Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Early Morning Cla$$

Outta that bunk or you'll be late for the bus!

"At many small colleges, administrative spending is surging" by Laura Krantz Globe Staff  August 29, 2018

At private colleges across New England, spending on administrative salaries and wages has grown more than twice as fast as student enrollment over the past decade, federal data show, as schools meet demand for more services and strive to compete for an increasingly small pool of high school graduates.

The overall student population increased by 11 percent in the decade between 2007 and 2016, the most recent data available, but during that same period, spending on administrators grew by about 30 percent.

In an era where many small private schools are increasingly unable to keep up with costs as a result of slowing tuition revenue growth, this disconnect between the rising payroll expenses and sluggish enrollment gains raises questions about the sustainability of their business model.

Oh, education is a bu$ine$$!

Meanwhile, many schools are experiencing enrollment decline or sluggish growth — a particular problem at the smallest schools because they depend heavily on tuition revenue and are under pressure not to raise prices too sharply.....

How can the student population be increasing by so much yet enrollment be sluggish and then in decline?

Has it gotten so bad that the kids can't even do that $imple math?


So how did you like all the educated excu$es for why you are being ripped off?

As for college courses, I'm too old for for, well, just about anything.

Except maybe driving a school bus:

"At a dozen Boston schools, buses arrived late or not at all today" by James Vaznis Globe Staff  August 29, 2018

The Boston school system was scrambling Tuesday to fill an unspecified number of bus routes for a dozen schools that started the year early, after an unusual number of bus drivers were absent, leaving schools, families, and students in the lurch.

Problems with drivers not reporting to work began in the morning and grew worse in the afternoon as temperatures soared into the high 90s. The school system did not say how many drivers were absent.

Some students were stranded at bus stops in the morning. In several cases, schools made a flurry of calls to parents, notifying them that buses might be late in the afternoon or not arrive at all.

The problem with that is the trouble the kids will get into waiting for a bus that never arrives.

The fiasco dampened the first day of school for many students, and Melinda Nichols, a member of the citywide Collaborative Parent Leadership Action Network, said, “It created mass hysteria for many families.”

It’s not clear what prompted the absences. The Boston school system sidestepped questions regarding potential labor unrest. The bus drivers union contract with the school system’s transportation contractor, Transdev, is set to expire Friday, and no agreement has been reached yet for a successor contract.

The drivers said the buses were overheating.

That contract is negotiated between the company and the union, while the Boston School Committee’s only official role is to approve funding.

“Due to an unusually large number of unexpected school bus driver absences this afternoon, the Boston Public Schools Transportation Department and its vendor, Transdev, had challenges picking up students from 12 schools,” the statement said. “We have taken immediate steps to staff more drivers on impacted routes and have been in contact with school leaders, who notified students’ families. BPS is working closely with Transdev on a plan for adequate coverage for the remainder of the week.”

No, you cannot bring your pet snake on the bus.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh has been concerned since the end of the last school year that bus drivers might strike this fall. On June 28, with the drivers contract set to expire in two days, Walsh told the Globe that the drivers “authorized a strike vote, I guess.”

And you know who is behind them, right?

The union and Transdev ended up agreeing to a two-month extension, and buses ran for summer school.

The school system expressed optimism as recently as last Friday that a new contract would be settled by the start of the school year.

The school bus drivers union could not be reached for comment late Tuesday afternoon, but on Friday, Andre Francois, the union president, expressed concern about the bus routes for the coming year that were developed by the school system.

“Things are not looking good for getting children to school on time with how the city made the routes,” he said.....

Maybe if they had a GPS on 'em, 'eh?


Remember what happened the last time they went on strike

It ended badly.

I'd say take the ferry to a parochial school, but, you know.....

Finally, a seat in the class: 

"Michael Capuano follows ‘all politics is local’ mantra while still attacking Trump" by Michael Levenson Globe Staff  August 29, 2018

US Representative Michael Capuano said the proudest vote of his career was in 2001, after the Sept. 11 attacks, when he was one of just 66 House members who voted against the Patriot Act, which expanded the government’s power to surveil and investigate alleged terrorists. Capuano argued the law would trample on civil liberties.

