September 30, 2013


Private lobbyists collecting public pensions is illegal gift. State and local pension funds face unfunded liabilities ranging from $3 trillion to $5 trillion, according to various reports. This is a well-known problem and many states are trying to address it. But did you know that many of these desperately underfunded public pension plans have been providing pensions to private citizens who do not perform any work as public employees? Denver Post

Giant Leaps for Space Firms Orbital, SpaceX. A successful launch and a separate in-orbit rendezvous on Sunday, both funded largely with corporate dollars, are accelerating what amounts to the privatization of NASA’s current human spaceflight efforts. Wall Street Journal

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of the award-winning, has launched, a web resource devoted to helping taxpayers identify the corporations seeking to privatize public services in their communities: including their schools, roads, prisons, drinking water, court systems, and more.

Sen. Feinstein’s Husband Reaps Profits from Post Office Closings. The post office is being savaged for thinly-disguised political reasons, including the enrichment of a few select individuals. Investigative journalist Peter Byrne says California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, is one of those profiting mightily. AllGov

NY: Charter School Blues. Charter schools have enjoyed a privileged position in New York City under the Bloomberg administration, which has given the schools free space in city buildings to help the fledgling sector grow. Now, charter school operators are grappling with a potential game-changer: If Democrat Bill de Blasio is elected mayor, they would almost certainly have to pay rent. Wall Street Journal

PA: Wealthy donors move schools decision-making behind closed doors. Not as a cautionary tale, but as a roadmap for the privatization of public education. This is a city that shows what can happen when dollars and decision-making move into private hands — and behind closed doors. Despite standing amidst the ruins of city public schools, they like what they see: an opportunity to remake public education according to their own design.  Philadelphia City Paper

LA: Ploof: Privatizing schools not in our best interests. Though Louisiana’s public school system overall has not received high marks nationally, the move under the Jindal administration to privatize our state’s school system has been to the detriment of our children’s education. In stating this, I am not blind to the fact that our public education system is not the perfect system due to bad policy. However, transitioning the school system to a market model is not the solution. Hammond Daily Star