She’s so heavy

I hope Hillary runs in 2016 and crushes Rand Paul/Scott Walker. I think that getting the first woman president elected would be huge for the Democratic party, and, while I like Kirsten Gillibrand better, I think Hillary would be a good president.

More than that, though, I’m fascinated by the train wreck that was the 2008 Hillary campaign in the same way that I’m fascinated by the train wreck that was the W presidency. Substitute Mark Penn for Cheney and Terry McAuliffe for Rumsfeld, and there’s a lot of similarities.

This New York magazine article is very good:

“She doesn’t repeat her mistakes,” says Melanne Verveer, an aide to the First Lady who then served in the State Department as Hillary’s ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues. “She really learns from her mistakes. It’s like, you want to grow a best practice and then always operate on that. She analyzes, ‘What went wrong here?’”


Clintonworld, however, speaks with many voices­—albeit many of them not for attribution. Some of her close confidants, including many people with whom her own staff put me in touch, are far less circumspect than she is. “She’s running, but she doesn’t know it yet,” one such person put it to me. “It’s just like a force of history. It’s inexorable, it’s gravitational. I think she actually believes she has more say in it than she actually does.”

And a longtime friend concurs. “She’s doing a very Clintonian thing. In her mind, she’s running for it, and she’s also convinced herself she hasn’t made up her mind. She’s going to run for president. It’s a foregone conclusion.”

My feeling is that the Clintons are the near-term future of politics. All the Clinton Foundation Aspen-style neoliberal bullshit that nauseates me in the same way that Obama’s embrace of Larry Summers and Rahm Emmanuel (I realize that some became too fixated on him but he sucked) nauseated me but also a reasonable degree of competence and a deep-seated desire to fucking crush the Republican party. The enemy of that enemy is certainly my friend.

His “sense” is this is very much like subprime lending

Since this scam has been going on for a long, long time, I don’t think he would be my first-choice investment adviser:

Hedge fund titan and education reform activist Whitney Tilson turned his Value Investing Congress speech Tuesday into an all-out attack against technology-based education company K12, calling it “a catastrophe for education” in spite of solid financials.
But even more damning for K12, which runs online schools at various levels, was Tilson’s decision to publicly short the company’s stock—a move that can be risky for high profile investors, attracting regulators and legal action from disgruntled CEOs. If K12’s stock indeed plummets in the coming months, Tilson and other short sellers stand to make a lot of money.
Tilson outlined his exhaustive research on K12’s academic practices, including poorly paid instructors with 300-1 student-teacher ratios, the targeting of at-risk children whose parents won’t complain to administrators about poor performance, and online classes for which students merely have to switch on their phones and login to be counted as active.
But Tilson also noted K12’s financials, which up to this point have been strong: the company has experienced revenue growth of 32% annually for the past decade. What’s more, the company estimates a $15 billion market for K12 students, and average revenue per student has risen over the last four quarters.

Well, a degenerate gambler and a finance-industry felon created K12, which was a bit of a red flag for this “investor” but apparently not for the hedge fund managers who make up “Democrats for Education Reform.”

It’s strange to watch this slowly spread upward to the highest levels of reform industry leadership, because here in Ohio where ed reform is a huge business we’ve had a failing cybercharter industry sector for many years. I first became aware of this particular ed reform portfolio investment several years ago, when some of the most vulnerable kids we encountered in the court system stopped attending local public high schools and decided to leverage the free market power of “choice” by signing up for cyberschool.

That many of them are completely unsupervised at home for a variety of reasons and chose this option to avoid intrusive questions from the “educrats” at our government school on their GPA, progress toward graduation, mental health issues and chaotic and often tragic home lives didn’t seem to concern national ed reform industry leaders like Jeb Bush and John Kasich but we wondered at the time if cutting them loose like that was a very bad idea. It had come to our attention that many of them do poorly in school not because their teachers belong to a union but because their home lives are an absolute horror show. It reached the point a couple of years ago where even the most conservative juvenile judge I’m in front of took to bellowing at us that these kids should all be “IN SCHOOL!” Incredibly, ed reform industry lobbyists in Ohio just expanded cybercharters. Again.