That “no” vote was one of several times Capuano has defied his party and the prevailing political winds.

In 2002, he voted against the Iraq War. Nine years later, he and 10 colleagues sued the Obama administration for launching an offensive to oust Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy without congressional approval. A judge dismissed the suit.

In 2001, Capuano challenged his party again when he was one of 41 House members who voted against the No Child Left Behind Act. Capuano argued that the law did not provide enough funding.

Despite those votes, Capuano is considered more of a loyal foot soldier than renegade.....

Norm Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, “came away deeply impressed.”


"Ayanna Pressley wants to be known for advocacy for women and girls" by Michael Levenson Globe Staff  August 29, 2018

Tackling foreign policy, Ayanna Pressley, the first African-American woman on the Boston City Council, recently declined to answer yes or no when asked by Massachusetts Peace Action, an antiwar group, if she would support ending US military involvement in Afghanistan and Syria.

In a questionnaire submitted to the group, she wrote that while she supports a quick end to the conflicts and greater stability in the Middle East, “it would be irresponsible to foreclose any potential avenues to achieving that goal.”

She also declined to answer yes or no when asked by the group if she would support legislation outlawing a controversial movement to boycott Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.

“My priority will remain supporting those courageous individuals and organizations, among both Israelis and Palestinians, committed to bringing peaceful coexistence to the region,” she wrote.

Representative Michael E. Capuano was more decisive, saying he opposes US military involvement in Afghanistan and Syria and would oppose, on “First Amendment grounds,” legislation cracking down on the pro-Palestinian movement.

“I do not support [that movement] but I believe others should be free to advocate it,” he wrote.

Massachusetts Peace Action criticized Pressley’s responses, saying her “vague boilerplate positions on war and peace issues are not encouraging” and endorsed Capuano.

Pressley, 44, has made a more definitive mark on the local level, where she prides herself on working closely with advocates and community leaders.....

Yeah, turn the conversation from war and peace, quick!


Related: Lynching Wu

There are four local races that could give some idea where the Democratic Party is going, and if there were any justice.....

From PolySci to Media101:

"Trump is out to get Google. But is Google out to get him?" by Hiawatha Bray Globe Staff  August 28, 2018

President Trump thinks Google is out to get him. If true, it’s pretty scary. Even scarier is that we don’t know whether Trump is right, and we have no way of finding out.

Trump lit this fire in the usual manner — on Twitter, and just for good measure, Trump’s economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, followed up a few hours later with news the administration is “taking a look” at regulating Google.

I'm not even to the turn-in and the article has been rewritten from what is in print. 

Talk about irony.

So let’s start with the source of that “96%” figure. It comes from an admittedly unscientific survey conducted by Paula Bolyard, a columnist at the conservative PJ Media website, that was picked up by conservative TV host Lou Dobbs on Fox Monday night. Bolyard used a chart created by another conservative journalist, Sharyl Attkisson, to rate various news organizations as liberal or conservative. Then Bolyard ran searches for news stories about Trump and found that the vast majority of results came from publications on the left side of the line.

Attkisson is the one who was fired from CBS for blowing the whistle on the CDC vaccination scandal.

But take a close look at Attkisson’s chart. On the left side, you’ll find sites such as The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Bloomberg, and USA Today. On the right side, you’ll find The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, the New York Post, the Drudge Report, National Review, RedState, Breitbart.

Notice anything? A handful of her right-of-center choices are major news outlets; the rest are niche publications that don’t attract a broad mainstream audience. Even the best-known of them aren’t the highest-ranked sources for news. On the left side of the line, you find the bulk of American mainstream media, sites that are read by tens of millions of us, regardless of our politics.

Well, if you self-servingly throw up the pre$$ and ma$$ media slop, of course the numbers are going to reflect the clicks.

