November 13, 2014


Obama’s neutral-net words strong, but ex-cable lobbyist is his FCC appointee. For all of Obama’s strong words Monday about maintaining “openness, fairness and freedom” on the Internet and rejecting “paid privatization,” his most important action to date was choosing Tom Wheeler, a former fundraiser for his presidential campaign, as chairman of the FCC. Wheeler is a former president of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, and so far he’s opposed reclassifying Net service providers like Comcast and Verizon as public utilities subject to strict regulation — the approach backed by net neutrality advocates, and, as of Monday, by Obama as well. SFGate (blog)

Making School Reform a True Civil Rights Movement. . . The single most destructive aspect of the contemporary school reform movement, with its faith in “testing without investing,” is the way that it has consciously pitted liberal versus liberal, generation against generation, and civil rights advocate against civil rights advocate. Despite claiming to be a “civil rights movement,” test-driven, competition-driven policies have deteriorated into corporate reform. Test, sort, and punish regimes have been disproportionately imposed on poor children of color. And, now, the school closure mania is privatizing education in many urban areas. Huffington Post

Access to water should not be threatened – commentary. . . Clean water for all used to be a guiding vision in America. In the past, our municipal water systems were built to guarantee safe, inexpensive water to millions of citizens. These enormous public projects with their wells and reservoirs, pumping and purifying stations, and vast networks of water mains, have been essential to the growth of thriving cities and healthy communities. Most water utilities are monopolies. They have to be, since multiple utilities serving a service area would mean chaos. Many are government run, though a recent trend has turned public water utilities over to private business. Water is no dry topic. It is the most basic and essential service provided by municipalities. As people of conscience, we must speak clearly and loudly whenever access to water is threatened. The Philadelphia Tribune

IN: 7 counties could bid on bankrupt Toll Road. . . Investment bank Piper Jaffray & Co., of Minneapolis, has delivered a report to LaPorte County that demonstrates Toll Road cash flow could support a public entity bid and throw off enough cash to benefit surrounding counties. Having a nonprofit established by the seven Toll Road counties place a bid would be a better alternative than letting another private investment consortium gain control of the road, said LaPorte County Commissioner David Decker.

IN: COMMENTARY: Why isn’t Toll Road reverting back to citizens?. . . What surprised me most about the discussion in the weeks leading up to the final vote was the lack of due diligence conducted on the two companies that were behind the lease funding. I reviewed their annual reports to better understand their financial condition. It was my professional opinion that even a moderate financial disruption — let alone the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression — would sink them. . . . I suggested the best protection for taxpayers was to include in the lease an automatic reversion should the “unthinkable” happen. I was personally assured, as were many of my Senate colleagues, that the road would revert back to the citizens in the event of the bankruptcy of the lease-holding company. . . .Either members of the Indiana General Assembly were intentionally misled, a multibillion dollar contract was negligently written, or the agreement was changed at the last moment without anybody bothering to inform the Indiana General Assembly.