Saturday, May 14, 2016

247.5 - Rapid-fire items

Rapid-fire items

Everything but the kitchen sink
Last for this week, something rather different. As I expect you know, over the course of each week I gather up news items which I might want to address on the show. Not everything I find makes it in; in fact most things don't. I have observed on a number of occasions that when the show is finished it bears little resemblance to what I was envisioning when I sat down to prepare it, which I do the night before taping.

I have sometimes considered the idea of sometime just making an entire show out of items that I find, with each just noted with maybe a quick comment, so that instead of devoting maybe four or five minutes to each of six or seven topics I would give a minute or two (and occasionally less) to maybe 20 or more.

So just for the heck of it, I thought I'd spend these last minutes doing just that, to give a sense of what a show such as that that might be like. Let me know what you think and here we go:

1. First, a report on charter schools in Los Angeles concludes that they are costing traditional schools in the city's Unified School District millions of dollars in tax money.

The study calculates that between services to charters that take tax money the district intended to use for traditional schools and direct education tax dollars going to the charters, the budget for traditional schools is being drained by more than $500 million a year.

Meanwhile, an advisory board in North Carolina is wrestling with who to hold accountable when a charter school closes and fails to turn over student records, pay its ex-employees, or meet its other financial obligations.

Since 2012, 10 charter schools in the state have closed, displacing 1,100 students and 150 employees through fiscal mismanagement costing the public schools millions of dollars.

None of this should come as a surprise since the whole purpose of charter schools is to undermine public schools and ultimately to privatize education, turning it into just another profit center rather than a public obligation.


2. Next up: In 2003, Roy Moore, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, was kicked off the bench after refusing a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument he had erected in the lobby of the state judicial building in Montgomery. In 2012, he was reelected to the same position.

Now he has been suspended and may be kicked off the bench again, this time for having "flagrantly disregarded and abused his authority" when he ordered state judges to ignore the Supreme Court ruling that established and recognized the right of same-sex couples to get married.

Personally, I hope they just leave him suspended and never get around to dismissing him because if they do, the mouth-breathers in Alabama will probably just vote him in again.


3. Here's an interesting thought I came across somewhere: Hillary Clinton said she wouldn't release the text of her speeches to Wall Street firms - for which she was paid over $200,000 a pop - until every other presidential candidate, including the GOPpers, did so as well.

Well, guess what: There are three candidates standing and two of them haven't given any such speeches. So her conditions have been met. So where are the transcripts, Hillary?


4. Meanwhile, efforts to bring attention to the issue of police brutality, especially toward minority communities, continue. In San Francisco, a group of five protesters who came to be known as the Frisco Five has just ended a 17-day hunger strike calling for the resignation of Police Chief Greg Suhr.

Although they did not succeed in that, they did draw attention both within and without the city to the issue of police violence in San Francisco and prompted the mayor to tell the PD to reform its use of force rules.


5. Next, an official report commissioned by the government of the UK on that nation's involvement in the Iraq War, including what mistakes were made in execution or planning for the war or its aftermath, is scheduled for release on July 6: seven years after it was commissioned and five years after its last public hearing.

It's last hurdle was a security check in which, according the the BBC,
officials were reportedly looking for information that has been inadvertently included that could damage relations with the UK's allies, breach national security or violate the UK's international obligations in any way.
The fact that after that, it's claimed that nothing was taken out doesn't give me confidence that come July we're going to see a revealing, hard-hitting, or insightful document.


6. Finally, speaking of war, an addendum to my item last week about our lovely little war in Iraq and Syria. In describing the involvement of Navy SEALS in a firefight with Daesh forces - Daesh, remember, being a sort of insulting name for ISIS, which is why I use it - military trainer Matthew VanDyke said Daesh "won't be able to sustain continued losses like those" they suffered in the battle.

The echoes of Vietnam keep ringing in my head. Now not only do we have "advisors" becoming more involved in combat, not only to we have mission creep, now it seems we're back to body counts.

Sources cited in links:

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