I confirmed this with a visit to Alexa, a company owned by Amazon that tracks the most popular Internet sites. On Alexa’s list of the world’s top 50 news sites, hardly any of Attkisson’s conservative sites make the cut. Fox News is seventh, but the Drudge Report is 19th, the Wall Street Journal is 20th, the New York Post is 23rd.

Meanwhile on the left, CNN ranks at No. 3, trailing only Google’s own news page and, in first place, the popular Internet hangout Reddit. The New York Times is fourth, the Washington Post 10th, Bloomberg is 16th, and USA Today is 18th.

Here’s an even more important criterion: How many other Internet sites link back to these news sites? The more sites that link to, say, the New York Times, the higher the Times’s ranking in Google’s search algorithm.

Guilty as charged.

It turns out that about 304,000 sites worldwide link to the New York Times. That’s a massive vote of confidence that tells the Google algorithm to prominently display stories from the Times because people trust it. CNN has 210,000 linkbacks, the Washington Post has 112,000, and USA Today has 92,000.

It doesn't mean what they report is true (Lanny Davis).

By contrast, the Wall Street Journal has 128,000 linkbacks. But Fox News has just 76,000, the New York Post has 41,000, and the Drudge Report a measly 8,000.

In short, Google’s algorithm lets the Internet vote on which news sources it trusts the most, and few right-leaning sites make the cut. If you don’t like it, don’t blame Google. Blame the millions who’d rather get their news from the Times or the Post than from Breitbart.

Still, this doesn’t prove that Trump is wrong. For one thing, just because a news source is more popular doesn’t make it more trustworthy, or more accurate. In the buildup to the Iraq War, mainstream media published stories that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be based on faulty intelligence.

Yeah, except it wasn't "faulty intelligence," it was flat-out lying!

Meanwhile, staunch right-winger Pat Buchanan used his obscure magazine, The American Conservative, to argue against the war. Maybe we’d have been better off if Buchanan’s little rag had come up more often in Google searches.

OH, look at the elitist insult just dripping from his keyboard. 

It's funny because I pick up a little rag of the newsstand every morning, one that constantly blares war lies!

And then there’s the problem of the black box. That’s what engineers call a machine that does something wonderful, but nobody knows how. Google’s algorithms are the secret sauce that has made its parent company Alphabet one of the wealthiest in history. Understandably, their inner workings are secret, but that makes Google Search the ultimate black box. Its search results shape our understanding of the world around us, but we don’t understand exactly how. So we can never be sure that Google isn’t secretly manipulating us.....

That's why the rewritten article had to eliminate his solution, which was the "old-school concept of the ombudsman that used to be a fixture at big city newspapers in the form of an independent oversight committee made up of experts with no ties to the business and sworn to absolute secrecy while issuing semi regular reports."

Ummm, what do you thing blogs are, and look at the sick and secretive dystopia he has in mind.

That kind of mindset tells you all you need to know about the people who write for the pre$$.


Related: Lanny the Liar

It's an either/Ohr situation, and the Globe did indeed give him a pass.


Judge delays opening statements in Paul Manafort’s next trial

What is a kid to do with all the sex and violence out there?


"Trump again revives idea of firing Jeff Sessions as attorney general" by Carol D. Leonnig, Josh Dawsey and Gabriel Pogrund Washington Post  August 28, 2018


The fifth paragraph is supposed to start with a Senator Lindsey O. Graham, except this piece has been totally rewritten. 

‘‘[President] Trump doesn’t like [Attorney General Jeff Sessions],’’ Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters Tuesday. ‘‘This relationship has soured, and I’m not blaming Jeff. It can’t go on like this.’’

Graham told NBC News on Tuesday that the president’s anger with Sessions goes beyond his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. ‘‘It’s a pretty deep breach,’’ he said, declining to elaborate.

Later, Graham told reporters that any replacement for attorney general must ‘‘support the idea that Mueller should be able to do his job without interference.’’

What does the Deep State have on him, huh?

