October 21, 2013


GOP Seeks Bidders for Amtrak Routes. House Republicans called Wednesday for the breakup of Amtrak’s de facto monopoly on U.S. intercity passenger-rail service, proposing to open up the government-controlled company’s Northeast Corridor and other lines to bidding by private investors. Foreign rail-service operators have been angling to develop high-speed rail in the U.S., where Amtrak’s fastest Acela trains average 85 miles per hour, far slower than the 220-mph pace found in Europe and Asia.  Wall Street Journal

How School Privatization Was Hatched By Racist 1950s Southern Segregationists….As I explore in a new Talk To Action report, embattled school privatization advocate Michelle Rhee, head of StudentsFirst and subject of the hagiographic documentary “Waiting For Superman”, claims that “education is the civil rights issue of our time” — But privatization schemes promoted by StudentsFirst and its Tea Party-aligned 2012 “Educator of the Year” were originally conceived by racist white Southern politicians as a plan to thwart the desegregation of racially separate schools mandated by the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court Decision.   AlterNet

Two Visions. If you had $50,000 or more to invest in the privatization of public education, you could have been welcome at a recent meeting in Philadelphia of self-described school reformers. But if you’re an educator or parent interested in strengthening public education, you’d be out of luck, because that closed-door meeting was limited to deep-pocketed donors and investors — and it wasn’t meant to discuss how to restore funding to help children in Philadelphia’s resource-starved public schools, or to address the educational and financial failures of the city’s charter schools.  Huffington Post

TX: First foreign-owned toll road in Texas downgraded to junk bond status…. Concerned citizens with Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF) immediately launched a boycott of SH 130. Since then, the anemically low traffic levels signaled trouble from the beginning and Moody’s downgraded the concession company’s rating in April warning of the risk of default. The downgrade this week warns of default unless the company can restructure its debt or attract a substantial increase in traffic. Moody’s predicts Cintra will be unable to meet its June 2014 debt service payment: “Thus, absent a sponsor injection of equity, a debt restructuring, or some other method of generating significantly more revenues, there is a high likelihood of a payment default in June 2014.”  Examiner.com

IL: Illiana toll road clears hurdle… Virginia Gates-Hamann, who said her family has farmed the Peotone area for generations, said the Illiana will destroy thousands of acres of farmland and the rural quality of life…. The argument that appeared to carry the day was that IDOT should develop the Illiana as a public-private partnership in which private investors would build and operate the toll road.  Chicago Tribune

CA: The privatization of our public housing. Politricktians are in bed with devilopers, selling out every piece of stolen, native land to the greediest, heartless bidder. So with the possibility of public housing becoming private, where does that leave the people who have been in this neighborhood for generations, such as my family and myself?  San Francisco Bay View

LA: Kennedy says feds could kill Jindal’s Charity privatization maneuver.…Dig deeper into the details and it becomes apparent that the planned “savings” won’t result from lower costs but from getting more money from the federal government through an accounting change. This won’t make the charity hospitals or Louisiana’s Medicaid program, which pays for the hospitals, more efficient. It will just make them more expensive, fueled by additional federal (American taxpayer) money.  Bayoubuzz