As anyone who has watched Milton Friedman’s crackpot theories go from roundtable to reality already knows, it is really, really difficult to regulate a publicly-funded private entity once deregulation and then industry capture of politicians takes hold. We know it in Ohio, and they’re finding it out in Pennsylvania, where a cybercharter profiteer inexplicably escaped state oversight and regulation for years, until he was finally indicted by the feds last month.

I hope this reform industry leader’s shorting strategy works, because K12 just captured another student sector, in New Jersey, despite the fact that the giant ed corp has failed so miserably everywhere else. Whether the following is related to that decision I do not know:

Christie’s acting education commissioner, Christopher Cerf, has experience in public-private school partnerships. He previously led Edison Schools, a for-profit company that became the largest private-sector manager of public schools. From 1999 to 2001, Christie was a registered lobbyist at a law firm that lobbied New Jersey government on behalf of Edison Schools, according to filings with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission. While the firm was representing the multinational education company, Chris Cerf was its general counsel. The firm, Dughi, Hewit and Palatucci, also represented Mosaica Education, a for-profit charter school operator, and the University of Phoenix, a for-profit online university.

Since we already know that for-profit colleges are a predatory rip-off and nearly impossible to regulate due to industry capture of politicians on both sides of the aisle, can anyone tell me why we decided to expand this bad idea? Are we really this fucking reckless and stupid, that we’d privatize our K thru 12 public education system? Tell me there’s a responsible adult somewhere in the state or federal government who has a handle on this, because I’m not seeing anyone step up here in The Heartland and Arne Duncan seems to me to have abandoned traditional public schools completely.

Politicians should have to compete on a political field as well as a legal one. Agreed?

Wanted to take a closer look at the Texas voter ID case. I think it’s important to understand that this law has already been determined to be discriminatory, yet Texas is going forward with it anyway.

What follows are portions of the DOJ complaint that was filed on August 22nd:

Passage of SB 14 Was Motivated By Discriminatory Intent
Against a backdrop of dramatic growth in the State’s Hispanic population, the Texas legislature advanced increasingly stringent and burdensome voter ID bills over several legislative sessions beginning in 2005. This process culminated in the enactment of SB 14, a highly restrictive law that—when passed—exceeded the requirements imposed by any other state.
Legislative debate and public statements concerning these voter ID bills contained
anti-immigrant rhetoric. In addition, while the public record contains statements suggesting that voter ID legislation was needed to prevent noncitizens from voting, noncitizens may lawfully possess several of the forms of identification required for in-person voting under SB 14.
The State sought to minimize minority legislators’ effective participation in the debate concerning SB 14. The legislature and Governor implemented a series of unusual procedures including designating SB 14 as emergency legislation, which enabled the Senate to consider the bill on an expedited schedule; amending Senate rules to exempt voter identification legislation from the two-thirds majority tradition usually required for bill consideration; and creating a select House committee, whose members were hand-picked by the Speaker, to consider only SB 14.
While the stated purpose of SB 14 was to ensure the integrity of elections, voter ID proponents cited virtually no evidence during or after enactment of SB 14 that in-person voter impersonation—the only form of election fraud addressed by the identification requirements of SB 14—was a serious problem or that the State’s then-existing identification procedures had failed to prevent in-person voter impersonation.

This is what happened next, when we still had Section 5 the VRA:

SB 14 has not been in effect in any election in Texas. At the time that SB 14 was signed into law—on May 27, 2011—Texas could not implement any changes to its voting procedures without first obtaining preclearance from the U.S. Attorney General or from a three judge court of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, as a result of Texas’s coverage under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (Section 5).
In order to obtain preclearance under Section 5, Texas was required to demonstrate that SB 14 “neither has the purpose nor will have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race[,] color[, or membership in a language minority group].”
On March 12, 2012, the Attorney General interposed an objection under Section 5 to Texas’s submission of SB 14 because Texas had failed to show that the law “will not have a retrogressive effect, or that any specific features of [SB 14] will prevent or mitigate that retrogression.” The Attorney General explained that Texas’s own data had shown that Hispanic voters were at least 46.5% more likely (according to the September 2011 data) and potentially up to 120.0% more likely (according to the January 2012 data) than non-Hispanic voters to lack a driver’s license or personal ID card issued by the State. On January 24, 2012, Texas filed a declaratory judgment action seeking judicial preclearance under Section 5 of SB 14 from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