Sessions, who served as a senator from Alabama for 20 years, continues to have a strong support from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who told reporters Tuesday he has ‘‘total confidence in the attorney general.’’

‘‘I think he should stay exactly where he is,’’ McConnell said, but several Republican senators on Tuesday appeared to be resigned to Sessions’ removal — casting it as a matter of when, not if. ‘‘Nothing lasts forever,’’ Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama said, describing the Trump-Sessions dynamic as ‘‘a toxic relationship.’’

Added Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, a longtime defender of the attorney general: ‘‘My sense is the fix is in.’’

Others are urging the president to jettison current Justice Department leaders.

‘‘He needs to fire Sessions, he needs to fire Rosenstein,’’ said Doug Deason, a major Republican donor. ‘‘They haven’t represented him or us well.’’

Sessions’ friends and advisers have tried to buck him up in recent days, telling him that if Trump were willing to face the political and possibly legal consequences of firing him, he would have done so by now, according to an ally of the attorney general.....


Remember way back when Democrats hated Sessions and were calling him a racist?

Speaking of Southern racists:

"GOP senators wary of renaming office building for McCain" by Gabriel Pogrund Washington Post  August 28, 2018

WASHINGTON — When Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, called for renaming the Russell Senate Office Building after John McCain, it was widely seen as a fitting testament to the late Republican senator’s legacy and his bipartisan approach during more than three decades in Congress.

Yet the legacy of Senator Richard Russell Jr., a master of the Senate with a list of accomplishments but also a segregationist who led Southern opposition to civil rights. Russell was a Democratic senator for 38 years until his death in 1971.

They get knocked down, then get up again, you're never gonna keep them down.

The Georgia lawmaker’s controversial racial legacy has led to calls to rename the 110-year-old building in the past, but they fizzled because of a lack of enthusiasm on both sides of the aisle.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, on Tuesday recommended creating a task force to study ways to commemorate McCain.

‘‘We’ve honored John McCain, but Richard Russell was an icon,’’ said Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Richard C. Shelby, an Alabama Republican. ‘‘I didn’t serve with him, but he was an icon in his day.’’

Wasn't he a member of the Warren Commission?

On Russell’s support for segregation, which included coauthoring the Southern Manifesto with Strom Thurmond in 1956, Shelby said, ‘‘You go back to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, just about anyone, nobody’s perfect.’’

By late Monday afternoon, Schumer himself appeared doubtful of the bill’s prospects, saying: ‘‘We’ve gotten some support. When will it be moved? . . . . . . I don’t know.’’


You might be asking yourself why is a great Senate office building named for a modern racist as you search for the next John McCain (I guess it's okay to be anti-Asian).

"Trump ally Ron DeSantis wins Florida GOP governor’s primary" by Patricia Mazzei and Jonathan Martin New York Times  August 29, 2018

ORLANDO — Florida Republicans nominated Representative Ron DeSantis for governor Tuesday, propelling one of President Trump’s most unabashed allies to the general election in the country’s largest swing state.

In Arizona, Republican primary voters were going to the polls to decide a replacement for Trump’s most outspoken critic in the Senate, Jeff Flake. But the contest evolved into a test of which candidate could embrace Trump most snugly. In the Arizona governor’s primary, Democrats were deciding between an outspoken progressive and a pragmatist.

Lifted by a June endorsement from Trump, DeSantis handily defeated Adam Putnam, the state agriculture commissioner and one-time favorite for the nomination, according to The Associated Press.

He will face Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, an unvarnished liberal who won in a crowded Democratic field that included moderate US Representative Gwen Graham, the daughter of governor-turned-senator Bob Graham. Gillum is seeking to become the state’s first black governor.

DeSantis’ victory represented another emphatic demonstration of the president’s iron grip on the Republican Party. A 39-year-old lawmaker who previously was little-known outside of his Daytona Beach-area district, DeSantis steadily gained notoriety on the right, and attention in the Oval Office, last year by frequently appearing on Fox News to defend Trump.

