one after another | Fredrik deBoer
We were on the blacktop and one of the other boys, I’m thinking Kevin Hickman but I don’t really remember, accidentally kicked a playground ball deep into the woods by the blacktop. So he ran in to get it. It seemed like he was in there for ages, and then there was this shout of glee, and he came barreling out pushing a very different ball, a far larger one, a giant earth ball. It was literally taller than he was, but otherwise looked identical to the dull red playground balls we always had, and as he emerged the look of pure joy on his face was impossible, and every other kid let out this absolutely brilliant scream to see a ball that big, and we all ran to touch it. To this day I don’t know how it could have happened that the ball could have been lost in the woods– how could you just forget about a ball that large? — or how long it might have been out there, or how it stayed perfectly inflated for however long it was. But It doesn’t really matter. To this day, the feeling of communal exultation, that pure, unexpected joy, the look on his face as he tore out from the woods, and the fact that I can remember the look on his face but not whose face it was, these things are indelible, things I will remember forever.
20 hours ago
Regulatory Capture, Captured on Video | Rolling Stone
All of which is a complicated way of saying the following: Takeover Artist Jerks use hidden fees to rip investors off.
State spending $1.7 M. to fight school funding challenge | Capital New York
A Capital review of the testimony reports found they were strikingly similar to each other, in some cases using identical phrases or sentences, despite that they were written by different experts about different school districts.
2 days ago
Charles C. W. Cooke, labor activist
It’s that mass contigency– the dramatic rise of at-risk academic labor like adjuncts and grad students– that creates the conditions that Cooke laments on campus. In the past, when a far higher portion of college courses were taught by tenured professors, those who taught college courses had much less reason to fear reprisals from undergraduates. They had the protection of the tenure system and often the benefit of faculty unions that could agitate on their behalf. But with so many instructors in a state of minimal institutional protection or authority, lacking long-term contracts, benefits, or collective bargaining, the risk of angered students multiplies. Adjuncts don’t even need to be fired; they can just not get any classes the next semester. Grad students don’t even need to be fired; they can just have their job applications placed on the deny pile.
2 days ago
We visited 18 schools in 90 days in D.C., and this is what we learned. — Medium
Through all of our visits and research, I kept coming up against the whole idea of the “school choice” movement. Yes, we did make choices about which schools to put on our list. Yes, with the charters and publics taken together, the city offers a variety of different models and philosophies. (We really liked the Montessori schools, for example, but they aren’t for everyone.) And yes, there are some truly excellent schools in the District. But ultimately, our ability to get into those schools is mostly due to chance, not choice.
3 days ago
First day early voting. Take it easy, but take it. | Fred Klonsky
The city recorded an unofficial total of 7,914 ballot applications as of 5:04 p.m the city’s best first day of early voting since it started in February 2007, according to Chicago Board of Election Commissioners spokesman Jim Allen.
3 days ago
Marie Corfield: Can God save the children from #PARCC?
At the station where Jesus carries his cross children were to reflect on their burdens. The cross is a symbol of man's imperfections. When Jesus carried it, he was carrying the sins of all mankind. Any burden from which a child wanted relief could be written on a sticky note and placed on the cross. My friend said that there were approximately 100 notes on the cross, and written on about a quarter of them was one word: PARCC.
5 days ago
David Petraeus Does D.C. - The Baffler
People across the political spectrum agree that the surge was a failure. In FM 3-24, Petraeus wrote what amounts to a high-word-count fortune cookie. Then, he betrayed classified information to a civilian, lied to the FBI about it, and escaped prison time for any of it. Now he’s making millions and advising the White House on how to deal with a problem that he most likely contributed to in the first place.
It’s incredible, the number of chances some elite figures are given to fuck up. Some people are never allowed to step up to the plate. Petraeus keeps swinging and missing, ad infinitum.
5 days ago
Zoning Out The Poors
The real gentrification concern isn't that some neighborhoods will get too pricey, it's that when they do, the poors simply won't have anywhere to go.
6 days ago
SRA Cards: A History of Programmed Instruction and Personalization
Me, I don’t share that fondness. I remember thinking mostly that the reading passages were incredibly dull. The behavior I learned: burn through the cards as quickly as possible and once you finish the last color – was it purple? – the teacher shrugs and lets you choose your own reading.