On August 30, 2012, following a weeklong bench trial, the three-judge court issued a unanimous decision denying preclearance under Section 5 to SB 14 and concluding that “record evidence suggests that SB 14, if implemented, would in fact have a retrogressive effect on Hispanic and African American voters.” The three-judge district court concluded that “(1) a substantial subgroup of Texas voters, many of whom are African American or Hispanic, lack photo ID; (2) the burdens associated with obtaining ID will weigh most heavily on the poor; and (3) racial minorities in Texas are disproportionately likely to live in poverty.” Id.
Finally, the three-judge court found that the Texas legislature enacted “the most stringent [voter ID law] in the country” and “ignor[ed] warnings that SB 14, as written, would disenfranchise minorities and the poor” and rejected or tabled potentially ameliorative amendments ..

In other words, Texas lost. Then came the Supreme Court decision on the VRA, a decision that rescued the same Texas law that had been found to be discriminatory:

Within hours after the Shelby County decision, the State of Texas announced its intention to begin enforcing the voter ID requirements of SB 14. On June 27, 2013, in response to Texas’s appeal, the Supreme Court summarily vacated the judgment in Texas v. Holder and remanded for further consideration in light of the decision in Shelby County.

This should be a political issue as well as a legal issue for conservatives. How do they defend this politically? They’re discriminating against Latino and AA voters, they have been told they’re likely to disenfranchise Latino and AA voters, yet they haven’t reconsidered this law or offered anything to mitigate the harm that will result. I anticipate that voting enthusiasts will be sternly lectured on how we can’t use this “politically” but this belongs in the political sphere as well as in a courtroom. Elected conservatives should have to defend this in public, outside legal filings and a courtroom.

They’re politicians. Why would we insulate them from politics, and political accountability? Hell yes, we should and will “use” this politically. Why wouldn’t we?


Just an ordinary story about the way things go

Why is Bobby Jindal so unpopular in Louisiana?

The latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, provided exclusively to TPM, showed Jindal with an approval rating of only 28 percent. Fifty-nine percent of Louisiana voters said they disapprove of the job he is doing. According to PPP, those numbers make Jindal the least popular Republican governor in the country and the second most unpopular governor overall (Democrat Pat Quinn of Illinois is the lowest rated governor in PPP’s polling). At 41 percent, President Barack Obama actually boasts a higher approval rating than Jindal in Louisiana, according to PPP.

PPP’s latest also found Jindal, who’s thought to be considering a 2016 bid, tied for fourth in a hypothetical Republican presidential primary in Louisiana. When PPP tested him against Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical general election matchup, the former secretary of state claimed a 7-point lead among all Louisiana voters.

Is it because he’s brown?

Not saying I love the former exorcist, but surely there’s a lot worse Republicans out there.

He’s trying to make it where at least they can afford to live


McCrory and the future policy advisors celebrate on election night

Source: Charlotte Observer photo donated to the. N.C State Archives


Young Republicans who helped elect North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory have been rewarded with big salaries in his new administration. Matthew McKillip was named this week as chief policy adviser to Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos. Records show the 24-year-old received a $22,500 raise in April, bringing his salary to $87,500. Before joining state government in January, McKillip worked for McCrory’s 2012 campaign and spent 11 months as a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. Records show 24-year-old DHHS Communications Director Ricky Diaz got an even bigger raise in April, boosting his state salary to $85,000. Diaz campaigned for McCrory after working for one year in the office of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Gov. Pat McCrory gave his cabinet secretaries pay hikes as large as $13,200, far more than anything afforded to typical state employees in recent years. The Republican’s cabinet makes a combined $1.1 million – an 8 percent increase from his Democratic predecessor.

“I’m trying to make it at least where they can afford to live while running multibillion-dollar departments,” McCrory said in an interview. GOP lawmakers changed state law last year to give the governor the power to determine cabinet salaries, a change from the previous year when all eight secretaries made $121,807, as set in state law. The additional money will come from other areas in the agency budgets.

