Archive for June 2009

[LCSD] Sansom

June 25, 2009

As it turns out, I can help LT out – click here [UPDATE 7/21/09:  Document removed at the request of the LCSD Superintendent until further notice] to get a copy of the letter Tre’ Kennedy sent to Superintendent Lanning regarding the complaint.

The story on the Lebanon Express site from last week garnered close to 70 comments, and having read the letter, some of those comments are factually incorrect.  I’m posting the letter as a way to set the record a bit straighter.

Assuming what is in the letter is true – and since Kennedy is effectively putting his name on the line by claiming it is, I think that’s a relatively safe assumption – Sansom might have made an error or two in how he handled things.

Finally, I’ve heard there are something like six or eight sets of parents who are looking at retaining an attorney, or have done so already, over the way Sansom has disciplined students.  LT’s right – the incoming Superintendent has something waiting for him.

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Charter Schools

June 23, 2009

I don’t have much to add to this post from Blue Oregon (h/t KD), except to say: Holy crap!  And Jeff Kropf!

…also, make sure and read all the comments.  It gets pretty intense.  Kudos to Carla Axtman for putting the post together and staying engaged throughout the comment thread.

[LCSD] Compare and Contrast

June 23, 2009

The G-T ran a story on the Corvallis Superindendent’s yearly evaluation.  If you’re at all familiar with the train-wreck evaluation procedure adopted by the LCSD intermittently over the last half-decade, you should go read the story.  And if you’re on the school board, you should make sure that all of your peer board members fully participate in the evaluation process going forward.  Seriously.

Parking and OSU

June 20, 2009

So, OSU is planning to create some new parking spaces. Problem is, some of the land in question has been parking in the past – free parking, even, I think.  So this isn’t the creation of new parking spaces per se, but the movement of parking spaces from free, open spots to permitted, closed spots.

OSU also did this with Reser Stadium several years ago – when I started at OSU, the lots were gravel and the spots were free.  One summer, the university decided to pave the spots, mark them off, put up “student or visitor permits required”…. and declared the creation of hundreds of “new” parking spots.  Given the requirements of formal parking lots in terms of trees and the like (requirements which I agree with, by the way), I suspect there were actually less spots after the work than before.

Parking Services might be misunderstood, but they don’t do themselves any favors with this kind of transparent misleading of the public.  Lots of people aren’t buying.

UPDATE:  As commenter Larob notes, parking prices are also going up.  You can find out more here.  I have to say, though, that this I understand more – Parking Services does broadcast, to an extent, the reasoning behind the increases (they are a self-funded unit).  And OSU is one of or the cheapest Pac-10 schools at which to park.  None of that, though, means that it’s not, in the end, insult to injury.

Iran

June 19, 2009

This is hard to beat (but hard to process) for real-time news.  Just keep hitting refresh, or download tweetdeck already.

Why I’m not all that partisan

June 18, 2009

Digby, in an aptly titled post, lays it out:

The bipartisan elite consensus that governs this country is quite simple. First, deficits and high taxes are always the basic cause of economic stress or the biggest threat facing a recovery, no matter the circumstances. (The corollary is that cutting taxes and spending are the ultimate answer to every economic challenge.) Taxes on the wealthy (excuse me “the most productive”) must be kept as low as possible, the military cannot be subject to any budgetary constraint and the national security state cannot be held accountable, business and industry must always be given top priority and all other government expenditures are legislative bargaining chips regardless of their impact on the lives of average Americans. Nobody questions that consensus or even suggests that some other set of priorities might be useful from time to time.

This goes a long way towards explaining why I disdain anyone who understands politics only through a left/right or Dem/Repub lens; a far more useful lens is that of power – who has, what they decide to do with it, and how that relates to what happens to the rest of us.  Digby, here, is laying out the understanding of the world as shared by the power elites, who come from both major parties.

Second, I think that this is the consensus of the power elites suggests that ‘conservatives’ have been far more successful in moving conventional wisdom in the last two decades than any other group, especially any group that could generously be labeled liberal.  To wit:  what Digby describes above is basically Milton Friedman’s wet dream with lots of guns. (Which, to be fair to Friedman, is a bit redundant.  He loved guns.)  That this understanding of the world, if enacted, will result in a tremendous amount of pain and suffering – well, as Digby points out, “actual impact” is really not that important to the group that holds this view, because they will only be positively affected by this crap being implemented.  Look at the wealth transfer of the last decade.

None of this is to say, by the way, that political parties don’t matter at all.  Of course they do, but only to an extent.  They are not the end of American politics; they are only the entertainment for the hoi polloi, constrained to pick between a list of narrow, pre-defined choices that don’t disrupt the political world of the elites.  Don’t believe me?  Look at what’s happening on health care reform in regards to both single-payer and now the public option.

Health Care

June 18, 2009

Given that there appears to be some form of health care reform on the horizon, there’s been a tremendous amount of media coverage, both old and new, of health insurance and the health care system in general.  I’ve followed some of the ins and outs, especially as they pertain to a public plan and the politics of it all, and I have one question for the people involved (especially the naysayers):

Why should a person’s health be a for-profit enterprise at all?  How in the world is that moral?