The Boston Globe has the article Charter schools in Boston score higher on key tests. If you are not a Globe subscriber, the only text you get to see is:
Boston charter schools outperform other public schools on three popular barometers of achievement — the MCAS, the SAT, and the Advanced Placement exams — but tend to have lower four-year graduation rates, according to a study being released Wednesday.
If you read the newspaper or have full access to the site, you will see the following about half way through the article:
In Boston, there are 25 charter schools.
The study examined 3,400 students who sought admission to one of the six charter high schools in Boston between fall 2002 and 2008. (The study excluded two charter high schools that closed during that period because of low performance.)
I commented on the article which reported on a study done at MIT.
If there had been more room, the headline might have said “Charter schools score higher on key tests except for the ones that don’t” It is convenient how two schools that would have lowered the averages for the Charter schools were taken out of the study. Perhaps the people conducting the study and doing the statistical analysis could have excluded a similar proportion of low performing public schools from the study.
With MIT accepting huge amounts of funds to build buildings named after the infamous Koch brothers and then this story, perhaps it is true that MIT is selling its soul to the devil in order to raise funds. Now when MIT calls me for an alumnus donation, I just tell them to put it on the Koch brothers’ tab.
2013-05-22 | Filed Under SteveG's Posts |
The Washington Post blog has the post The scandals are falling apart. This one covers all three “scandals”.
I want to emphasize: It’s always possible that evidence could emerge that vaults one of these issues into true scandal territory. But the trend line so far is clear: The more information we get, the less these actually look like scandals.
My sentiments exactly.
2013-05-22 | Filed Under SteveG's Posts |
The Washington Post has the article Lois Lerner: ‘I have not done anything wrong’
At a hearing of the House Oversight Committee Wednesday, IRS Director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner invoked her fifth amendment rights, saying she was innocent of any wrong doing.
Some comments on this article suggested firing people from the top on down.
If we are going to fire people from the top down, how about going after the Congress people who have cut $1billion from the IRS budget, then complain that the IRS is responding too slowly, then get all huffy when some people in the agency try to take shortcuts to catch up on the backlog.
The Republican fairness as far as the IRS is concerned also means that the IRS should spend equal amounts of time going over the tax returns of people earning $20,000 a year and the people and corporations earning $1,000,000,000 a year. This is the Republic method of running the IRS like a private corporation. Do all Republican private corporations spend their resources equally on places where they are likely to reap profits and places where they are unlikely to reap profits?
If you want to catch the most tax fraud for your auditing dollars, you go after the places with the highest possible tax responsibility. Especially places that earn big bucks, but pay no taxes. You might also look at organizations that are obviously political, but are claiming social welfare exemptions.
The auditors used search terms including “Tea Party” to find likely applications to concentrate on. If these and other conservative political organization related terms were the only ones they used, then this might be a scandal. Since they also investigated and denied exemption to liberal groups too, it seems unlikely that there was a political motivation here. Since Congress passed laws that said Social Welfare groups claiming tax exempt status could also do some politics, but not too much, did they expect the IRS to process these applications without asking if there were too much political activity?
So the Republican investigators of the IRS have some suspicions. When they have proof of something, then I will start to listen. Until then, it just looks like a witch hunt to me.
2013-05-20 | Filed Under SteveG's Posts |
I have heard Gabriel Gomez tout some of his “qualifications” to be a Senator from Massachusetts.
As a business man, he claims to know how to create jobs. Unfortunately, he does not seem to understand that private enterprise and the federal government have two very different roles to play in the society and the economy. We don’t want our government to do what private enterprise is supposed to do. We also don’t want our government to shirk the responsibilities that it alone has.
