Thursday, August 25, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: John Oliver Slams Charter Schools and His Critics Totally Miss the Point


Jeff Bryant
John Oliver Slams Charter Schools and His Critics Totally Miss the Point
Earlier this week, British comedian John Oliver devoted a “Back to School” segment on his HBO program "Last Week Tonight" to examining the rapidly growing charter school industry and what these schools are doing with our tax dollars. ... None of Oliver’s critics seriously refuted the crux of his argument that there might be something fundamentally wrong by design, rather than by implementation or intent, with the idea that a “free market” of privately operated and essentially unregulated schools is a surefire way to improve education opportunities for all students.

Hillary Clinton vs. the 'Alt-Right'

Hillary Clinton to put the focus on Donald Trump’s embrace of the “alt-right.”
From Reuters: “Aides said Clinton will link Trump’s statements about immigration and religion to the rise of a political fringe movement in the U.S. known as the “alternative right”, which opposes multiculturalism and immigration. … “Trump’s newly installed brain trust,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said in a statement, “completes Donald Trump’s disturbing takeover of the Republican Party.””
“When Trump Met Mr. Brexit—the Alt-Right Coalition Goes Global.” From John Avlon at Slate: “Trade “Britain First” for “America First” and you get a clear sense of the continuity between conservative populists on both sides of the pond.”
The New Republic on “Hillary Clinton’s Alt-Right Dillemma”: “There’s a sensible adage online: “Do not feed the trolls.” Trolls live off attention, so if you respond to them, they get more energized. The problem is, if you leave trolls alone you run the risk of letting them poison public discourse unabated. Clinton has decided to take the issue head on.”

Reality in Donald Trump's Empire

Time magazine probes “What Donald Trump Knew About Undocumented Workers at His Signature Tower.” “For 36 years, Trump has denied knowingly using undocumented workers to demolish the building that would be replaced with Trump Tower in 1980. … But thousands of pages of documents … contain testimony that Trump sought out the Polish workers when he saw them on another job, instigated the creation of the company that paid them and negotiated the hours they would work. The papers contain testimony that Trump repeatedly toured the site where the men were working, directly addressed them about pay problems and even promised to pay them himself, which he eventually did.”
Mother Jones examines Trump’s claim that he hired lots of women executives. His casino records say otherwise. “In filings from 1996 to 2008, we identified 59 executives (not including Trump himself). Of those, six were women—10 percent of the total. None of these six served on the THCR [Trump Hotel and Casino Resorts] or TER [Trump Entertainment Resorts] board of directors.”

Bernie Sanders Kicks Off 'Our Revolution'

Bernie Sanders launches ‘Our Revolution’ with electoral targets. The Washington Post’s David Weigel and John Wagner reports: “For a full hour, Sanders told an audience in Burlington, Vt. — and tens of thousands of online viewers — that they had moved the center of American politics to the left, and could join him in backing “over a hundred candidates” and “seven key ballot initiatives” around America. But the announcement was preceded by two days of negative stories about how Our Revolution will actually work, and grumbling about how Sanders has spent his political capital.”

Racism Unmasked

Kansas family told “This neighborhood does not need any blacks in it.” “Nancy Wirths, 49, told NBC affiliate KSNW that she pulled an anonymous note from her mailbox Monday in northern Wichita from someone who claimed to be a disgruntled neighbor forced to flee his home. … ‘We have noticed that there are some black children at your residence. … This neighborhood does not need any blacks in it. There is a reason for the saying, ‘The other side of the tracks.’ That is where these people belong.'”
A senior United Nations official calls out ‘blunt discrimination’ by police and ‘crisis levels’ of racism. “Maina Kiai … is the U.N.’s special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and his trip last month was meant to examine how Americans handle protests. … “The focus of my mission was not race or discrimination,” he said in his statement, a prelude to a fuller report expected next year. “But it is impossible to discuss these rights without issues of racism pervading the discussions.””

Case For Public Spending

Federal Reserve emphasizes need for more public spending. “The Fed’s annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Yellen speaks on Friday, is due to focus on how to improve central banks’ “toolkit,” but the unanimous message from the Fed’s top policymakers is that those tools are not enough. … Fed vice chair Stanley Fischer said … it was up to the administration to invest more in infrastructure and education.”
Infrastructure spending needs to be coupled with an equity agenda, says director of the Partnership for Working Families. “In order to create an ambitious infrastructure program that rebuilds the country’s systems and provides opportunity, America’s next president will need to apply an equity frame to the entire program. That means critically considering the impact of projects on communities and getting their input early on in the process. That also means smart planning to ensure that the program creates good jobs and opportunities for those who need them the most.”

Breakfast Sides

New York Times says Republicans are gaining in voter registrations in key states. “The gains made by Republicans since 2012 have been especially sharp in North Carolina and Florida. … [But the] number of registered Democrats and Republicans might not be a critical factor in this election. Since 2012, more voters have chosen not to register for either party.”
David Corn at Mother Jones tries to answer “The Question No One’s Asking About the Clinton Foundation.” “There may have been a need for a better firewall between Clinton and the foundation when Clinton was the nation’s top diplomat, but the AP article [that she met several dozen times with donors to the Clinton Foundation] focused on a small issue and skipped a bigger subject: assessing what the Clinton Foundation has accomplished. And there may be a good reason why much of the coverage of the foundation has zeroed in on side matters, because it’s darn hard to evaluate what the meganonprofit has done.”
California Gov. Jerry Brown to sign sweeping new climate legislation. “Environmental advocates and clean energy companies have pushed the proposals as a major step forward for California, which has been touted as an international example for tackling global warming. Oil companies and some manufacturers fought the legislation, warning of higher costs and out-of-control regulators.”

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