This Week’s Greatest Hits, aka, starred in my RSS reader

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State at 10:39 am by wcnews

The Way We Were?: The Myths and Realities of America’s Student Achievement.

According to conventional wisdom, American public schools have suffered a terrible decline and are in need of dramatic reform. Today’s high school students, it is alleged, display an ignorance of things that every elementary student knew a generation ago. American business leaders warn that rising illiteracy and “innumeracy” threaten our competitiveness in the global marketplace. Political scientists worry that poor schooling is undermining the very foundations of our democracy as American adults exercise their citizenship on the basis of dumbed-down sound-bites. But are things really that bad? What evidence are these criticisms based on, and does it hold up under examination?

What the right won’t admit about Reagan.

“He’s a tax-raiser, an amnesty-giver, a cut-and-runner, and he negotiated with terrorists,” Stark continued. “Why is he a hero to conservatives?”

Perry criticizes Combs’ handling of Amazon.
What I learned from hanging out with deficit hawks.

TPJ: Let’s Cut Coporate Welfare First.

Is the electricity market failing Texans

GOP: $1.6 billion for EPA bad but $4 billion for Big Oil is good

Whistling Past Dixie

Katrina Vanden Heuvel: Neocons Have a Hard Time With Democracies That Emerge From Within a Country

Dear Keith Olbermann

There’s no sunshine here — it’s a rainy day

Krugman: The Republican spending cuts will ‘eat the future’

Robert Kuttner: ‘This is a 30-year Process of Income Distribution Becoming More Unequal’

Well super elites may not vote, but super elites fund campaigns and that is why they have so much disproportion influence. I have to take exception to the idea it’s always the middle class that gets whacked. The middle class was getting whacked long before this recession. This is a 30-year process of income distribution becoming more unequal. We need to turn that around and we need to persuade congress to invest in America, to invest in the skills of workers and have a different trade policy. That is not protectionism.

Germany has the highest wage cost in the world. And it also has the highest export surplus in the world because German elites care whether they still make things in Germany. American elites don’t seem to care whether we do. Now Obama needs to reach out to public opinion as well as to the Chamber of Commerce to change those perceptions and those policies and those national goals.

On the promotion of irresponsibility.

The reality is that while the budget cuts are draconian and short sighted, they are necessary given the public’s largely dumb attitude toward taxation. We have for years been living hand to mouth and people have continuously demanded lower taxes rather than increased wage growth. In Texas, we have a tax base that is largely dependent on high employment and a good economy (we really have neither right now). As a result, when there is a recession the Texas budget doesn’t just get hurt, it gets bodyslammed by a 400 lb Sumo with really bad breath.

The revenge of trickle-down economics.

Both sides agree that government spending will continue to follow the old “trickle down” theory, despite its failure to date. Massive federal outlays on the largest banks, insurance companies and selected other large corporations produced a “recovery” for them, but not in the rates of unemployment, home foreclosures and state and local austerity budgets that keep crippling the US economy. Federal largesse has yet to trickle down, but both parties proceed on the assumption that it eventually will. Neither party tallies the economic and social costs of massive unemployment, home loss and state and local austerity budgets. Neither party offers any alternative to “trickle down”, as if no alternative exists or is worth debating.

Yet, of course, there are alternatives.

In the 1930s, capitalism’s last major global breakdown, then President Roosevelt eventually pursued the alternative “bubble up” theory. Between 1934 and 1940, he created and filled 11m federal jobs with unemployed workers. Their incomes enabled them to maintain mortgage payments and buy goods and services that provided jobs to millions of others and profits to many US businesses. That alternative to trickle-down economics did not suffice to overcome the Great Depression. However, it certainly alleviated more of the economic damage and individual suffering of that breakdown than Bush’s and Obama’s trickle-down economics have achieved in this one.

Then, too, there is the alternative of taxing corporations and the rich to finance federal stimulus without huge deficits and increasing costly national debts. That alternative is even more taboo in Washington than a bubble-up government employment programme.

ERCOT chief says planning took place before power outages.

Grand Bargains Are Anti-Democratic.

The point of “grand bargains” between the parties isn’t to get something done, the point is to get something done in a way which leaves no one for voters to blame. It’s accountability free legislating. Villagers love this, because they hate this whole voting thing and just want Bob Kerrey and Alan Greenspan to rule by fiat in order to make the poor and middle class suffer as much as possible without any resistance, but it means the rest of us are out of luck.

Texas Rep. Workman files resolution to abolish certain federal agencies.

Public Citizen testifies on rolling blackouts in Texas Senate, Fraser threatens re-regulation.

Slash Mob: Secret Senate Gang Weighing Budget Cuts.

Obama and the GOP: United Against the Working Poor.

Jeffrey Sachs on the Budget: “Do we really have to have our own Egypt here in the United States?”

This is astonishing. Jeffrey Sachs manages to speak candidly about what is going on about the Obama budget cuts and related politics on an MSM outlet. To put it mildly, this is a marked contrast with his prior stance on liberalization of financial markets and development.

Any questions?

So let us get this straight: The government should keep its hands off my money, but put it all over my uterus. We want all the poor babies to be born, regardless of whether or not their parents are able to care for them, and whether or not there are any people wanting to adopt them. But when those babies grow up and end up in the prison system, (that, incidentally, makes the government and big business a whole lot of money), we have no problem pressing the button on them in the electric chair. Got it.

How Anonymous stole 75,000 emails from a corporate ‘security’ firm and exposed a plot to destroy WikiLeaks allies.

Eric Alterman: Why Is Deficit Reduction At The Top Of Obama’s Budget Agenda?

Whether liberals wish to defend Obama or give up on him pretty much depends on whether they have already decided to give up or keep defending him. It’s the same argument as always, which is “yes it stinks, but have you seen what those other guys want?” True, but other guys always manage to get more of what they want in the end. For instance, Obama proposes to cut oil and gas tax incentives: by $46 billion over 10 years and use that money for research and development into greener and more efficient means of energy production. Atlantic Monthly writers suggest this should “please progressives.” But where in the document does Obama explain how he is going to get one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington to lie down and die for the sake of plowing the money back into research and development support? And even if they did—which, I repeat, IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN—a measly $4 billion a year is nowhere near enough to make clean energy available the quantities needed to prevent dangerous climate chaos from taking place.

Grand Bargain Would Be Tilted Toward Spending Cuts.

Dirty GOP: The Republican Plan To Abolish The EPA.

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