8 days ago
The Philosohy of Populist Change
We need $100 trillion in investments over the next two decades to entirely replace fossil fuels. Of what use is Marxist analysis in getting that done? But Veblen’s producer / predator analysis – that the major struggle in modern economies is the one between industry and business – is immensely valuable. Capitalists who want to build the 1.7 billion home solar power systems we need? Good – even if they are still capitalists. But, capitalists who want to stymie the move to renewables, like the Koch brothers, in order to continue profiting from fossil fuels? Or capitalists who want to identify and buy up emerging companies in renewables and add them to their already immense corporate empires, such as General Electric, and cartelize the industry? Bad.
8 days ago
I asked the cafe owners what they wanted from local government. They didn’t hesitate. “Trash cans.” That’s it. Simple stuff like trash cans, public benches, promotional banners, and some street plantings would go a long way to improving the business district. How hard could it be to get bike racks? I asked if the shops couldn’t just get together and purchase these things themselves. They already looked into it. The regulations pertaining to public infrastructure are ungodly. You can improve your own private property, which many shopkeepers have already done, but you can’t tamper with public property without engaging the most horrific and expensive political process. “Specifications Pertaining to Refuse Receptacles in the Public Right of Way, Volume Six.” It simply isn’t worth it.
9 days ago
DownWithTyranny!: Climate Change, the "Free Market" & the California Drought
It's only a matter then of what solutions will be considered. When people stop letting the rich say, "Well, we can't throw money at it," we'll be on our way to solving this. We can throw money at it, the money of the wealthy first, and throw Robert "free market" Rubin out of the room while we discuss how to spend it. At that point, if we're lucky, the question will be, do we want to solve the problem or keep the rich folk happy?

In that sense, the political problem is just an intimidation problem — and it's one we face today on many issues, like "school reform" or NAFTA-style trade agreements. Can we throw Robert Rubin out of the discussion? Sure. Will we? Only if we think we have that choice.
9 days ago
In cash-strapped Philly school district, a hidden treasure trove of books
There are thousands more unused books - and other things city kids badly need, including pianos and other instruments - piled up in the hallways and classrooms of the shuttered Bok High School in South Philadelphia.
10 days ago
Spellings Remains Steadfastly Wrong
Spellings also likes the tale of how, pre-NCLB, nobody knew anything about how schools that served poor and minority students were under-served, under-resourced, and under-funded. Once test results came out, minority children could no longer fall through the cracks. Perhaps you remember that year that state and federal government unleashed a wave of financial support, delivering on the promise that our poorest schools would be funded just as well as our richest ones. Oh, wait. That never actually happened.
11 days ago
The Big Standardized Test has a million points of vulnerability. BS Tests face an inherent contradiction-- security is maintained by letting as few people as possible actually see the product, and yet the product can't be used without being viewed. This means (in a relationship dynamic repeated throughout the world of education reform) that the clients are also the enemy.
11 days ago
'You eat what you kill': Wall Street bonuses keep soaring as profits decline | Money | The Guardian
Wall Street prefers to look at bonus payouts as a function of revenue. Even so, that still means that banks like JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are handing over about 40 to 50 cents out of every dollar of revenue they generate every year in bonuses. The argument is that they need to do this to keep their top performers in place, and to provide them with an incentive to keep bringing in more revenue. “You eat what you kill” is the motto on many a trading desk.
11 days ago
Answer to Job | Slate Star Codex
12 days ago
The Quick and Clean Guide to Fixing the Economy (Keynesian Stimulus #2) | Ian Welsh
How would one do a Keynesian stimulus properly today?  Remember, the preconditions for it to work are that it not overly aggravate bottlenecks (not send oil to $150/barrel, for example); that it not aggravate overused sinks (carbon); and that the money not pool uselessly at the top.  Keynesian stimulus must create widespread demand.  Further, in a world with bottleneck constraints, sink problems and overuse of even renewable resources, it should help resolve those problems.
13 days ago
Too Good To Be True
The second study results work only on a complex statistical manipulation and disappear when you do basic correlation; further, although the manipulation is supposed to work by increasing trait growth mindset, the correlation between trait growth mindset and academic achievement when correlated directly is actually negative across all variables and in some cases significantly so (!)
15 days ago
Big Box Urbanism
The idea that a town can repeatedly offer tax abatements to the same property in the short term in order to create tax revenue and prosperity over the long haul is a bad economic model. In fact, having neighboring towns race to see who can repeatedly impoverish themselves the most in an attempt to grow rich on new business is also a bad plan. Both towns know private corporations actively game the system, yet they can’t seem to help themselves. They still wet their pants at the thought that the next town over might get the new Applebee’s or Jiffy Lube instead of them. It’s a form of institutional insanity.
