September 1, 2014


Reason Foundation comes unhinged at populist revolt against tolls
Bob Poole of the Reason Foundation has decided to pick a fight he can’t win. He just published an article personally attacking anti-toll group leaders across the nation, and he had a extra special below-the-belt attack saved just for yours truly. He’s responding to the populist anti-toll revolt taking place in America, and he can’t help but go on the attack because these grassroots efforts are finally making progress. He’s lashing out in response to a 5-page cover story in the Weekly Standard that slammed the new rage among transportation think tanks like Reason, called HOT lanes. It stands for High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes. Sometimes they convert existing HOV lanes into toll lanes, other times they’re new lanes but only open to carpoolers and those who pay tolls. (blog)

OH: Inmates seek food outside cafeteria
Junk food and cell-made meals cobbled together with commissary items appear to be the preferred bill of fare for some Ohio inmates with distaste for the prison-provided food. Purchases at prison commissaries have jumped since Aramark Correctional Services took over meal service last fall, with some prisoners complaining about food quality and quantity. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has fined Aramark $272,300 in ordering it to fix problems while accepting shared responsibility for the presence of maggots in some food-service area.  A Dispatch analysis of commissary food-sales figures suggests that some inmates are using their limited pocketbooks to vote on the desirability of prison meals that Aramark provides at a cost of $3.61 a day per inmate.  Columbus Dispatch

MI: Poll: Don’t open new charter schools until review
The state should place a moratorium on opening any new charter schools until the Michigan Department of Education and the state Legislature conduct a full review of the charter school system, a majority of respondents in a new poll say. . . . The poll comes as state schools Superintendent Mike Flanagan awaits responses from 11 of the state’s 40 charter authorizers on why he shouldn’t suspend their ability to open new schools. The authorizers were put on an “at risk” list for reasons that include academic performance, significant financial deficiencies in their 2013 audit, or if one or more of their schools had charter contracts that failed to meet certain requirements by MDE. It also comes on the heels of an investigation by the Detroit Free Press into charter schools. The eight-day State of Charter Schools series showed that Michigan charters receive nearly $1 billion per year in taxpayer money from the state, often with little accountability, transparency or academic achievement.  Livingston Daily

LA: Analysis: Strife emerges in LSU privatization deal
. . . LSU claims it’s owed more than $25 million for services rendered as part of the 10-month-old management transfer, and the new operator of the hospitals, the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana, is accusing LSU of having mismanaged its clinics. A flurry of back-and-forth letters from lawyers and health care officials seems to contradict claims that the hospital “partnership” is going well. Critics of the privatization deals, who note they were approved by LSU’s governing board with blank pages in contracts, say the disintegrating relationship between the university system and the foundation known as BRF was inevitable because the deal was sketchy from the start. Washington Time

MS: Democrats Blast Child Support Privatization
. . . House Minority Leader Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, said privatization would not result in lower taxes. Anyone who attempts to convince you this is shrinking government is being disingenuous. Citizens will only see the transfer of their state tax dollars that paid the salaries of these fifty soon to be displaced workers to lawyers in Jackson that are the beneficiaries of the privatization,” Moak in a press release. It is purely a transfer of money to those savvy enough to lobby enough votes in the legislature and governors office to make it happen for them. It is the same plan that transfers money from the state treasury to ‘certain individuals’ that we have seen during the entire time this administration has been in control of state government.”  Jackson Free Press