The president took notice of the Navy veteran and praised his candidacy in December. Trump’s near-endorsement prompted a flurry of lobbying by Republicans urging him to refrain from offering his formal blessing. And among the party officials counseling restraint was Vice President Mike Pence, who served with Putnam in the House, but Trump was grateful for DeSantis’ televised advocacy, believed the former JAG officer looked the part of a governor and had little relationship with Putnam, who harshly criticized some of the president’s conduct in the 2016 race. So in June, Trump offered, as he put it on Twitter, his “full Endorsement.”

Recounting his intervention in the Florida race last week at a rally last week in West Virginia, Trump said of DeSantis: “He was at three, and I gave him a nice shot, and a nice little tweet — bing bing — and he went from three to like 20 something.”

DeSantis was almost certainly winning more than 3 percent of the vote when Trump weighed in, but there is little doubt that the president’s support dramatically reshaped the race.

DeSantis trumpeted the endorsement in his advertising (even making light in one ad of how much he was tying himself to Trump) and basked in the president’s praise when they stood together on stage in Tampa in late July.

Putnam fought back, emphasizing his deep knowledge of Florida and chiding DeSantis for his television ubiquity. The son of a citrus farming family who was elected to the state Legislature when he was 22, he went on to serve in the House leadership in Washington.

“Florida’s not picking an apprentice; we’re picking a governor,” Putnam said, but weeks before voters went to the polls, he recognized how difficult the race would be with Trump working against him — and that state politics had increasingly become nationalized.

Democrats are hungry to win in Florida: They have not held the governor’s mansion in two decades and lost the past two elections by a single percentage point. In 2010, Florida Democrats chose Alex Sink, the state’s former chief financial officer. In 2014, they picked former Governor Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat. Both lost to Republican Rick Scott, the term-limited governor who is now running for the Senate.

Related: Jacksonville Just the Beginning

At least they aren't exploiting the tragedy, 'eh?

Reflecting the tensions of the Trump era, Florida Democrats were split over whether to nominate a moderate such as Graham, who represented a Republican-leaning North Florida district in Congress, or a more unvarnished progressive such as Gillum.

He gained momentum late in the race thanks to an endorsement from Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and the financial backing of billionaire donors George Soros and Tom Steyer.

Then you have to vote DeSantis.

Democratic voters appeared less excited about the self-funded campaigns of three wealthy white men who ultimately could not match the excitement generated by Graham’s or Gillum’s potentially history-making candidacies. Levine dropped nearly $30 million into the race. Palm Beach real estate investor Jeff Greene, who came in fourth, burned through even more of his fortune: nearly $40 million. (On Monday afternoon, apparently aware of his imminent poor showing, Greene called off his planned election night party.)

“If that’s the state of our democracy — that it’s self-funders that think they can buy themselves elections — then we’re going to end up with the Rick Scotts and the Donald Trumps of the world, and that’s not what we need,” Graham said during the primary campaign.

Did she $ee who won and why she lo$t?

In the House, Donna Shalala, the secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton, was competing in the Democratic primary against state Rep. David Richardson in a Miami district.

The winner will face Maria Elvira Salazar, a Republican former Spanish-language television journalist who on Tuesday bested a crowded field, including a rival who said as a child she went up on a spaceship with aliens. Democrats are expected to pick up the liberal-leaning seat, which is currently held by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a veteran Republican who is retiring.

Another Sheffield sighting.

In Orlando, Representative Darren Soto, the first Puerto Rican elected to Congress from Florida, fended off a Democratic primary challenge from former Representative Alan Grayson, a liberal firebrand who has struggled in his attempt to return to Washington.

His fire went out $ome time ago.

The most high-profile primary Tuesday, though, was in Arizona, where just three days after the death of Senator John McCain, Republicans were demonstrating how much the party had drifted from McCain’s pragmatic style of politics to Trump’s hard-line nationalism.

Each of the three candidates vying to replace Flake, who is retiring after a single term, aligned themselves with Trump.