15 days ago
Girls of lost subcultures | Nicola Griffith
In the summer of 1981, when I was 20, I went down to London with my partner, Carol (we lived together for ten years before I moved to the US to be with Kelley), for the first UK Lesbian Conference. It was academic and political. Carol and I were there, though, to party. And at the social we got seriously wasted on magic mushrooms. If I recall correctly (and that’s a big if—in those days I took a lot) Carol began to freak out a bit—those of you who are familiar with the psilocybin  cycle know that this can happen to some people; it generally doesn’t last long—and I led her to a dark wall and put my arm around her to shelter her from the worst of the noise and light until she found her equilibrium. Just as she was breathing and calming down (but was not quite out of the woods) a woman with a camera appeared and asked if she could take our picture. I was a bit fretful behind my euphoria—mushrooms are like that—worried about Carol, feeling super-protective, and was about to say no when Carol beamed and said, “Yeah, let’s do it!”
16 days ago
Charter Investors’ Conference: Your Tax Dollars at Work:
“Join us for this one day symposium on charter school credit worthiness. Hear inside perspectives from investors, authorizers, academic experts, nonprofit lenders, rating agencies, and charter school borrowers. Learn and understand the value of investing in charter schools and best practices.” Here is the program lightly edited, without names.
19 days ago
Why Do We Do This?
This is actually the premier high-end public high school in Quartz Hill, California. Families move to Quartz Hill specifically because of the quality of the schools. Yet the physical building stock is composed of a few core brick and mortar structures and a flotilla of portable “temporary” glue box classrooms. This isn’t an impoverished community. In fact, Quartz Hill is an area where the slightly better off families migrate to when they feel that older neighborhoods in the region are beginning to decline. So why does the most desirable public school in this respectable outer suburb look like an insecticide factory in a ghetto?
19 days ago
Celtic Necropolis Near Troyes
There is news of a major archaeological find in France, at a site near Troyes. Researchers are sifting through a large neolithic necropolis, containing the resting place of a Celtic prince buried in the 5th century B.C. The extensive funerary complex, covering an area over two hectares, contains remains of men, women, and children buried over a period of about 1,600 years.
20 days ago
Swinging Modern Sounds #63: It’s Supposed To Be Bad - The
But then we reach the law of unintended consequences. Postmodernism cut the foundation out from under us—killed the idea that the arts and literary were something holy or transcendent—leaving culture entirely exposed to the logic of the marketplace. I used to love those thinkers and their audacity—it reminded me of punk rock. But I realize now that postmodernism is just another word for neoliberalism. Reagan and Warhol were secret lovers, and Jeff Koons and Lady Gaga are their nasty little millionaire children.
21 days ago
The case against private education: Why we put our kids in public school -
We left the private school system because we were stressed, in all kinds of ways.  As soon as we stopped paying two private school tuitions, I was able to quit my second job and we stopped constantly worrying about money. We stopped driving half an hour twice a day, cursing rush hour, to get kids to school.  Our neighborhood schools are minutes away. We were also able to step away from the activities arms race that seems part of the fabric of private school culture and that contains its own vocabulary of essentials for success: Suzuki, Kumon, Parkour, au pair.

Public school means that we, as a family, can relax.
22 days ago
CURMUDGUCATION: What Does It Take for Teachers To Lead?
Hess suggests (not for the first time) that the ed reform wars have been about communication and trust, but they have also been about power (and money) and there is only so much power that teachers can claim before the people who have the power and insist on keeping the power simply get to building a bigger cage.
23 days ago
A negative interest rate world? Why? | Ian Welsh
US broadband profits are almost 100%-annualized.  Every app store takes a 30% cut (a level which would have been shut down by regulators of the post-war liberal period.)  Copyright law makes it difficult to impossible to create generic alternatives to common items.  These have all led to very high profit levels, and those profits have largely been plowed back into stock buy backs (most corporate borrow is matched by stock buy backs).  But much of the economy is not available to be bought on the stock market, many large investors can’t invest on the stock market by law (they have to invest in high-grade bonds), and much of those profits are now priced into stock prices anyway.
