Tuesday, February 19

Tuesday Olio: I'm Not In The Office At This Time Edition

• Evangelical disk jockey and Attempted Governor of Indiana Mike "Choirboy" Pence closed his office Friday for "out of office staff meetings". Which seems to have caught every professional and semi-pro observer of the Indiana statehouse by surprise. A Pence nuncio later announced that the meetings had long been scheduled, and blamed the confusion on a Post-It Note falling off the door, or something.

The great risk here, perhaps not readily apparent to the non-Hoosier, is that local political reporters might get into the habit of noticing what the governor is doing, and reporting on it, without having his office explain it all to them first, the way it's been done for the past eight years.

• Pence did stick his head out long enough to gripe about his 10% tax cut (which he is not getting, a fact known to anyone who's been awake at any time during the past month except, apparently, Mike Pence). He pointed out that the previous General Assembly had given tax breaks to estates and businesses, and none to "average" Hoosiers. And he said it as though it was an oversight, rather than their intention. Somebody really needs to pull the man aside and explain things. Or give him a road map to Kansas.

• I ♡ Pierce:
It is a capital mistake of analysis to believe that the reckless, self-destructive vandalism of the Republican base is a function of the country's twice having elected the current president. Certainly, there are things about this president that, ahem, sharpened the anger and gave a tight focus for the abandoned wrath. But it did no start with him nor will it end with him, and I think Rothenberg knows it.

Except for the rancid race-baiting and manic xenophobia, nothing has been aimed at this president that wasn't aimed for nine years at Bill Clinton. In place of birtherism, we had Vince Foster and the Mena airport. The insular conservative media within which people today talk about the president's Kenyan roots and his disguised Muslimhood was formed around the hot central core of conspiracy theorizing and preposterous slander that shaped the reaction to the Clinton presidency.

Let's note, first, that you aren't gonna throw the Teabag "wing" out of Mississippi, nor Indiana, goddam it, no matter how much money Karl Rove can still scrape up. But how much longer is anyone going to be able to pretend that this party isn't in the hands of abject lunatics, a condition which has obtained for decades? And not just from the first whiff of Bill Clinton's musk, but from the Presidency of Jimmy Carter. It's beyond laughable to see Karl Rove's doughy pink phiz makin' with the "unelectable conservatives" routine. What fucking party has Karl Rove been a member of his entire, Nixon-minus-the-genius career? What fucking Republican party did Karl Rove belly up to in 1969, at the University of Utah? Now he doesn't like yahoos, misogynists, and overt racists?

Andrew Hartman:
The liberals of the education reform movement, often more surreptitiously than the overstated former Washington D.C. Chancellor of Schools during Democratic Mayor Adrian Fenty’s term in office Michelle Rhee, have for decades advanced negative assumptions about public school teachers that now power the attacks by Christie, Walker, Kasich and their ilk. This is particularly true of Teach for America (TFA), the prototypical liberal education reform organization, where Rhee first made her mark. The history of TFA reveals the ironies of contemporary education reform. In its mission to deliver justice to underprivileged children, TFA and the liberal education reform movement have advanced an agenda that advances conservative attempts to undercut teacher’s unions. More broadly, TFA has been in the vanguard in forming a neoliberal consensus about the role of public education—and the role of public school teachers—in a deeply unequal society.

TFA goals derive, in theory, from laudable—if misguided—impulses. But each, in practice, has demonstrated to be deeply problematic. TFA, suitably representative of the liberal education reform more generally, underwrites, intentionally or not, the conservative assumptions of the education reform movement: that teacher’s unions serve as barriers to quality education; that testing is the best way to assess quality education; that educating poor children is best done by institutionalizing them; that meritocracy is an end-in-itself; that social class is an unimportant variable in education reform; that education policy is best made by evading politics proper; and that faith in public school teachers is misplaced.
Lemme tell ya, "misguided" is a nice word.

For Teach for America, the Sinn Féin of TFA, and Michelle Rhee's first big tax exempt/taxpayer assisted scam, which now "advises" those Indianapolis public schools the state didn't take over directly (then hand to Mayor Gomer F. Ballard when Republicans lost control of the Superintendent of Public Instruction's office last November) the word is "clueless".

If these people have liberal impulses (Even the Democrat Michelle Rhee!), it's the impulse to give the help an hour off to vote, after patiently explaining to them how they ought to go about it.


Kathy said...

For thousands of years people drank wine, beer, ale and even whiskey because water wasn't safe.

THEN a doctor came along in Victorian times and warned the government against allowing folk to use contaminated water from a (London) city well.

They didn't believe him, he was ignored, and "teh common people" continued to die (typhus? cholera?).

brucej said...

You're thinking of John Snow, and the PTB did believe him, for a bit, removing the pump handle in question. After the epidemic subsided, they replaced it, though, and continued to ignore his theory that it was fecal contamination of the water supply that was the cause of cholera outbreaks.

"plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"

Fiddlin Bill said...

I'm not sure anything is any more laughable than Rove's own contribution to the utter insanification of the GOP, namely George W. Bush, a man as unqualified as any ever elected to the Presidency. Rove owns this cauldron of bubbling shit. Terry Southern must be having a great laugh. 11