He mimics the Scott Brown meme that he is open minded and won’t judge a bill until he has a chance to read it and understand it. While I agree that Senators should understand bills before they vote on them, I also know that if you sit back and wait for bills to come to your desk to vote on them, then you have missed the opportunity to shape the bill from the inception. Maybe some Massachusetts residents are satisfied to send a Senator who will just sit back and pass judgment on what others propose. I want two Senators who are in the thick of the fight to make the government do what it is supposed to do and solve the problems it is supposed to solve. Elizabeth Warren is one of those two. Ed Markey would be the second one. Gabriel Gomez would partially cancel out Elizabeth Warren.
Gomez was a Navy Seal. I bet there are lots of opportunities to go on dangerous missions once you are a Senator. Maybe he could have hopped over to Libya to save our Ambassador.
As far as I know, Gabriel Gomez is not a lawyer, but he wants to go to the Senate to create laws. Not being a lawyer does not disqualify him, but he does seem out of his league when compared to Ed Markey.
With the ability to get anything done in Washington hanging on whether or not we can stop the Republican filibuster machine, I just cannot understand why we would want to send to Washington a Republican Senator from Massachusetts . I just hope that the voters of Massachusetts have enough strategic sense to see what a bad idea it is to have yet another Republican in Congress.
Perhaps Gabriel Gomez has better skills than the current crop of Republicans at misquoting other people’s emails without getting caught. Perhaps they are so blinded by their own hubris that they cannot read straight let alone think straight.
2013-05-20 | Filed Under SteveG's Posts |
I just received an email from our friendly campaign field organizer, Seth Nadeau.
Hello Team!As you may remember, I worked with all
of you on the Elizabeth Warren campaign! I am excited to be joining
the Ed Markey team for the final push towards Election Day on June
25th!! I know that you all worked so hard to elect our first women
Senator, and has shown us already that she is the real voice
of the people!We have another opportunity to send a
progressive voice to the United States Senate with Ed Markey! We
worked too hard last election to sit back now. Elizabeth Warren and
the people of Massachusetts need a partner in the Senate. In order
to see this through, Ed needs your help in the coming weeks…Here are a few events coming up in your
area:Southbridge Evening CanvassThursday, May 23th 5:30-7:30 PMMeet in the Southbridge RMV parking lotWebster CanvassSaturday, May 25th 11AM-1PMMeet in the Burger King parking lotSouthbridge CanvassSunday, May 26th 1-4PMMeet in the Southbridge RMV parking lotWorcester HQ Phone BanksEVERY NIGHT256 Park Ave, Worcester, MATo RSVP to either one of these events,
please sign up HERE orfeel free to call Seth at 774-230-8519 or email@example.comThere are only 36 days until Election
Day… Let’s do all we can to elect Ed Markey to the US Senate !!
Field Organizer, Southern Worcester County
Ed Markey for US Senate(c) 774-230-8519
2013-05-19 | Filed Under SteveG's Posts |
The New York Times has the OpEd piece Hard of Hearings by Gail Collins.
If Congress wanted to help, the members could simplify the law so I.R.S. minions aren’t trying to figure out which groups spend only 49 percent of their resources on politics as opposed to 51 percent.
Or, they could give the I.R.S. more money to do the job it’s stuck with now. The budget has been cut almost $1 billion over the last few years, while its duties have expanded. Next Friday, I.R.S. workers will enjoy the first of a series of unpaid furloughs thanks to that sequester.
Or Congress could just keep holding committee hearings in hopes that investigators will finally discover that the I.R.S. offices in Cincinnati are actually controlled by a pack of left-wing operatives who are not only Obamaphiles but also vampires. Vampires who had no respect for the laws regarding 501(c)(4) status.
Perhaps you thought I was making it up that Congress cut the IRS budget and then complained that the IRS was working too slowly. Of course, this humorous OpEd is not proof. She could be joking. Why would Congress cut the IRS budget and increase its workload? Nobody in private enterprise would ever lay off people and expect the remaining ones to carry on as if nothing had happened.
Does anybody ever get to hold hearings and ask Congress people to account for their actions?
2013-05-19 | Filed Under SteveG's Posts |
Wired magazine has the article Watch the Biggest Explosion Ever Seen on the Moon that introduces the following video:
The voice over says that astronaughts on the moon might want to stay inside instead of walking on the moon if such a meteoroid were to hit while they were on the moon.
