Monday Evening Open Thread: There Can Only Be One


That’s what irked me, personally, most about Noam Schieber’s breathless TNR long-read, “Hillary’s Nightmare? A Democratic Party That Realizes Its Soul Lies With Elizabeth Warren”. You can’t blame political journalists for premature forecasting, because elections are like housecleaning — no matter how much effort and energy you’ve just expended on getting the place spotless, give it a few hours and it’ll all have to be done again. But you can blame the lazy journamalists who fall for the easy tokenism; now that the ever-reliable ‘Black dude or white lady?’ debate has been wrung of all its cheap drama, it will be discovered that “we” want a female president, so a promising female candidate will be fronted. One female candidate. Because the variety of white-dude candidacy is limitless in its potential, but once there’s a single Vagina-American certified by Our Media Betters, what more can “we” possibly ask?

But to address the meagre TVP-mockmeat core of Schieber’s cover piece, why the bloody hell would Elizabeth Warren want to run for president in 2016? She worked really, really hard — as did her progressive supporters, me among them — to win a seat in the Senate, where she can make a difference in her target financial-abuse issues, issues she’s spent her entire career fighting. Now a handful of Media Village Idiots want Senator Warren to stop working against the banksters and their paid shills, in order to start a campaign she’s said she’s not interested in, against a woman who’s been her supporter and who’s got one hell of a head start in the race, because… the Village Idiots are boorrrred with Hillary Clinton.

It’s like we’ve got a world-class marathon runner finally starting the race of a lifetime, and “some people” want to pull her out so she can compete in the figure-skating trials instead. Sure, it’s an insult to both marathoners and skaters, and it’s unlikely she could win, but it would be so much more entertaining for the spectators!…
Apart from Village idiots being idiots, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Hey Pufferfish! Sic Transit Gloria Mundi, 11-D Chess Edition


Someone somewhere on the web (maybe here?) said last night that they thought it would be perfect  11-D chess — 2016 style — if the Kenyan Muslim Usurper (D-Acorn) called Governor Chris Christie to congratulate him on his victory.


White House Spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that Obama was happy to call Christie after the two worked together on Hurricane Sandy relief. [via TPM]

And just to show that the President (and his team) have not lost a step since November 6, 2013, there’s this:

“Obviously he and the governor have spent a lot of time together,” Carney said. “The president was glad to congratulate him on his victory.”

What’s that I hear? The Cruz, Paul, Rubio, Walker, Cain, and Stassen oppo teams all downloading this picture?

As for me — I’m left with the Yogi accolade.  Our president is smarter than your average bear elephant.

Image: Yūhi, Cormorants catching fish, 1755.

While it’s true that Lincoln was a Republican, this also happened

Listened to attorney general Holder announce the federal challenge to North Carolina’s new voting restrictions.

In the North Carolina lawsuit, the person said, the government will challenge requirements in state law that eliminate the first seven days of early voting opportunities and eliminate same-day voter registration during the early voting period. Same-day registration allows voters to cast a ballot immediately after presenting elections officials with proof of their name and home address.
The Justice Department challenge also is aimed at a provision eliminating the counting of certain types of provisional ballots by voters who cast ballots in their home counties but do not vote in the correct precincts.
Finally, the federal government will challenge a provision in the new law that requires voters to present government-issued identification at the polls in order to cast ballots. In North Carolina, a recent state board of elections survey found that hundreds of thousands of registered voters did not have a state-issued ID. Many of those voters are young, black, poor or elderly.

Just a helpful hint for conservatives who are feeling persecuted and sad and have hurt feelings – when a state initiates early voting, holds a couple of elections and discovers that 70% of African Americans vote early and then launches a frantic effort to change the law and restrict early voting, we then suspect that conservatives are targeting African American voters. That’s rational. We’re allowed to use common sense when looking at new laws. We’re allowed to consider not just what conservatives say or what may or may not be “in their hearts” but what actually happens.

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.