Meanwhile, back in the real world outside the American Enterprise Institute and wing nut welfare circles:

After 13 years of teaching, Anastasia Trueman has had enough.The former Lynn Road Elementary math coach resigned on July 27. Even working two jobs, Trueman said several years without a raise forced her to walk. “I have to take a stand somehow, and one of the ways I can do that is by quitting,” Trueman said. “I hate that I have to do that because it’s hurting the kids more than anybody, but if I really cannot sustain a living then that’s what I have to do.””It is a long time coming, and I think it’s important to note this issue with teacher compensation didn’t happen overnight,” Eric Guckian, McCrory’s senior education advisor, said. “It certainly didn’t happen in the last six months, and it’s a priority of our administration to change it to a compensation system that is performance-based and values our educators and values our students.”

Not buying it. She is a math coach after all:

Trueman, however, said she doesn’t feel valued. “They talk about we’re doing all this reform and the one percent raise — well, since I’ve been frozen on a salary since 2009, what’s one percent going to do for me?” she asked.”They gave us one percent last year and then hiked up our healthcare.”

all this reform

There’s that word again. Unlike McCrory’s political patronage hires she has actual experience, 13 years, but I’ve watched 15 years worth of experiments with Milton Friedman’s theories on ed reform in Ohio so I have an advantage there. She’s on the right track ignoring the jargon and looking at the numbers. For some reason that no one in Ohio can figure out, 15 years of ed reform in Ohio turns out to mean less funding for public schools and race to the bottom wages for teachers. (pdf)

They might have to burn the village to save it North Carolina, so don’t let the smoke get in your eyes. Follow the money, and keep on turning out for Moral Mondays:

For the thousands who turned out for Moral Monday in Charlotte’s Marshall Park, every protester had one thing in common: Making their frustration with Raleigh and their voices heard.
Monday’s protest is the latest stop for the movement that has drawn thousands of people to weekly demonstrations in Raleigh. Charlotte had its turn and people came from every walk of life.
Cynthia Lank, of Charlotte, came with her two daughters. “I’m just furious,” she exclaimed. “I am so frustrated with what has gone on in our legislature this year. I’m furious for our students, for women, for people, for old people, for sick people. I just feel like the state of North Carolina has taken a huge step backwards.” Iola Gardner, another protester who came straight from work, agreed. “With all the changes in the general assembly, it’s just ridiculous,” she said. “I’m here for education, I’m for the suppress the vote — people need to know what’s going on.” For the Rev. William Barber, the protests are part of a major North Carolina movement, uniting coalitions fighting for social, economic and environmental justice over what he calls Republican legislators’ divisive measures.As president of the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Barber is now coordinating demonstrations in the state’s 13 Congressional districts. Demonstrations were also carried out in the North Carolina communities of Burnsville and Manteo.

“It is not a matter of confusion — it is a matter of accuracy,”

Judge rescues Pennsylvania citizens from Pennsylvania Republicans. Again:

A state judge issued an order Friday that is expected to block enforcement of Pennsylvania’s strict voter-identification law in the Nov. 5 general election. Local poll workers can ask voters to show IDs if they have them and distribute written material about the law, but they may not tell voters at the polls that photo IDs could be required in future elections, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley said.
“There is no value in inaccurate information, and the court does not deem inaccurate information ‘educational.’ It is not a matter of confusion — it is a matter of accuracy,” McGinley wrote. McGinley’s ruling marked the third consecutive election in which enforcement of the law has been blocked by court order.
After legal jousting that reached the state Supreme Court, a judge blocked enforcement in last year’s presidential election and again in this year’s municipal and judicial primary because of lingering concern that it could disenfranchise voters who lacked a valid photo ID.
The preliminary injunction will remain in effect until McGinley decides the case and rules on a request for a permanent injunction

This is the judge’s order (pdf). If you read it, you’ll detect his frustration with Pennsylvania’s inability to competently administer the voting restrictions Pennsylvania Republicans insisted on.

