Monday, July 25, 2016

DNC Philadelphia :: Talking With a Bernie Delegate

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 3:45 PM

  • Bryan Sanders
  • Bryan Sanders
There was a great deal of talk about the “low protester turnout” problem at the GOP Convention last week. Many people in the media and on the ground in Cleveland expressed dismay at the ratio of media to actual protesters. It is true that certain times at Public Square resembled a summer camp for media trainees, everyone clamoring for access an argument between a geriatric “Bikers for Trump” delegate and a People’s Resistance spokesman or an anti-fascist and a “Jesus hates everything” enthusiast.

Months ago I was at a Donald Trump rally in San Diego and witnessed some intensely wrought protests and counter-protests which repeatedly devolved into violence. By and large, Cleveland was not that. Certain members of the media expressed private dismay at the “lack of action” - the relative tranquility seemed welcome to everyone on a personal level but could prove challenging on a professional one. “If it bleeds it leads” is alive and well. There was little to no bleeding at the GOP Convention. There was intense conversation and argument and protest. There was back and forth. There was democracy, but it didn’t get to fists. This is good progress.

  • Bryan Sanders
Which leads us to the first day of the Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia. We just arrived in Philly an hour ago and downtown is packed. There are traffic jams everywhere you look. There is a vastly smaller police presence here as compared to Cleveland, where it was customary to look to your right and see a dozen cops waiting in riot gear across from two dozen of their counterparts on the same street. There are small protests going on each corner. The obligatory “Jesus loves you but wants you to suffer” guys have been reduced to a small sideshow on a block far away from the main stem.

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Bill (and Hillary) Clinton's For-Profit College Problem

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 3:00 PM

I'm against for-profit schooling. It's possible for a school designed to make a profit to offer its students a quality education, but the lure of the almighty dollar makes the urge to recruit students who don't have the qualifications to benefit from the school and to scrimp on staff and supplies, because every dollar you don't spend is another dollar in your pocket, is nearly irresistible. I don't like it when charter schools are run as for-profit enterprises, and for-profit colleges are notorious for getting most of their money from government-based student financial aid and supplementing that with student loans, then giving their students a substandard education and leaving them in debt.

That means I don't think much of Laureate Education, a for-profit higher-education company that runs schools around the world, or the fact that Bill Clinton was paid a total of $16.5 million to serve as honorary chancellor of Laureate International Universities from 2010 to 2014.

Laureate Education has 85 campuses around the world. The greatest number are in Latin America, 31, followed by Europe, 23. The U.S. has 8. Some are brick-and-mortar institutions, others are online schools. Laureate spends more than $200 million a year on advertising, uses aggressive student recruiting techniques and sometimes increases enrollment without expanding its faculty or facilities to properly serve the larger student body.

If you want to know more details about Laureate Education, the best article I found is in a Bloomberg publication from 2014. Here's the key sentence in a very long story.
Laureate has thrived by exporting many of the practices that for-profit colleges adopted in the U.S., such as offering career-oriented courses and spending heavily on marketing. Such strategies helped build what was a booming industry until 2010, when recruiting abuses and mounting student debt spurred a regulatory crackdown by President Barack Obama’s administration.
That pretty much sums it up. The owner saw a flawed, roundly criticized, very profitable U.S. education model and decided to take it worldwide.

What did Bill Clinton do to earn his money?
In this paid position, Clinton has trekked to Laureate’s campuses in countries such as Malaysia, Peru and Spain, making more than a dozen appearances on [Laureate Education's] behalf.

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American Babylon: Vermin Supreme Speaks

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Vermin Supreme is a legendary activist, raconteur, and street performer. He wants to make sure everyone is happy and brushing their teeth regularly.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

American Babylon: Interview with Michael Nelson, President of NAACP Cleveland

Posted By on Sat, Jul 23, 2016 at 8:21 AM

American Babylon talks with Michael Nelson, President of NAACP Cleveland, about police brutality and methods of dissent, what's at stake in the Black Lives Matter movement, the history of repression, and much more. 

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

American Babylon: Talking with Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson on the Street

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 1:40 PM

I got the opportunity to talk with Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson in downtown Cleveland yesterday. Is he going to be a distraction on the debate stage? Will he mention climate change? Will he release non-violent drug offenders from prison and push for criminal justice reform? Find out by watching this video! 

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The Republican Party's Education Platform

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 11:00 AM

  • Shutterstock
A week ago I wrote about the Democratic party's education platform, which became significantly more progressive than the 2012 version as it moved from the first draft to its final form. The Republican party's education platform is pretty similar to its 2012 version, with a few changes around the edges. It added a condemnation of the move to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice, and it says an understanding of the Bible is "indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry" and encourages the study of the Bible as an elective part of the literature curriculum in high schools.

This paragraph sums up the general educational view presented in the platform.
After years of trial and error, we know the policies and methods that have actually made a difference in student advancement: Choice in education; building on the basics; STEM subjects and phonics; career and technical education; ending social promotions; merit pay for good teachers; classroom discipline; parental involvement; and strong leadership by principals, superintendents, and locally elected school boards. Because technology has become an essential tool of learning, it must be a key element in our efforts to provide every child equal access and opportunity. We strongly encourage instruction in American history and civics by using the original documents of our founding fathers. 
A few specific recommendations in the Republican platform are supported by many Democrats, like its condemnation of Common Core, its concern over "excessive testing and 'teaching to the test'” and its concern about the collection and sharing of "vast amounts of personal student and family data, including the collection of social and emotional data." The two parties differ on most other issues.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Conversation with Jeff Mixon of Black Lives Matter in Cuyahoga County

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 4:02 PM

  • Jimi Giannatt
This is a conversation I had today (Wednesday, July 20) with Jeff Mixon, director of a group called "Black Lives Matter" in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Mixon's group does not appear to be affiliated with the national group. Jeff has an interesting perspective and I was happy to hear what he had to say about what's going on and where we are heading in American racial politics.

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Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: 2 Month Anniversary

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 12:43 PM


  • PhotoSpin
Two months ago when Prop 123 passed, Governor Ducey said we had taken a "first step" toward addressing Arizona's chronic underfunding of K-12 education. Everyone acknowledged it was a shaky, uncertain step. Some were pleased to see what they thought was a wobbly step forward by the young 'un, while others thought it was a dangerous step backwards, but few people thought that one step was all we needed.

On the two month anniversary, the toddler has yet to take a second step, and its fathers and mothers—the Ducey machine, the business community, education groups—appear to be neglecting their child, if not abandoning it entirely.

An acknowledgement of the two month anniversary of that first step is in order—a cake, candles, something to mark the occasion. Since the parents of the tyke don't appear to be in a celebratory mood, I will take it upon myself to blow out the candles and make a few wishes.

My first wish is that Governor Ducey reveal his plans for the next step to improve K-12 education. If he plans to increase the education budget next legislative session, that would be hopeful. If all he wants to do is shift around the deck chairs, using his Classrooms First Initiatives Council to move the cushiest chaises in the areas where the wealthiest Arizonans hang out, it would be helpful to know that so people can protest against his anti-poor, anti-minority agenda.

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Staff Pick

Where's Waldo Scavenger Hunt

Back in Tucson for the month of July. Those who spot Waldo (well, a 6" version of… More

@ Antigone Books July 19-31, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. 411 N. Fourth Ave.

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