23 days ago
This is how the American system of government will die - Vox
The best-case scenario is that we wind up with an elective dictator but retain peaceful transitions of power. This is where I'd place my bet. Pure parliamentary systems, especially unicameral ones, give high levels of power to the prime minister and his cabinet, and manage to have peaceful transitions nonetheless. The same is true in Brazil, where the presidency is considerably more powerful than it is in the US.
24 days ago
American democracy is doomed - Vox
As Vox's Andrew Prokop has argued, the pattern is actually much broader. Obama's handling of K-12 education policy is in some ways an even more paradigmatic example of constitutional hardball. The George W. Bush-era education law No Child Left Behind laid out penalties for state education systems that didn't meet certain, rather unrealistic, targets. The law's authors assumed that when the law came up for reauthorization, the targets would be changed. In case Congress didn't act in time, the Secretary of Education also had the authority to issue waivers of the penalties. Since Congress no longer really functions, there has been no reauthorization of the law. So the Obama administration has issued waivers — but only to states that implement policy changes ordered by the Department of Education.
24 days ago
My libertarian vacation nightmare: How Ayn Rand, Ron Paul & their groupies were all debunked -
In Honduras, the police ride around in pickup trucks with machine guns, but they aren’t there to protect most people.  They are scary to locals and travelers alike.  For individual protection there’s an army of private, armed security guards who are found in front of not only banks, but also restaurants, ATM machines, grocery stores and at any building that holds anything of value whatsoever.  Some guards have uniforms and long guns but just as many are dressed in street clothes with cheap pistols thrust into waistbands.  The country has a handful of really rich people, a small group of middle-class, some security guards who seem to be getting by and a massive group of people who are starving to death and living in slums.  You can see the evidence of previous decades of infrastructure investment in roads and bridges, but it’s all in slow-motion decay.
25 days ago
Signs of Intelligent Life in Economics Profession | Al Jazeera America
“The core problem is that there aren't enough jobs,” said the former Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton and top economics adviser to Barack Obama. “If you help some people, you could help them get the jobs, but then someone else won't get the jobs. Unless you're doing things that have things that are affecting the demand for jobs, you're helping people win a race to get a finite number of jobs.”
25 days ago
Skating the City | northmodern
Skateboarding and architecture go hand in hand, but only recently have Danish city planners begun including skateboarders in the big decisions. What began as an obscure and overlooked subculture is now finding support from public and private actors at an increasing rate.
25 days ago
Coleman's CCSS Writing Style
One of the most remarkable features about his work as a public education policy scholar is that he never cites the work of another authority-- Coleman's ideas presumably spring full-blown from his own fertile mind without the need for any other scholars, writers, thought leaders, or researchers.
27 days ago
Moxie Marlinspike >> Blog >> GPG And Me
These are deep structural problems. GPG isn’t the thing that’s going to take us to ubiquitous end to end encryption, and if it were, it’d be kind of a shame to finally get there with 1990’s cryptography. If there’s any good news, it’s that GPG’s minimal install base means we aren’t locked in to this madness, and can start fresh with a different design philosophy. When we do, let’s use GPG as a warning for our new experiments, and remember that “innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1000 things.”
29 days ago
The simple reason Walmart & TJ Maxx are handing out raises — people are quitting - Vox
One reason the policy conversation has been dominated by speculation about education and artificial intelligence rather than business-cycle management is that it feels more prestigious to worry about profound long-term problems than superficial short-term ones. But the long-term is, in a sense, just an endless series of short-term spells. And for about a generation, business cycle management in the United States has been dominated by NAIRU paranoia in a way that's led directly to sluggish income growth (NAIRU is sometimes called the "natural rate of unemployment" and refers to the jobless rate below which economists think inflation will start to take off).
29 days ago
Shutting Schools
But aside from the specifics of that, one thing that's long confused me in this whole "school reform" conversation is that forcing a kid to go to a new school is really traumatic. I thought we knew this. The "new kid in school" trauma trope is a pretty standard thing. I moved around some as a kid, and showing up at a new school was really really hard. You don't know anybody and every institution has their microcustoms and behavioral expectations that aren't easy for a 9-year-old to grasp.
4 weeks ago
PARCC has been criticized for including "product placement" in its testing, with brand names and logos included in the questions. But this is even creepier-- a selection that includes a whole corporate philosophy. The issues here are huge and difficult and complex-- Should a corporation own a life form, or the DNA of a life form? Should the legal system let itself be used as corporate cops? Does our need for plentiful food justify extra protections for food corporations? And that's before we get into How the Justice System Works questions.
