Archive for September, 2010

David Catania’s Double Dipping

The fight back:

In addition to his Council salary of more than $125,000, Office of Campaign Finance records show that Catania earns an additional $120,000 a year as general counsel to a company that does a huge amount of business with the District. Since at least 2006 Catania has earned more than $100,000 a year as general counsel for OpenBand LLC, a subsidiary of M.C. Dean. (It’s unclear how much Catania earned from M.C. Dean in 2005: On his “Honoraria and Outside Income Disclosure Statement” for fiscal year 2005, Catania failed to report his gross outside income and instead reported having earned “$10,000 per month” as General Counsel for OpenBand, LLC. For fiscal year 2006, Catania reported earning $101,538 from OpenBand LLC and $13,750 from Akin & Gump. Since 2007, Office of Campaign Finance reports show that Catania has earned $120,000 a year from OpenBand, LLC.)

Who/what is M.C. Dean? The Washington Post noted: “The company holds the contract to maintain and repair city traffic signals — one of the most lucrative contracts in city government. Last year’s contract was worth $9.3 million to the company… Since 1999, according to city billing records, M.C. Dean has done more than $130 million in business with the District.” Unmentioned in the Post’s article was that “one of the most influential… men in city government” is on M.C. Dean’s payroll to the tune of $120,000 a year.

Another reason Rhee must go

Tell D.C. School Administrators You Don’t Appreciate Child Abuse

If you missed it yesterday, here’s the link to where you can hear Chancellor Rhee joking about how she taped all of her students’ mouths shut with masking tape, and how they all cried when they removed the tape and made their mouths bleed. And, you can hear the new teachers in the audience laughing about the incident:

General Richard Secord

The Iranian Hostage Rescue Mission, and the 1980 Presidential Election

8 helicopters, 6 C-130 transport planes, and 93 Delta force commandoes secretly invaded Iran. They were to rendezvous at a place in Iran they called Desert One, move out to another point called Desert Two, and then go on to Tehran to rescue the hostages. But Delta force never made it to Desert Two or Tehran. The mission was aborted after three of the eight helicopters failed, on the way to Desert One. The operation was a miserable failure, resulting in an accident that caused the loss of 8 American lives. Later investigation revealed a surprising level of negligence. [4] [7] [13]

Just before the rescue mission took place, several other countries had finally agreed to level economic sanctions on Iran. Some of them agreed to the sanctions because they thought that if they did, the U.S. would not take any military action. They were quite irate when they heard about the rescue mission after the fact.

At least three central figures in the Iran-Contra Scandal were involved with the Iranian hostage rescue mission: Secord, Hakim, an North.

General Richard Secord helped to organize the abortive rescue mission. After the first mission failed, he was the head of the planning group that eventually decided against another rescue attempt.

Corrente Wire, like Kryptonite to truthiness

Lambert is having a fundraiser. For my money Corrente Wire, the unique online community he created, is the best blog ever. If you support single payer health care, if you are concerned about the continuing abuse of executive power, if you support a community where every member is a front pager, then please support Corrente.

The politics of education deform

“the ‘reform’ narrative”

It’s a repeated motif—white voters supporting “tough” reforms of public schools though few of them have children in these public schools or the ones being reformed, and black voters with children in the schools being reformed who do not support the individuals and/or policies and/or effects of the reforms. The idea that these types of reforms must be imposed upon the teachers, parents and children is a telling aspect of the charter movement narrative.

Robert Bobb’s record in Detroit


Bobb says he wants to “make systems work” and “bring people together.”

He has, in fact, done the exact opposite here in the City of Detroit, public education advocates across the city say.

At a citywide picket Sept. 21 at Finney High School, members of Defend Public Education/Save our Students Equal Opportunity Now (DPE/SOS)/BAMN described the chaos in the system.

“The chaos that greeted teachers, students and parents at the beginning of this school year has been deliberately inflicted by the high-handed, destructive corporate methods of Robert Bobb and his lackeys.”

The organization has led multiple protests against the EFM and his “destructive” decisions to dismantle the Detroit Public Schools since the latter part of the 2009 school year.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, don’t know what it means to me

The Root

D.C.’s outgoing mayor and his schools chancellor used education reform as something to do to black people instead of with black people. Reform advocates around the country should be taking notes. This is a local story with national implications.

Vincent Gray is a very tough character

Washington City Paper quoting Newsweek:

Duncan acknowledged that he has already spoken to Rhee once, and will talk to her again when she returns from her honeymoon with new husband Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Sacramento, Calif. He also said he has repeatedly tried to reach Gray by phone to discuss the matter with him. “We’ve been trading calls the last two days, but we will talk,” Duncan said.

Since when was a DC Council Chair and Democratic nominee not available to a cabinet member??? I guess Gray is determined to talk to Obama personally. Seems reasonable to me, but I never would have thought that Gray had it in him to be unavailable to a cabinet secretary. Of course if Gray has decided that Rhee is not simply unacceptable to him, but unacceptable to the voters, well, that is another thing. Nothing like letting it be known that he cannot be pressured into doing that which the city does not want to be done. Better to defy the White House than the voters.

And there is more good news:
Gray will consider rehiring fired D.C. teachers

Gray tells DC 50’s NewsPlus that he thinks any of those 266 teachers who were fired only for budget reasons should be allowed back in the classrooms.

Preservationists and Planners “Jubilant” About Gray

Phillip Anschutz

Finally there’s Phillip Anschutz, the owner of the Examiner, which is nothing but filthy little right-wing tabloid, disguised as a newspaper.  But Anshutz also bankrolled the hot propaganda film, Waiting for Superman. Just in case you thought this film was made only by a group of well-intentioned, but misguided liberals.

Anschutz is a far right-wing, evangelical billionaire who inherited his fortune from his father’s oil business and who has become a media mogul, publisher of the Weekly Standard, the S.F. Examiner,  and owner of  L.A.’s Staples Center. He was also the force behind California’s anti-gay initiative

How teach-to-the-test destroys schools

Frank, a former TFA talks to DMR about Michelle Rhee

  • Instead of teaching office productivity software (Excel, etc), the computer teacher was told to have the students use a website called Study Island. They spent hours taking dull online tests in the hopes that they would score better on the state tests that spring.
  • Many of my summer school students (who were from other schools in the district) told me that they received no science instruction during the previous year. When asked why, they explained that their school used that time for extra reading and math instruction.
  • We were told by our principal on many occasions to devote class time to drilling students on questions from former state tests that had been released by Missouri.
  • Students spent weeks taking pre-tests to determine how they’d do on the state tests.
  • No professional development was devoted to social studies since it is not tested. In two years, there was only one session for science.
  • Those teaching the district’s remedial, drill-instruction reading program, Success For All (SFA), were told to use that time to target grade level expectations that students did poorly on during the previous year of state tests. It was made very clear that teaching st(continued)