After asking the president to stay out of the race, Representative Martha McSally, the establishment favorite who will not say how she voted in 2016, sought Trump’s endorsement this month.

McSally, one of the first women to fly in combat for the Air Force, was the favorite against the other two Republicans in the race: former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whom Trump pardoned last year, and Kelli Ward, a former state senator who garnered nearly 40 percent in a 2016 primary against McCain and sought to capitalize on his death Monday by saying “political correctness is like a cancer.”

In the governor’s race there, Democrats David Garcia and Steve Farley were running to take on Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican who may be vulnerable in November.

Garcia, a former executive at the state education department, has sought to rally progressives, urging them to “imagine no wall in southern Arizona.” Farley has positioned himself as a moderate, arguing that Democrats can only win in a red-tinted state by presenting themselves as pragmatists.

Oklahoma Republicans were also deciding on their nominee for governor Tuesday. Governor Mary Fallin, the Republican lame duck, is deeply unpopular and Democrats believe they may be competitive in what is generally a deeply conservative state. Competing in the Republican runoff were former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, who hails from the party’s establishment wing, and Tulsa business executive Kevin Stitt.


Better pray for them, him, and yourself:

"Reports: Trump warned evangelical leaders of ‘violence’ from Democrats if Republicans lose the midterms" by Felicia Sonmez Washington Post  August 29, 2018

WASHINGTON — In a closed-door meeting with evangelical leaders, President Trump on Monday warned of ‘‘violence’’ from the left if Democrats retake control of Congress in November, according to multiple reports. 

I think there will be some if they don't.

The comments, which mark an escalation of Trump’s rhetoric, come amid deepening investigations into the president’s associates as well as a midterm battle that is entering its crucial final months.

‘‘They will overturn everything that we’ve done, and they’ll do it quickly and violently, and violently,’’ Trump told the assembled leaders at the White House dinner, according to reports Tuesday by NBC News and The New York Times. ‘‘There’s violence. When you look at antifa and you look at some of these groups - these are violent people.’’

If you don't agree with them, yeah, they reserve the right to bash your skull in to educate you.

Black-clad ‘‘antifa,’’ or anti-fascist, protesters made headlines last year when they allegedly attacked another group of demonstrators in Berkeley, Calif. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, denounced the violence at the time, saying in a statement that ‘‘the violent actions of people calling themselves antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted.’’

At Monday’s dinner with the Christian leaders, Trump described the November election in dire terms.

‘‘You’re one election away from losing everything that you’ve got,’’ he said, according to NBC News.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump himself appeared to encourage violence in remarks at some of his rallies. After one protester interrupted a Trump speech in Las Vegas in February 2016, the candidate declared: ‘‘I’d like to punch him in the face, I tell ya.’’

At another event that month in Iowa, Trump referred to a recent incident in which a protester lobbed a tomato at the stage and told the crowd, ‘‘If you see somebody with a tomato, knock the crap out of them.’’

The following month, at a rally in Michigan, Trump told audience members he would cover their legal costs if they were sued for any violence against protesters.

‘‘Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court, don’t worry about it,’’ Trump said.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said last year that Trump ‘‘in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence.’’

He hasn't started any wars yet, if that's what she means.

Also Monday, Trump erroneously claimed that he had done away with the Johnson Amendment, which he described to the evangelical leaders as ‘‘disaster for you,’’ according to the NBC report.

The provision bars religious institutions and other tax-exempt organizations from endorsing political candidates. A repeal of the Johnson Amendment was ultimately not included in last year’s GOP tax bill. While Trump signed an executive order aimed at making it easier for churches to take part in politics, an act of Congress would be required in order to repeal the provision itself.


And if you would now bow your head in a moment of silence:

President Trump met with evangelical leadership at the White House on Monday.
President Trump met with evangelical leadership at the White House on Monday (Doug Mills/New York Times).

Related: Gates Foundation pledges $460 million to help poor kids get to college

Also seeExperts at hearing agree Boston city officials should get a raise

Who cares if the school buses arrive on time -- or at all?