This is a recurring pattern with conservatives. When Ohio put in new voting restrictions in 2006 Republicans made absolutely no effort to put voters on notice or train poll workers. When I worked the polls at the first election after the restrictions went in I discovered that poll workers had no clue how to interpret the new law. My precinct is majority Republican so our “election judge” (head poll worker) is always a Republican. I made a huge fuss over the fact that poll workers were applying the restrictions differently in each of the three precincts that share my polling location. It wasn’t hard to figure out. The precinct tables are close enough that I could hear poll workers telling voters one thing in Five, a different rule in Six and another rule in Seven. Hell, VOTERS could hear it. They were talking to one another. After about six hours of my calling the Board of Elections and asking them to direct untrained poll workers to follow the actual rule the GOP election judge told me he needed me to pass out “I Voted” stickers at the exit door. Problem solved!

If conservatives are incapable of running elections properly perhaps they should stop changing the rules every time their candidate needs to be dragged over the finish line. They’re obviously not up to the management challenge. Recall that Pennsylvania conservatives would have allowed these changes to go in prior to the 2012 election had a judge not stopped them, and it is now August of 2013 and they STILL haven’t figured out how to properly administer the new voting regime they demanded.

McGinley’s ruling marked the third consecutive election in which enforcement of the law has been blocked by court order.

Three times. This is what happens when one hires people who don’t believe that voting is a right to run elections. They simply don’t give a shit whether people are wrongfully disenfranchised or not. When conservatives argue that voting is JUST LIKE cashing a check or any other commercial transaction, they believe it.

Open Thread: Cruz-ifying the Religious Right

I’ll admit I thought Rick ‘Sanctimonious’ Santorum was going to be The One for 2016’s spite voters, but it looks like the fickle bastids are already wooing a new head-turner. Dave Weigel reports from last weekend’s “FAMiLY Leader” Iowa unbeauty contest:

The way social conservative see it, they’ve blown two consecutive primaries to a moderate candidate—one who’s gone on to lose the presidency. Iowa’s supposed to be the Thunderdome that boosts one of their own. In 2012, a majority (57 percent) of caucus-goers were evangelical Christians and a plurality (47 percent) considered themselves “very conservative.” They split their votes and gave the narrowest of mandates to Rick Santorum, and that was two weeks after the FAMiLY Leader endorsed him. What could have happened had the rest of the movement been quicker on the draw. Could they have avoided the distractions of Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich?

They want to find out. That’s what’s driving the presidential talk around Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who arrived in his first elective office this past January. Jamie Johnson, who’d been Rick Santorum’s coalitions director in Iowa, tells me that Barack Obama “changed the game” in 2008 and proved that someone with just a little time in D.C. could win. “He was in for one year and he was already laying the groundwork.” This is why he’s switched from Santorum to Cruz, who doesn’t have “10 years of votes to apologize for.”…

Cruz, who has already cracked double digits in the ridiculously early polls of caucus-goers, takes the afternoon of the summit with a neat trick that outsources the negativity. His father, Rafael, a Cuban-born pastor, precedes him with a speech that’s one-third about his son and two-thirds about how candidates who promise “hope and change” are paving the road to serfdom. “In 1976 I was shocked when I saw a government starting to implement socialist policies in this country, which perhaps the majority of this country didn’t recognize,” he says. “Having seen socialism at work, I clearly recognized the socialist policies of Jimmy Carter.”

It’s a hit. More than one activist tells me that the senior Cruz’s story takes away an advantage that has belonged to Marco Rubio—the crowd-pleasing parable of Obama as Castro. After a short break, Ted Cruz himself arrives, walking back and forth across the stage in black ostrich-skin cowboy boots, delivering old jokes about the root words of “politics” being “poly” and “ticks” before getting to applause line after applause line about his battles in Washington.

“The American people want to secure the borders first,” he says, to applause. “We want to welcome and celebrate legal immigrants.” Applause. “And there is no more forceful advocate for securing the borders than Iowa’s own Steve King.” Yet more applause. Cruz doesn’t actually mention any “social issues.” He invites the audience to join a “grass-roots army” (and his PAC) and adds that he has objects “thrown at me” when he talks about defunding Obamacare in the Senate….

Another sign of Cruz’s attraction for the wingnuts: I’m already seeing comments on news sites along the lines of “Since you lie-brals wouldn’t allow anyone to question Obama’s birth status, it would be totally hypocritical for you to say anything about Our Ted being born in Canada, since his mom was at least as all-American as that teenage Dunham slut.”