4 weeks ago
So we can't compare the students of Idaho to the students of Florida. We can't stack-rank the schools of Pennsylvania against the schools of Texas. We cannot measure how the Common Core is doing in every corner of the nation. There is no national, common assessment, and there never will be. On this point, at least, the reformsters have failed.
4 weeks ago
The One Where Larry Summers Demolished the Robots and Skills Arguments | Next New Deal
That is over. They say Washington DC has had a huge crime decline, but I just saw one of the most vicious muggings I’m likely to see, one where David Autor and Larry Summers just tore this idea that a Machine Age is responsible for our economic plight apart on a panel yesterday at the Hamilition Project for the launch of a new Machine Age report. Summers, in particular, took an aggressive tone that is likely to be where liberal and Democratic Party mainstream economic thinking is in advance of 2016. It is a very, very good place.
5 weeks ago
Eschaton: Kick The Poors
I've long thought that the low pay and shitty scheduling practices of places like Walmart didn't really make any economic sense, but instead just sprang from a contempt for workers by a layer of middle managers who didn't have much control over anything but worker hours and pay. They don't control the global supply chain, they don't control the marketing, and they probably don't even have much control over local inventory. So reducing labor costs is the only way to prove their worth.
5 weeks ago
The Risky Wiki
Recommendations: elementary school and high school students should treat Wikipedia as a dangerous place, exactly as they treat Internet chat rooms. Students should be warned to avoid contributing to the encyclopedia and, if they do contribute, to prepare for harassment that may well spill over into email and even physical encounters. College students may have more latitude, but even then, they should understand that any significant editing about their favorite game, YouTube personality, or historical event might bring the Army of Mordor down upon them.
5 weeks ago
NPR Report on Free-Range Kids Seems to Assume “Times Have Changed” | Free Range Kids
Ironically, most of us Free-Range parents would love a “busybody” who looks out for our kids, rather than calling the cops or CPS. The assumption that any neighborly interactions will be met with umbrage (or worse!) is just part of the vicious circle we have to break to get kids back outside.
5 weeks ago
Pharma Virumque | Slate Star Codex
It turned out that the nurses hated the social workers for making them wait on the phone forever in order to get a straight answer. The social workers hated the nurses for always calling them up when they were busy about things and expecting an answer RIGHT NOW. The social workers hated the doctors for giving patients one measly prescription, then handing them over to them to fix all of the impossible problems in their life. The doctors hated the social workers, because when we give patients one measly prescription and then hand them over to the social workers to fix all of their impossible problems, sometimes the impossible problems don’t get fixed.
5 weeks ago
Investment Riches Built on Subprime Auto Loans to Poor -
In a kind of alchemy that Wall Street has previously performed with mortgages, thousands of subprime auto loans are bundled together and sold as securities to investors, including mutual funds, insurance companies and hedge funds. By slicing and dicing the securities, any losses if borrowers default can be contained, in theory.
5 weeks ago
Did Falling Testosterone Affect Falling Crime? | Slate Star Codex
(A quick aside – since these chemicals are gender-bending fish, frogs, and various other animals, could they be responsible for transgender in humans? This theory seems to still be in crackpot territory, but I don’t know why. Research shows that male-assigned-at-birth children exposed to diethylstilbestrol in the womb are more likely to become transgender than the general population. Other than that, there just seems to be one unpublished paper on the subject. Get to work, scientists!)
5 weeks ago
jwz: Borderlands Books owner doubles down on douchebaggery
Businesses fail when operating costs outstrip income, period. Cherry-picking a proximate cause of increased costs as the reason just demonstrates what political bone you have to pick, not the actual economics of the situation.
5 weeks ago
The Trucking Industry Needs More Drivers. Maybe It Needs to Pay More. -
But corporate America has become so parsimonious about paying workers outside the executive suite that meaningful wage increases may seem an unacceptable affront. In this environment, it may be easier to say “There is a shortage of skilled workers” than “We aren’t paying our workers enough,” even if, in economic terms, those come down to the same thing.
5 weeks ago
CURMUDGUCATION: Waiting for Marshmallows
In other words, the quality of deferred gratification is not just an innate immutable quality that the child possesses in some sort of vacuum-- it's a rational reasoned response to what one knows about conditions in the environment. Put another way, this quality of "self-control" is really about the relationship between the person and the environment (particularly the parts of that environment shaped by other people).
