December 23, 2013


US Department of Defense’s public domain archive to be privatized, locked up for ten years. Archivist Rick Prelinger sez, “The U.S. Department of Defense has entered into a contract with T3 Media to get its gigantic still and moving image collection digitized at no cost to the government. In exchange, T3 Media will become the exclusive public outlet for millions of images and videos for ten years. Unlike most other developed nations, the U.S. Government does not claim copyright on video, film, photographs and other media produced by its workers. The immense number of works in the U.S. public domain have enabled countless researchers, makers and citizens to read, view and make many new works. True, those wishing to use modern military materials (1940s-present) in DoD’s archives often need to negotiate their release with military public affairs, but these materials have traditionally been available for just the cost of duplication. This is soon to change.”

Ted Mitchell, Education Dept. Nominee, Has Strong Ties to Pearson, Privatization Movement. Ted Mitchell, the chief executive of the NewSchools Venture Fund, was nominated in October by President Obama to become the Under Secretary of the Department of Education. As the administration continues to reshuffle its team, and confront new regulatory challenges, some view Mitchell’s nomination as a move towards greater privatization. In the coming months, the Department of Education will release “gainful employment” rules to rein in for-profit colleges, an experiment in proprietary education that many see as an unmitigated disaster.  The Nation (blog)

Coast-to-Coast, Outsourcing is Out of Control. Local and state governments too often outsource important public services without strong standards, public transparency, and rigorous oversight. Without these protections the results are predictable. A new report “Out of Control: The Coast-to-Coast Failures of Outsourcing Public Services to For-Profit Corporations” highlights similar failed experiences with privatization of states and communities across the country. Huffington Post

NJ: State Praises Privatized Cleanup of Hazardous-Waste Sites. If you listen to the state Department of Environmental Protection and some lawmakers, the efforts to privatize the cleanup of contaminated hazardous waste sites has been pretty much of an unqualified success…..Environmentalists question whether the most serious pollution sites are being cleaned up, many of which have been awaiting attention for decades. Others asked whether private contractors hired by polluters would ensure cleanups as stringent as those formerly overseen by the DEP, which was not answerable to outside firms.  NJ Spotlight

LA: LSU hospital deals may run into financial trouble after Gov. Jindal leaves office, report says. The current financing structure for Gov. Bobby Jindal’s privatization deals for the LSU network of hospitals and clinics is risky and may run into shortfalls within five years, according to a nonpartisan report released Friday.  The Republic

TN: Privatizing Bellefonte: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. You might think that if some prominent power brokers pitched a plan that promised to shut down more than twenty coal-fired power plants owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority, that an organization like the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy might sign on without hesitation. But we did hesitate, and what we have found as we reflected on this plan is that it seems to be driven by political and profit opportunism.  Choosing to privatize Bellefonte, and letting that choice drive TVA’s financial and infrastructure priorities for the next decade, would be a disaster for the Valley.  Clean Energy News (blog)

PA: Opinion: No. 12 – The fizz goes out of liquor privatization.  As he pursued liquor privatization, Corbett was following in the footsteps of two of his Republican predecessors: former Govs. Dick Thornburgh and Tom Ridge. Despite the passage of so many years, Corbett ran into the same obstacles that faced both Thornburgh and Ridge. Namely, a potent coalition of organized labor and social conservatives.  Patriot-News