October 13, 2014


IL: Chicago Toll Road Gets Go-Ahead From Regional Transportation Group. A regional transportation body voted Thursday to move forward on a $1.5 billion public-private toll road outside Chicago, a day after a different group of local officials tried to kill the project. . . .The Illiana Expressway has long been discussed here as a way to improve travel south of Chicago and help speed up interstate trucking. The toll road, opposed by some local officials and environmental groups, has the backing of the governors of Illinois and Indiana and is expected to receive final approval from federal officials in coming months. Wall Street Journal

IL: Red-Light Cameras, Fuzzy Math And Breadsticks. . .Take the case of the red-light cameras, which recently generated $8 million in city revenue on 77,000 tickets related to yellow lights shorter than Chicago’s autumn. The city said, in essence: “Our bad. We fired the first band of greedy corporate dullards who bribed their way into that contract. We are certain—well, let’s say hopeful—the new band greedy corporate dullards will do much better. “Oh, and even if there IS a problem, we can have one of the city’s two embattled and hamstrung inspectors general make sure everything is on the up and up.’’ The beauty of privatization, other than the financial windfall, luxury junkets, and general abdication—having more people to blame when things go completely tits up. How can you blame Mayor Rahm Emanuel for making Chicago the subject of the world’s largest outsourced traffic enforcement program, though? I mean, the privatization of our parking meters was such a rousing success. Chicagoist

TX: Toll road opponents plan ‘Super Tuesday’. . . The activist group Texans United for Reform and Freedom (TURF) plans to hold a press conference at 9:30 a.m. on Tue. Oct. 14 in front of the Hunt County Auxiliary Courtroom at 2700 Johnson St. in Greenville. TURF also plans to make its case during the Hunt County Commissioners Court meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. at that same location. The organization has announced intentions to have supporters present later that evening at city council meetings in Caddo Mills, Greenville, Royse City and Rowlett. Organizers are referring to the coordinated activities as “Super Tuesday.” Six cities along the proposed road’s possible pathway – Fate, Lavon, Nevada, Rockwall, Sachse and Wylie – have passed resolutions opposing the proposed toll road. 88.9 KETR

Private prisons face suits, federal probes. Conditions have become so terrible in some private prisons that some have been kicked out. Florida-based GEO got the boot in Mississippi after a federal judge in 2012 called the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility “a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts and conditions.” In Idaho, the FBI is investigating the Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America after allegations that records were falsified to cover up staff shortages at the Idaho Correctional Center, where gangs ruled and violence was so rampant it was called “Gladiator School.” Jackson Clarion Ledger

America’s Crusade Against Its Public School Children. A specter is haunting America – the privatization of its public schools, and Big Money has entered into an unholy alliance to aid and abet it. Multi-billionaire philanthropists, newspaper moguls, governors, legislators, private investors, hedge fund managers, testing and computer companies are making common cause to hasten the destruction of public schools. Huffington Post

How to spot a fake ‘grassroots’ education reform group. One problem with today’s education reform environment is that a number of groups exist that call themselves “grassroots” organizations, but which have expanded rapidly because of large infusions of cash from corporations and foundations invested in pushing charter schools, mass high stakes testing, data mining students and the Common Core standards. These groups do not exist to represent the organically derived priorities and shared interests of students, teachers and parents; they exist to put a more credible face on the priorities and shared interests of a very narrow but astonishingly influential set of repeating characters. Washington Post (blog)