6 weeks ago
What should America do about the Middle East? - Hullabaloo
"America is like a dog with a hot spot on its butt called the Middle East, and you think you have to keep licking it." Genius.
6 weeks ago
Money, Money, Everywhere, But Not A Cent To Spend
So what bothered me is that psychiatric hospitalization costs about $1,000 a day. Average length of stay for a guy like him might be three to five days. So we were spending $5,000 on his psychiatric hospitalization, which was USELESS, so that we could send him out and he could attempt suicide again because of his $5,000 debt which he has no way of paying off. And probably end up in the hospital a second time, for that matter.
6 weeks ago
How Well are Charter Schools in DC Educating Students Who are Officially At-Risk?
5. It looks like we are now turning into a tripartite school system: one for affluent and well-educated familes (relatively high fractions of whites and Asians; mostly but not all in regular Ward 3 public schools); one for those in the middle (mostly blacks and hispanics, many enrolled in charter schools), and one for those at the seriously low end of the socio-economic spectrum, overwhelmingly African-American, largely At Risk, and mostly in highly-segregated regular public schools.
6 weeks ago
The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think | Johann Hari
The results of all this are now in. An independent study by the British Journal of Criminology found that since total decriminalization, addiction has fallen, and injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. I'll repeat that: injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. Decriminalization has been such a manifest success that very few people in Portugal want to go back to the old system. The main campaigner against the decriminalization back in 2000 was Joao Figueira, the country's top drug cop. He offered all the dire warnings that we would expect from the Daily Mail or Fox News. But when we sat together in Lisbon, he told me that everything he predicted had not come to pass -- and he now hopes the whole world will follow Portugal's example.
6 weeks ago
Crazy old man rants in Central Park about young black men committing 95% of all murders - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money
Bloomberg claimed that 95 percent of murders fall into a specific category: male, minority and between the ages of 15 and 25.

Per the most recent FBI statistics, the actual percentage appears to be 22.8.
6 weeks ago
Cool interview with Guy Picciotto, and great playlist of songs played too...
Fugazi, with their reasonably priced records and shows, demonstrated how bands could find their own way without the preconceived notion that you needed corporate label backing to have an impact (and a career!). The conversation explores the early days of DC punk, meeting the Cramps and legendary Atlantic Records mogul Ahmet Ertegun’s attempts to sign the band, the inspiration behind Rites of Spring and so much more…
6 weeks ago
NRA: Papa Don’t Preach 2 (a fanfic interlude)
He twisted his face at her a bit harder and continued, “The Bible says, ‘If she has defiled herself and has been unfaithful to her husband, the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain, and her womb shall discharge, her uterus drop, and the woman shall become an execration among her people. But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, then she shall be immune and be able to conceive children.’”
6 weeks ago
No profit left behind - Stephanie Simon - POLITICO
To prepare their students for Pearson exams, districts can buy Pearson textbooks, Pearson workbooks and Pearson test prep, such as a suite of software that includes 60,000 sample exam questions. They can connect kids to Pearson’s online tutoring service or hire Pearson consultants to coach their teachers. Pearson also sells software to evaluate teachers and recommend Pearson professional development classes to those who rate poorly — perhaps because their students aren’t faring well on Pearson tests.
6 weeks ago
To Save Money on Building Rail, Spend Money on Marketing Buses -
That fact, laid out in a 2009 report from the Federal Transit Administration, isn’t surprising, but it has led to a perverse outcome: Transit agencies are spending millions of dollars on new rail infrastructure that is no faster than existing bus service, simply because riders perceive a train as better than a bus.
6 weeks ago
The productivity slowdown: Is structural stagnation our fate? | LBO News from Doug Henwood
Why does this all matter? Productivity growth puts an upper bound on economy-wide income growth. Politics and institutions determine how that growth is distributed—for the last few decades in the U.S., most of those gains have gone to the top tiers. That need not be, if politics and institutions change. Stronger unions, better labor law, and a more civilized welfare state could change how income is distributed. But if productivity growth remains this slow, or picks up to the 1% range that Gordon foresees, then there’s a lot less to (re)distribute. And if this is so, then structural stagnation will long be with us.