If this hit were the equivalent of 5 tons of TNT as mentioned in the video, what kind of inside do you think would protect an astronaught?
2013-05-18 | Filed Under SteveG's Posts |
The New York Times has the interesting report Confusion and Staff Troubles Rife at I.R.S. Office in Ohio. Here is one small snippet that might give you a feel for what is in the story.
Outside the Cincinnati office on Thursday, employees on smoking breaks voiced many complaints. Pay freezes, mandatory furloughs and the effects of sequestration were all testing their already low morale. But the scandal, some said, had made things worse.
“There’s a buzz in the office about this Tea Party situation,” said Neal Juarez, a case advocate in the Taxpayer Advocate Service. Like several other I.R.S. workers, Mr. Juarez was skeptical that employees in Cincinnati would have acted as they had without some direction from leadership in Washington.
“You know what they say when there’s trouble,” he added. “You know what rolls downhill.”
I don’t suppose any of you who have worked in private industry have ever worked in an understaffed, low morale, poorly managed, Dilbertian organization he sarcastically asks.
You don’t suppose that the continued cutting of the IRS budget by the Republicans in Congress would have anything to do with a setup to bring about just this kind of problem so that they could cut the IRS budget even more? Sort of like cutting the federal spending budget when the economy is down in the dumps due to insufficient consumer demand.
Here is an actual conversation I had with one of my bosses 10 or more years ago as best as I can remember it:
BOSS: Steve, how long will it take you to get out the next release?
STEVE: I should be able to get it done in 2 months.
BOSS: How sure are you that you can meet that deadline?
STEVE: Pretty sure.
BOSS: I don’t understand that answer. You should be 95% certain about every commitment you make, but of course you shouldn’t sandbag either.
[more conversation about the project ensued.]
BOSS: Now how sure are you about meeting the deadline?
STEVE: I am 95% certain I can meet that deadline.
BOSS: How can you say that when you just told me that you weren’t so sure not 5 minutes ago?
STEVE: Well, I am trying to figure out what I can say that will make you happy, but I am having a devil of a time trying to do it.
BOSS: All I want is the truth.
[At the end of the meeting, the boss dismissed everyone and asked Steve to stay behind for further discussion. Steve still worked in that group for a while longer and received high praise for his professionalism while the project was being cancelled. The customer liked the product, but didn't want to pay for it. After the cancellation, Steve went to work for another group in the same company. It was like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. There, he told hid boss's boss that he wouldn't know quality software if he fell over it. Only young people who are financially insecure should ever work for private industry these days. Those of us nearing retirement are just too sassy.]
2013-05-17 | Filed Under SteveG's Posts |
Buycott helps you to organize your everyday consumer spending so that it reflects your principles.
When you use Buycott to scan a product, it will look up the product, determine what brand it belongs to, and figure out what company owns that brand (and who owns that company, ad infinitum). It will then cross-check the product owners against the companies and brands included in the campaigns you’ve joined, in order to tell you if the scanned product conflicts with one of your campaign commitments.
When we went to the grocery store today, I couldn’t remember why I hadn’t already downloaded this app. I had to search through my Facebook history to find the posting about this that someone had made so I could remember the product name and find its web site. That’s when it all came back to me. The Android version of this is not out yet.
I am hoping the next time I visit the grocery store, I’ll then remember to come back to this post to see if the Android version is available yet.
2013-05-15 | Filed Under SteveG's Posts |
The Japanese stock market has been on a tear in the last few months. I think it is not a coincidence that the newly elected Japanese Prime Minister got into office on the promise of strong monetary, fiscal, and system revamping to stimulate the Japanese economy.
So despite what capitalists bad mouth Keynesian economics to the press, look at this chart as to where they put their money. The NIKKEI 225 is an index of the Japanese stock market.
If only capitalists would put their mouths where their money is.