cons set out to destroy anyone who differed in any way from their fanatical pro-Israel stance. In the ad above they have turned their fire towards Joe Sestak, for daring not to offer the correct amount of devotion.
But their real target is Obama for daring to get serious about forming a state of Palestine.
The Emergency Committee for Israel?s Leadership unites two major strands of support for the Jewish state: The hawkish, neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, many of whom are Jewish, and conservative Evangelical Christians who have become increasingly outspoken in their support for Israel. The new group?s board includes Weekly Standard Editor William Kristol and Gary Bauer, the former Republican presidential candidate who leads the group American Values, as well as Rachel Abrams, a conservative writer and activist.Jennifer Rubin thinks that this will cause the Democrats problems.
?We?re the pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community,? said Kristol.
Glenn Greenwald is today highlighting this myth that Jewish voters in America get turned off when an American president is perceived as being insufficiently pro-Israel.
Ambassador John Bolton comments via e-mail on the Emergency Committee for Israel:
I don?t understand why so many people accept the Obama Administration?s ritualistic recital of the pro-Israel catechism, rather than looking at its specific policies and actions. You can say ?unbreakable relationship? as many times as you want, but it has no real-world impact. I don?t see how anybody can object to a new group that simply points out the obvious disjunction between what Obama and his acolytes are saying and what they are actually doing.
Indeed. The reaction on the left will speak volumes about its sensitivity on just this point. Are the leftists pro-Obama?s-Israel-policy, or are they truly pro-Israel? There is a difference, one they?d rather not have highlighted, especially in an election year.
When The Washington Post hired torture advocate and low-level Bush propagandist Marc Thiessen as an Op-Ed columnist, it got exactly what it apparently wanted: a regular dose of falsehood-filled neoconservative tripe. But even by his own lowly standards, Thiessen outdoes himself today by hauling out one of the neocon Right's most disproven though still-favorite myths: that Jewish American voters are about to abandon Democratic politicians en masse because of their supposed lack of devotion to Israel. The Right spent all of 2008 spreading the myth that Obama had a "Jewish problem" because of his perceived unreliability on Israel, only for Obama to receive close to 8 out of 10 Jewish votes, even more than John Kerry received in 2004. That's because the dirty little secret of neocons is that the vast majority of Jewish American voters reject their worldview.This is a myth. Recent surveys of Jewish opinion show that Obama retains his popularity, even at this time, as he challenges Netanyahu over settlement building.
Consumer Reports has hit Apple again over the quality of the new iPhone 4. The antenna in the phone does not work and many calls are being dropped. (Above–A BRLESC-1 computer. It does not seem to be very portable. This computer was used by the Army in the early 1960′s.) At first Apple suggested that [...]
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Guillermo Fariņas, who made news and fans around the world for his more than four month-long hunger strike seeking the release of 26 ailing Cuban political prisoners, has suspended his strike on the news that Cuba will release not only the 26, but 52 political prisoners (who comprise all of the 75 dissidents still in prison, who were jailed in 2003 for collaborating with a hostile foreign power - the United States). Seven prisoners arrived in Spain this week, as a result of ongoing negotiations opened by the Roman Catholic Church in Cuba and of the Spanish government with Raul Castro himself. Fariņas, who was on death's door in his fifth month of his hunger strike, now believes that "we have a window of opportunity of which we should take advantage." He's openly called on the U.S. to respond by lifting its travel ban to Cuba. He's not alone among Cuba's democratic activists: scores of Cuba's most notable dissidents called on Congress to lift the ban in a letter sent last month.
At the same time, a new poll of Cuban American attitudes conducted by the University of Miami shows that two-thirds of that community now supports lifting the travel ban as well. The poll, taken earlier this month, tracks previous poll trends, even though Cuban Americans now enjoy nearly unrestricted rights to travel to Cuba whenever they want. It also shows that the community is evenly split among Republicans, Independents and Democrats, a trend that could favor Governor Charlie Crist's Senate bid. Among all Americans, an earlier poll found 70% percent favor lifting the travel ban.
Add to these statistics, and the calls from within the Castro government's toughest critics on the island, intensifying pressure from influential local and national trade and agriculture groups (which you can read about in today's New York Times), as well as U.S. religious and human rights groups, all of whom want an end to U.S. travel restrictions, and you have to ask yourself, what reason exactly would any member of Congress have left to stick with an ineffective policy so firmly rooted in the Cold War?
-- Anya Landau French