6 weeks ago
Why I Heart King Abdullah | The Nation
1. King Abdullah was old school, and old school is good. We haven’t had a monarch like him in the West in hundreds of years, and look what a mess we’re in. Some people compare him to Louis XIV, absolute monarch extraordinaire, but I plan to argue that he was more like Henry VIII, because they both enjoyed beheading people and getting married a lot. Actually, most kings back then did the kinds of things Abdullah was famous for: throwing their enemies into dungeons, banning all religions but their own, public executions, torture, tossing ridiculous amounts of money about. The queens were much the same—look at Isabella I, who banished the Jews and Muslims from Spain and let the Inquisition set up shop in her country. In some ways, Abdullah was a lot like her. Not entirely—there was that business with expelling the Muslims (expelling the Jews, good!), plus Isabella had an egalitarian marriage with King Ferdinand, and she thought the world was round, as Columbus said—I wouldn’t want to suggest that Abdullah shared her progressive views on that! But they both ruled medieval, cleric-ridden kingdoms and did their best to keep them that way in a changing world. Do you think it would be an insult to compare Abdullah to a woman?
6 weeks ago
jwz: If the law impedes your ability to make a profit, it's ok to ignore that law, right?
Fuck you, Kobi Mohan. If your business is unsustainable, then you can either, A) fix your business model to be profitable, or B) fail. Declaring yourself a magical unicorn who doesn't have to follow the laws that other people do just makes you a parasite.
6 weeks ago
Why 40 Doesn't Mean Much in Skateboarding Anymore | RIDE Channel
How old is your favorite skateboarder? Realistically, his age could range from something like 16 to 45. And that’s kind of amazing.
6 weeks ago
'Singing from the same hymnbook': Education policy advocacy at Gates and Broad » AEI
Two of the most prominent new philanthropic foundations, the Bill and Melinda Gates and Broad Foundations, have doubled down on their efforts to directly shape federal education policy and politics. This paper will illuminate the advocacy funding strategies that contributed to the alignment of the two foundations’ policy priorities (including the Common Core State Standards, teacher evaluation, and charter schools) with the federal policy agenda. An array of foundation-funded interest groups has helped promote these priorities; as one Gates official explained in an interview, “Anybody who cares to look would find very quickly that all of these organizations [are] suddenly singing from the same hymnbook.” Reckhow and Tompkins-Stange trace grants using foundation tax returns and examine policy advocacy by analyzing the congressional testimony of Gates and Broad grantees. Drawing on analysis of giving and dozens of in-depth interviews with current and former foundation officials, they explore how these foundations developed their advocacy strategies, how their strategies have unfolded, and what these activities mean for policy and practice.
6 weeks ago
The nature of a corporation and how it changed in the 1980s
Pfizer is telling Wall Street that the acquisition will be ‘accretive to earnings’ and it will cut $800M in costs. Laying off scientists. What this means, in reality, is that large pharma companies are actually innovation destroying machines. How did we get here?
6 weeks ago
Inside Training Document Reveals How Test-Supporters Want to Talk About Testing - Living in Dialogue
“It’s okay to compare, but put the emphasis on how these tests are an improvement, not on how the old tests are bad. Nobody wants to feel like they’ve wasted time and money. And if you start bashing tests, your audience may not know which test you’re bashing.”
6 weeks ago
Don't Arse It Up
Don't vilify the wealthy, just make them pay some taxes for the state apparatus which devotes itself to preserving their wealth.
6 weeks ago
The Efficacy Of Everything In Psychiatry In One Graph Plus Several Pages Of Dense But Necessary Explanation
Actually, reread that one more time. Effect sizes for the low quality trials are triple those for the high-quality trials. If you ever wanted proof that it’s way too easy to inflate positive findings if your science isn’t really exceptionally good, there you go.
6 weeks ago
jwz: Transmissible obesity
Poop transplant from fat donor makes you fat.
6 weeks ago
he-man free speech defenders policing my speech | Fredrik deBoer
Civility, in the real world, has one function: to defend the powerful and connected against criticism. I believe in kindness. I believe in empathy. When they are warranted and appropriate, as they are with strangers or those who lack influence and power. But I have never seen civility endorsed, in the way it constantly is against me, in a way that doesn’t seek to preserve the delicate feelings of the already-influential. Yes, I believe that political correctness has some negative consequences, yes. We have to be able to say so when it does. But political correctness is a sometimes-unhelpful way to defend the weak. Civility, at least as it exists in real practice, is an always-unhelpful way to defend the powerful. It’s political correctness in the defense of the connected. And unlike most people who call for political correctness, those who call for civility tend to have teeth. They actually can achieve some of the nefarious personal consequences that are routinely associated with political correctness, precisely because the people who call for civility are the ones with the power.
