Feed on

Reporters are lazy

As I’ve been saying for 25 years or so. And this piece by David Dayen makes it clear that it’s no different on the national level.

Fisting America

Glenn Beck:


So the majority party gets booted out because of the backlash against the IMF austerity deal that’s hurting the people, and the new right-wing ruling coalition has decided to keep the deal exactly the way it is. The new prime minister is a Dan Quayle-like empty suit whose only government experience was running the tourism bureau, and the new finance minister is (surprise!) a pro-business, anti-tax absolutist who is much loved by bankers.

“I wouldn’t see anything there that would scare the markets, scare Europe, scare the IMF or change anything very substantially going forward,” said Eoin Fahy, chief economist, Kleinwort Benson Investors.

Indeed. It’s the voters who should be scared.

Good news

From NPR and PBS. Glad to hear it, because too many people are getting away with too damned much, now that newspaper staffs have been cut to the bone:

WASHINGTON — NPR, PBS and local public broadcast stations around the country are hiring more journalists and pumping millions of dollars into investigative news to make up for what they see as a lack of deep-digging coverage by their for-profit counterparts.

Public radio and TV stations have seen the need for reporting that holds government and business accountable increase as newspapers and TV networks cut their staffs and cable television stations have filled their schedules with more opinion journalism.

“Where the marketplace is unable to serve, that’s the role of public media,” PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger said last year at a summit on the future of media at the Federal Communications Commission. “PBS exists to serve the people, not to sell them.”

In the past three years, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has invested more than $90 million in federal funds on new journalism initiatives. That includes a $10 million local journalism initiative that is paying for the creation of five regional centers that will help local PBS and NPR stations cover news that affects wider geographic areas. Also, a $6 million grant from the group expanded the PBS investigative series “Frontline” from a seasonal series with a summer break to a year-round program.

Meanwhile, NPR has started an investigative reporting unit supported by philanthropic funds – including $3.2 million donated in the last year.

Papa come quick

Bonnie Raitt and Allison Krauss:


But of course! This is a guy who got elected by saying very little about what he’d actually do:

If he said it once, he said it a million times. When Attorney General Tom Corbett was campaigning for governor, he promised Pennsylvania voters an open and transparent government. With occasional exceptions, it seems, when it comes to the new governor’s personal appearances.

A Berks County state Senate candidate, Larry Medaglia, and the county GOP invited reporters to a fund-raiser Thursday at the Reading County Club, where Corbett was the headliner.

But no one except the 100 or so people who attended know what Corbett had to say.

Why? Because the governor tossed out reporters, saying he would not speak until they had left.

A stunned and chagrined Medaglia apologized to the press corps gathered there. Afterward, Corbett was whisked out a back door surrounded by security, according to the Pottstown Mercury.

The great awakening

When a Villager gets screwed by a mortgage company, it suddenly becomes A Real Issue. Well, better late than never, I suppose. Welcome to the club, Dana!

‘A back-door Wisconsin’

The union leader’s assessment is right on target: This is, indeed, a “back-door Wisconsin.” The Providence school board just eviscerated the union contract so they can fire the most experienced (and most expensive) teachers at the end of the school year — instead of laying them off. This move also probably denies them unemployment benefits. This is just shameless:

PROVIDENCE — After two hours of contentious discussion, the School Board voted 4 to 3 Thursday night to send out termination notices to each of the city’s 1,926 public school teachers.

More than 700 teachers jammed a high school gymnasium to tell school officials that their hearts were broken, their trust violated and their futures as teachers jeopardized.

“How do we feel? Disrespected,” said Julie Latessa, a special-needs teacher, before the vote. “We are broken. How do you repair the damage you have done today?”

Every teacher received a certified letter from the School Department on Thursday informing them that they might be terminated at the end of the school year. It also said the School Board would vote on the proposed dismissals at Thursday night’s meeting, which was moved to the Providence Career and Technical Academy to accommodate the huge turnout.

Many of the teachers were caught off guard by Mayor Angel Taveras’ decision to terminate teachers instead of laying them off. Last night, speakers questioned the mayor’s rationale: a $40-million school budget deficit and a March 1 deadline by which the School Department must notify teachers if their jobs are in jeopardy.

“This is a quasi-legal power grab,” said Richard Larkin, a teacher at Classical High School. “You want to pick and choose teachers. Well, we will not be bullied.”

[...] Teachers begged the School Board to issue layoffs rather than fire them outright because, under the layoff provisions, teachers are recalled based on seniority. There is no guarantee that seniority would be used to bring back any of the fired teachers. School leaders have been vague about exactly how seniority will play out in the case of terminations.

Before the vote, several School Board members explained their reasons for supporting or rejecting the motion to dismiss:

Philip Gould said he believes that Providence Teachers Union President Steve Smith is committed to serious and meaningful school reform, adding that if “we do this, it will be detrimental to the children of this district.”

[...] Earlier Thursday, Smith called the terminations “an attack on labor and an attack on collective bargaining.”

“This is a back-door Wisconsin,” Smith said, referring to the weeklong protests in Madison by labor unions. “We don’t know why we’re being fired. The mayor says he needs flexibility. Can you buy that? I don’t know of any other district that has done this.”

Thursday night, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, called the possible dismissals “shocking,” and said the move will “disrupt the education of all students and the entire community.”

Superintendent Brady has said that the majority of teachers will be rehired but could not give any details until the mayor’s special panel completes its report on the city’s financial status.

Meanwhile, the TEA teachers union in Tennessee rallied Saturday to preserve collective bargaining:

More than 3,000 people marched on downtown Nashville to protest legislation that would end collective bargaining for teachers in Tennessee.

Democratic lawmakers, union representatives and education activists denounced the Republican-sponsored bills as a political attack to destroy the Democratic Party’s fund-raising and voter base.

“This is not about budgets. This is a political ballgame. They want to silence the votes of teachers,” said Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association. The Arizona math teacher flew in for Tennessee’s rally as he has for others in Wisconsin and the Northwest.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville warned that Republicans won’t stop with dismantling teachers’ unions and bargaining rights. “They’ll be coming after police officers, firefighters, construction workers and service workers.”

Try me again

Trish Yearwood does a real nice job with this Linda Ronstadt/Andrew Gold song:

Do you love me


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