August 6, 2013


Credit Rating Agencies Uneasy About Toll Roads as Americans Drive Less. Toll roads aren’t the cash cows they used to be. The assumption that the roads will “pay for themselves” is no longer a reliable one, and credit rating agencies are taking notice.  Streetsblog Capitol Hill

Eight Ways Privatization Has Failed America. Some of America’s leading news analysts are beginning to recognize the fallacy of the “free market.” Said Ted Koppel, “We are privatizing ourselves into one disaster after another.” Fareed Zakaria admitted, “I am a big fan of the free market…But precisely because it is so powerful, in places where it doesn’t work well, it can cause huge distortions.” They’re right. A little analysis reveals that privatization doesn’t seem to work in any of the areas vital to the American public.  Truth-Out

Groups Charge ALEC with Tax Fraud over Secretive “Scholarship” Fund that Finances Junkets for State Lawmakers. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is running a secretive, multi-million dollar slush fund that finances lavish trips for state legislators and has misled the Internal Revenue Service about the fund’s activity, two government watchdog groups charged today. Common Cause and the Center for Media and Democracy said the “scholarship fund” scheme also raises serious questions about ALEC’s compliance with state gift and disclosure laws, and the ethics of lawmakers who accept ALEC’s travel payments…. ALEC’s agenda includes the privatization of schools and other public assets, anti-labor laws, weakened protections for clean water and air, and telecom deregulation bills.  PRWatch

Some “Teach for America” Alums Criticize A Program That Promotes Racial Power Dynamics, Privatization, Standardized Testing, and Union Busting. If the recent multi-million dollar donation from the Walton Family, which owns Walmart, is any indication of its real agenda, the non-profit organization Teach For America could be seen be a vehicle for promoting charter schools and undermining unions….Now some of TFA’s alumni are speaking out, denouncing TFAs tactics as promoting government policies of excessive standardized testing, and providing an army of recruits to replace veteran union teachers in charter schools.  Uprising

NY: Gov. Cuomo signs bill to privatize LIPA. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a bill to privatize utility operations of Long Island Power Authority. New Jersey-based Public Service Electric and Gas Co. Electric Light & Power

MI: Precious Art Appraised as Detroit Tries to Dig Out of Debt. A couple weeks after a state-appointed emergency manager filed a bankruptcy claim on behalf of Detroit, the world-famous Christie’s auction house has been called in to begin appraising some of the Detroit Institute of Arts’ permanent collection. Gawker

WA: Privatized liquor’s easier for minors to steal – opinion. Kids have always stolen booze, but it usually was beer lifted from the local convenience store or supermarket. It was harder for them to get the hard stuff because they weren’t even allowed in the state liquor stores that once had the monopoly on sales. They’d have to steal it from home, persuade an adult to buy it for them or hope the liquor store clerk would be fooled by a fake ID. Now all they have to do is visit the local supermarket, tuck a bottle under a jacket and walk out the door. Kids are no longer bothering to steal wine and beer when the hard stuff is so readily available. It’s much easier for them to steal liquor than cigarettes, which generally are kept behind the counter. Bellingham Herald

NC: What NC lawmakers treasure (It isn’t children) – opinion. There was also a budget provision to spend $10 million for low-income students to get private-school vouchers. Even though there is no evidence vouchers increase student achievement, the General Assembly will not only fund this proposal in 2014-15, it has every intention of increasing program funding in the future. This would give away tens of millions to private entities in just a few years. There is no way to believe this General Assembly cares about the importance of public education to our state. When given the chance to invest in our children, lawmakers drained the resources of time, talents and treasure from public schools and are turning it over to private corporations and undertrained workers. This legislature’s heart is with privatizing public education, because that is where its treasure is. News & Observer