7 weeks ago
don’t be an accelerant
Last semester, I started to develop an academic research project on #CancelColbert. I had to abandon it, as I just had too much on my plate. But I did a bunch of initial data gathering, and in that period I looked at literally thousands of Tweets from that controversy. It was there that I really got a sense that the typical conception that toxic online politics emerge from people of color, women, or the working class is wrong. Again and again, I found that the people who really caused the deepest nastiness appeared to be self-style white allies. Given the anonymity of Twitter, it wasn’t always possible to ascertain these things, and I will admit that this is more of an anecdotal impression than a systematic review. But so often, the people who raised the rhetorical stakes, the people who got really nasty, the people who made it all personal, were not the activists of color but the white allies. And I found this slice of people to be a really strange phenomenon. Often, they did not have any particular markers of being activists away from Twitter. They typically didn’t have their own writing careers. They seemed to only engage in that space. And they seemed only to engage in that way. I can’t tell you how many accounts I found that seemed simply to pinball from one online controversy to another, raising the stakes wherever they could, making progress impossible. They don’t do the organizing and advocacy that the actual activists do, and they don’t perform the necessary function of internal criticism that all healthy political movements need. They just exacerbate conflict and slander people.
7 weeks ago
I don’t know what to do, you guys
Jon Chait is an asshole. He’s wrong. I don’t want these kids to be more like Jon Chait. I sure as hell don’t want them to be less left-wing. I want them to be more left-wing. I want a left that can win, and there’s no way I can have that when the actually-existing left sheds potential allies at an impossible rate. But the prohibition against ever telling anyone to be friendlier and more forgiving is so powerful and calcified it’s a permanent feature of today’s progressivism. And I’m left as this sad old 33 year old teacher who no longer has the slightest fucking idea what to say to the many brilliant, passionate young people whose only crime is not already being perfect.
8 weeks ago
When I grit on grit
And many at EduCon also contended that inside schools, grit is frequently, and wrongfully, conflated with compliance (e.g., completing homework assignments, paying attention in class, or taking standardized tests seriously.)
8 weeks ago
Mark Bernstein: Unanswered
Attacking is the wrong move anyway. Apologize, demonstrate thought, and show care. Sure, that might look like losing: as you say, it’s not a battleground.
8 weeks ago
After Cuomo’s surprise, overnight subway service continues without passengers :: Second Ave. Sagas
The problem with Cuomo’s decision is that it doesn’t make sense. It’s a noble goal to keep cars off the road so that emergency response teams and plows can move through the city unimpeded. But it ignores the reality of New York City — an often inconvenient one for Cuomo — to shutter the subway. Now, New Yorkers, from everyone building cleaning crews to service employees at bars who are on duty until 4 a.m. to nurses and hospitals on duty overnight, can’t get around the city because the Governor decided it was somehow a danger for a subway system that operates largely underground to keep running through a massive but hardly unprecedented snow storm. Cuomo doesn’t want to deal with headlines placing the blame for the next stranded subway on his shoulders so instead, the entire city is effectively shut down.
8 weeks ago
Problem with 'Grit,' KIPP, and Character-Based Education | The New Republic
Today’s grit and self-control are basically industry and temperance in the guise of psychological constructs rather than moral imperatives. Why is this distinction important? While it takes grit and self-control to be a successful heart surgeon, the same could be said about a suicide bomber. When your character education scheme fails to distinguish between doctors and terrorists, heroes and villains, it would appear to have a basic flaw. Following the KIPP growth card protocol, Bernie Madoff’s character point average, for instance, would be stellar. He was, by most accounts, an extremely hard working, charming, wildly optimistic man.
8 weeks ago
Mark Bernstein: Resignation
A project which punished editors for defending the good names and reputations of living people from vicious internet trolls does not deserve to survive.
8 weeks ago
Calliope Sounds: Hypercard: Freedom to Associate
Found this at the bottom of a drawer today.
8 weeks ago
A Philosopher Walks Into A Coffee Shop
Pierre Proudhon goes up to the counter and orders a Tazo Green Tea with toffee nut syrup, two espresso shots, and pumpkin spice mixed in. The barista warns him that this will taste terrible. “Pfah!” scoffs Proudhon. “Proper tea is theft!”
8 weeks ago
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