Archive for July, 2013

Escrow, the new subsidy for banksters

Welcome readers from Jesse’s Cafe Americain and DCBlogs.

FY2014 Budget Includes Changes to Homeless Law

Individuals and families staying in some District shelters will be required to start placing money in an escrow account under a new city plan intended to move homeless people toward self-sufficiency.

I don’t believe that this is about moving homeless families to self sufficiency. I think this is about bumping up the deposits at the bank DC patronizes.

Given the continuing recession, deposits must be way down. What better way to bump them up than buy dipping into the public purse. It seems that the $400 million surplus is not enough to keep banksters happy, so they are dipping into the pockets of homeless families.

David Catania’s plan to smash the public schools

D.C. parents, activists offer mixed reaction to Catania’s bills

Turnout may increase Tuesday for a hearing on some of Catania’s most controversial proposals, including a new local accountability system that would require DCPS schools to be closed or turned into charter-like “innovation schools” if they fail to meet performance targets.

This isn’t about improving education. This is about smashing the public school system, turning schools over to hedge funds, and driving black people out of DC. It isn’t about anything else.

Congratulations Elizabeth Davis and Candi Peterson

The Washington Teacher’s Union has new leadership! Hurray!

News Corps’ OTHER hacking scandal

Murdoch’s Pirates: Before the phone hacking, there was Rupert’s pay-TV skullduggery

The inside story of the skullduggery at the heart of one the Murdoch empire’s subsidiaries, NDS.

What happens when one of the biggest media groups in the world sets up its own private security force? What happens when part of this operation goes rogue?

News of the World is not the first Murdoch company to be accused of skullduggery. Murdoch’s Pirates is about the dark deeds of a secret division of News Corp, based in Jerusalem, operating in a combustible world of ambitious ex Scotland Yard men and former French and Israeli secret service agents, who have one thing in common – they have all left their previous employment under controversial circumstances.

NDS produces smart cards for use by pay TV operators; this is a fiercely competitive field and one of the ways you get business is to demonstrate that the smart cards produced by your rivals can be easily pirated. Unless you are very careful, sometimes those pirated versions make their way out into the real world, where they can really damage your competitors’ businesses.

Murdoch’s Pirates reads like a thriller, set in the arcane world of hackers and pirates. There are mysterious deaths, break-ins and wild chases. Some of the individuals involved may well be amongst the brightest minds on the planet, but sometimes their rivalry can get out of hand and their impulsive behaviour can defy logic.

Chenoweth recounts this clandestine war with his customary lucidity, drollery and brio.

Yvette Alexander and the Deanwood Pool

Have you ever been to the Deanwood Pool? It is empty, I mean deserted. It is great if you like swimming by yourself, but not so great for the city.

So why is the pool empty, because people in Deanwood don’t like swimming? Perhaps, but I think there is another reason. The admission system of DC pools is designed to keep poor people out.  You have to have a government issue photo ID card and something with your address on it. No problem if you have a DC drivers license. But if you don’t own a car you probably do not have a license. And if you are really poor, spending 75% of your income on rent and living on food stamps, as it common in the 7th ward, then a non-drivers ID may be out of your reach.

You can use a utility bill to establish your residency, except if electricity is included with your rent and you use a cell phone, you don’t have a utility bill with your address. This is very common in the 7th ward, and indeed throughout the city. You might be registered to vote, but curiously your voter card is not considered sufficient to establish your residency for purposes of swimming in the swimming pool.

Of course if you are on food stamps you have a photo id. If the purpose of photo ID’s were to prevent VA and MD residents from swimming in DC pools for free, food stamp ID cards would be great. But that would let hundreds of poor people into the pools, not at all conducive to gentrification. Swimming pools are not there for the use of poor people.

Now it would be easy for Yvette Alexander to do something about this, she could change the rules so that food stamp ID cards could be used to gain admission. But as we know, Alexander does not do anything without talking to Walmart first, so I don’t see her doing anything. David Grosso could also bring legislation to change the rules in favor of fairness. He could show that reform means something other than pushing the poor people out of DC. He could, but I would not hold my breath.