Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for June 12th, 2009

Speaking Of Conservative Screechings

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 12, 2009

Just as national conservatives screeched against the release of the DHS terrorism report because it dared mention right-wing domestic terror, local conservatives are screeching against a report by MN2020 showing, among other things, that 83% of 145 local charter schools have at least one financial irregularity and that while charter schools take in tax dollars, they are not subject to the same accountability rules as regular public schools:

The conservatives swarmed like angry bees. Chief among the angry bees has been the Charter School Partners of Minnesota, a low-key but apparently well-funded nonprofit organization. CSP advocates for high-quality charter schools and, in their mission statement, declare that “[we] believe there are no excuses for poor performance.”

So, how did CSP Executive Director Al Fan react to our report? He declared that our founder is “a playground bully.” I addressed this issue last week and, given their reaction’s stridency, thought that CSP had said its piece and returned to not excusing charter schools for poor performance. Fan’s aspirational Twin op-ed certainly suggested his organization’s desire to lift all flagging charter school boats. Then, I read his Winona Daily News op-ed.

It is, if anything, uglier and more mean-spirited than his June 2 press conference performance. Minnesota 2020’s report may be many things but it is not “specious” nor is it “fabricated from whole cloth.” Four of five Minnesota charter schools have at least one financial red flag raised by their own auditors; we just added up the number of red flags and reported those numbers to the public. It’s a matter of public record, albeit a not-entirely-conveniently-accessible public record stored in the Minnesota Department of Education’s basement.

By attacking Minnesota 2020 in this fashion, Charter School Partners is making excuses for poor performance. That’s unfortunate because Minnesota’s students need every opportunity to succeed in school. In the future, let’s hope that conservative educational policy groups develop more than two stock responses to any situation. Choosing between fairy dust and vitriol is no real choice at all.

Ah, but you’re threatening the livelihoods of these folks. They’re afraid you’re going to take away their limited-accountability sugar teat! They want to keep getting our tax dollars.

This follows hard on the heels of the StarTribune‘s reporting on financial hanky-panky (to the tune of over a million bucks) committed at one local charter school.

Posted in conservativism, education, gravy train, greed, Minnesota | 6 Comments »

Release The Report!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 12, 2009

As you all know, the Department of Homeland Security was on the verge of releasing a report, requested during the Bush administration, that dared discuss the dangerous role of right-wing terrorist groups in America.

Upon well-orchestrated squawking by various right-wing entities, the report was officially suppressed — just as a wave of right-wing violence hit the nation. PFAW has a petition out calling for DHS head Janet Napolitano to release the report. You know what to do.

Posted in DHS, rightwing moral cripples, terrorism | Comments Off on Release The Report!

Baltic subprime

Posted by Charles II on June 12, 2009

Nouriel Roubini is best known for having calling the financial crash not in general terms, but in great specificity. He even got the start date of the recession right months before NBER called it. Past results are no guarantee of future performance, but he’s definitely worth a read. His concern: Latvia could bring down the the world economic system.

That’s an oversimplification, of course. But he has pointed out that there are a lot of wobbly dominoes in Eastern Europe, with Latvia teetering. Their problem: their currency is pegged to prevent external debts (which are held in foreign currencies) from exploding. If they float their currency, payments on those debts balloon. If they don’t float their currency, their domestic economy crashes and the same end result is obtained by deflation.

Which banks are on the hook in Latvia? Sweden’s. And which trading partners stand to lose the most if Latvia goes down? Lithuania and Estonia, both of which are also Swedish clients. And if there is a broader regional bump downward? Austria and other banks from central Europe are at risk. If northern Europe has a serious financial crisis, the global recession will be extended.

Posted in financial crisis | 2 Comments »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on June 12, 2009

Flexible cat is flexible.

Alexander - Friday Cat Blogging (2) - 06-12-09


Alexander - Friday Cat Blogging - 06-12-09

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | 6 Comments »

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