Late last month, over 100 teachers, students, and parents from across the country gathered in Denver for the United Opt Out National Spring Action, a conference aimed at growing the resistance to corporate education reform and high stakes standardized testing across the nation. Throughout the weekend, the education activists brainstormed and planned in area-focused work groups, interspersed with talks from, among others, a Finnish teacher and education scholar, a parent turned education activist, and a high school senior. All of it revolved around one central theme: organizing resistance to the global corporate education reform movement. Continue Reading »
Taxpayers are paying billions of dollars for a swindle pulled off by the world’s biggest banks, using a form of derivative called interest-rate swaps; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has now joined a chorus of litigants suing over it. According to an SEIU report:
Derivatives . . . have turned into a windfall for banks and a nightmare for taxpayers. . . . While banks are still collecting fixed rates of 3 to 6 percent, they are now regularly paying public entities as little as a tenth of one percent on the outstanding bonds, with rates expected to remain low in the future. Over the life of the deals, banks are now projected to collect billions more than they pay state and local governments – an outcome which amounts to a second bailout for banks, this one paid directly out of state and local budgets.
It is not just that local governments, universities and pension funds made a bad bet on these swaps. The game itself was rigged, as explained below. The FDIC is now suing in civil court for damages and punitive damages, a lead that other injured local governments and agencies would be well-advised to follow. But they need to hurry, because time on the statute of limitations is running out. Continue Reading »
“We provide armed response,” according to a Montana militia member named Jim Lordy. Lordy traveled to Nevada in order to support a local rancher for believes that he should not have to follow federal court orders. When he arrived there, he told a local reporter that “[w]e need guns to protect ourselves from the tyrannical government.” Continue Reading »
You’d think it was the Koch Brothers’ birthday.
Today, the Supreme Court predictably ruled in favor of the wealthy in McCutcheon v. FEC. Prior to this ruling, a wealthy donor was limited to a cap of $123,200 per federal election cycle. Now, that same donor can give more than $3.5 million.
The influence wealthy donors have over our democracy is greater than ever before. This decision comes just days after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo failed to pass public financing of elections in his state.
Petition language to Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Anthony Kennedy:
“The McCutcheon decision is yet another blow to our democratic process. The corrosive and corrupting influence of campaign cash on our democracy is obvious. Overturning Citizens United is the first step towards real reform. Until then, here’s a robe for you to wear complete with corporate logos so you can at least be forthright about whose side you’re really on.”
The education privatizers are trying to convince us that parental ‘choice’ will solve all the problems in our schools. But the choice they have in mind is to dismantle a once-proud system of education that was nurtured and funded by a society of Americans willing to work together.
The wealthiest among us seem to have forgotten how important it is to cooperate, as most Americans did in the post-WW2 years, in order to forge new paths of productivity and inventiveness. A vibrant society makes great individuals, not the other way around. Education must be at the forefront of such cooperative thinking. Here are four good arguments for it. Continue Reading »
The Tennessee Senate passed a bill last week that, if approved, would broadly ban mass transit projects in the region, an anti-transit effort that’s gotten some help in the state from Charles and David Koch.
On Thursday, the Tennessee Senate passed SB 2243, which includes an amendment that “prohibits metropolitan governments and any transit authorities created by a metropolitan government from constructing, maintaining or operating any bus rapid transit system using a separate lane, or other separate right-of-way, dedicated solely to the use of such bus rapid transit system on any state highway or state highway.” The amendment is aimed at Nashville’s proposed $174 million rapid bus system called the Amp, but would apply to any mass transit system proposed in Tennessee’s cities. Continue Reading »
Kobe Bryant Wasn’t Impressed by Miami’s Trayvon Martin Protest
by Jamilah King
In the March 31 edition of the New Yorker there’s a great profile of Kobe Bryant by Ben McGrath. In it, Bryant talks about aging out of his Hall of Fame career with the Los Angeles Lakers, and how he thinks his fame is “pretty fucking cool” for a kid who grew up in Italy and moved to suburban Philly as a teenager.
Throughout his career, Bryant’s been talking about as an outsider, specifically when it comes to being the most famous in the world in a sport that’s overwhelmingly black. It’s given him a politically moderate stance on things, which was on display when McGrath brought up the subject of LeBron James posting a photo online of the Heat players dressed in hoodies in solidarity with Trayvon Martin.
I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m Continue Reading »
First HSBC, the NYC-based bank disallows customers from withdrawing ‘large amounts’ without a ‘good reason’ and now Danske bank has confirmed that more than 15,000 current accounts will be terminated within 48 hours. That means that up to 10,000 people might find their funds frozen in a bank account, unable to access them. Even customers who already started the transfer process to try to get their funds to another institution are finding they are ‘locked out.’
The bank blatantly admits that “Yes, some will be locked out of their accounts.” First the bank said it would be closing the accounts, and then it said that it would allow customers to use ATM and debit cards over the weekend before shutting them out. Starting Monday – the cards would no longer work, and ATM machines would not operate.
Irish Independent newspaper was contacted about this chaotic and brazen use of financial power. Under Central Bank rules, customers are supposed to agree on a date of transfer when banks are closing down or changing their policies, not have it imposed upon them, and certainly not have their money ‘frozen’ and inaccessible.
Furthermore, customers claim that Danske wasn’t answering the phone when they heard the news of the bank shut-down, and were unable to request a transfer of funds. Another Danske bank customer said that the original dates which the bank date for transfers from their accounts to new banks were much longer, and Danske later changed them, shortening them considerably.
The Denmark based bank reported profits from core activities in excess of €1.5 billion last year. At the latest inquiry the bank confirmed that it had 15,000 current account customers, but 9,000 people had yet to close their accounts.
I wonder where all the money went?
A second juror from the Michael Dunn trial has broken her silence, and she reiterated the belief, first expressed by juror No. 4, that race didn’t play a role in the case, Mediaite reports. Juror No. 8, an African American, told CNN in an exclusive interview that it was never about race for her; it was about justice.
“I never once thought about, ‘Oh, this was a black kid, this was a white guy.’ Because that was—that wasn’t the case,” the 21-year-old, who was the youngest on the jury, told CNN reporter Alina Machado. When asked what she would say to those who thought Dunn’s race allowed him to get away with murder when the jury failed to convict him on first-degree charges in the killing of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, the juror said they should learn the law.
“I would tell them that they really should knowledge themselves on the law,” Miles replied. “It was about justice.” Earlier this week, juror No. 4, the first to speak out in the Dunn case, told ABC News that Dunn likely would’ve killed a white teen in the same situation and that race was never discussed while they deliberated Dunn’s verdict.
Yes that is pretty dumb but compare it to the Stupid Negro Award Winner, the one and only, Toni “I Must Really Hate Myself” Braxton
The man trying to get into Jason Roberts’ car was clearly a professional. His movements were quick, skilled and evidently practiced. He began to attract the notice of skeptical onlookers. Who was that man breaking into the Mazda? Shouldn’t someone do something?
A “professional” was exactly what he was, and, having called AAA for help getting into his locked car, Roberts expected nothing less. He was, however, unnerved by the stares of the people questioning the motives of a mechanic who was only trying to help. Then it hit him — they were suspicious because, unlike him, the mechanic was black.
Roberts, a host on the YouTube channel Simple Misfits, decided to replicate the situation, this time camera in hand, so that everyone could witness the same unacceptable double standard that he had. He didn’t realize how intense the response would be. Watch the video above to see for yourself (warning: NSFW language). Continue Reading »
The violent clashes unfolding in Kiev are directly linked to policy decisions and money flow from Washington DC. Just as the genocide of Native Americans to make way for the U.S. colonies and our expansion westward were justified by the concept of Manifest Destiny, the fires of the tinderbox that is Kiev right now are being fanned by a subtler if just as dangerous iteration of Manifest Destiny, our blowback inducing homicidal bull in a geopolitical, cultural, and religious china shop – Manifest Destiny’s Child: Neoliberalism’s front line warrior.
At least 75 people have been killed in violent riots in Kiev, the Ukrainian Health Department has stated. Doctors working on Kiev’s Independence Square, however, claimed that as many as 70 people were killed on the rioters’ side alone on Thursday. The death toll in the most violent wave of clashes between the rioters and the police in Kiev is likely to increase, as there are conflicting figures coming from the Health Department, city officials and the opposition. As many as 570 people have been injured, according to official estimates. (more…)
JACKSONVILLE — Jurors have ended a second day of deliberations in the first-degree murder trial of Floridian Michael Dunn, charged in the 2012 shooting death of a 17-year-old in a dispute over loud rap music. Dunn, a 47-year-old software engineer, says he feared for his life and was acting in self-defense on Nov. 23, 2012, when he fatally shot Jordan Davis in a gas station parking lot.
Dunn testified that music coming from the Dodge Durango where Davis sat with three friends, all black, was “obnoxious,” and said he fired 10 shots at the SUV. Davis was hit three times and died a short time later. The case has been compared to the racially charged Trayvon Martin case, in which neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman said he killed the Florida teen in self-defense during a February 2012 altercation. Zimmerman was later acquitted of second-degree murder.
Dunn testified in court this week that he felt threatened as Davis hurled insults at him from the SUV. Dunn also testified that Jordan reached down, picked something up and slammed it against a rear passenger door of the Dodge Durango where he sat. Assistant State Attorney General John Guy testified that Davis never was a threat. Prosecutors said no weapon was found in the Durango. Some facts however, are undeniable (more…)
Ray Nagin was the business executive who swept into City Hall on promises of reforming how government does business, only to see those ideas disintegrate. He was the face of the city after Hurricane Katrina, shouting anguished distress calls to the world, seeming urgent but also at times unhinged. He was the nontraditional politician who corralled support across racial groups and then turned divisive with an awkward attempt at welcoming back storm-displaced African Americans to a “chocolate city.”
Nagin was the first New Orleans mayor indicted and tried on federal charges for corruption. On Wednesday, he was the first to be convicted.
Jurors overwhelmingly agreed with the prosecution’s narrative in finding him guilty on 20 of 21 charges: Nagin sold his office for personal gain. (more…)