Monthly Archives: September 2015

Earning a profit from global warming

Systemic Disorder

As evidence mounts that a warming world is hurtling toward the point of no return, the plan of the world’s governments is to make adjustments to the ability of corporations to profit from polluting. Short-term profits continue to be elevated above the long-term health of the environment.

There does seem to be a new sense of governmental urgency ahead of the Paris climate summit scheduled for December, with several governments announcing new proposed reductions in future greenhouse-gas emissions. But is it already too late? Two scientific studies issued this year suggest that so much carbon dioxide already has been thrown in the air that humanity may have already committed itself to a six-meter rise in sea level. A separate 2015 study, prepared by 18 scientists, found that the Earth is crossing several “planetary boundaries” that together will render the planet much less hospitable.

Haze from forest fires in St. Mary Valley, Glacier National Park (photo by Pete Dolack) Haze from forest fires in St. Mary…

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Joel Klein’s Amplify Lays Off 2/3 of Its Employees: “The Cold, Inhumane Hand of Capitalism at Work”

Diane Ravitch's blog

This morning, Amplify laid off two-thirds of its staff–some 800 people. Amplify is a division of Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp. Its CEO is education reformer Joel Klein. Murdoch invested $1 billion in Klein’s Amplify. NewsCorp has been trying to find a buyer for Amplify since it has never earned a profit in the five years of its existence. This past year it lost $371 million.

“In a tweet this morning, Alex Modestou wrote that Amplify Education laid off 800 employees today. The Observer has reached out to the company to confirm. NewsCorp has been looking for an investor to take over the division, as the Observer previously reported.

“Multiple sources inside and outside the company said that most of its staff lost their jobs today, effective immediately, at around 10:30 a.m.

“Mr. Modestou told the Observer in a phone call that he worked part time on the math curriculum for…

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Mike Klonsky: Rahm Cuts Special Education

Diane Ravitch's blog

Mike Klonsky reports that Chicago Public Schools is cutting special education.

“Our autocrat at City Hall appears bent on dismembering special education in Chicago by a thousand cuts. SpEd took its first major deep cut over the summer eliminating 500 positions at CPS. More cuts announced late Friday mean approximately 160 schools would lose special education teachers, while 184 would lose aides.”

Let the lawsuits begin. There is a federal law to protect children with disabilities.

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Big New Reform Idea: Bankruptcy

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jonas Persson of the Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch reports on a panel discussion in Néw Orleans about speeding up the dismantling of public education.

The event was a conference sponsored by the voucher-loving American Federation for Children, celebrating the privatization of Néw Orleans schools.

The panel Persson describes was called “Knocking out Yesterday’s Education Models” but a panelist “joked that the working title of the panel had been “What Happens After You Blow it All Up?”

Persson writes:

“But in the absence of a new hurricane that would sweep away public schools, a man-made calamity might do the trick. Such was the argument of Rebecca Sibilia, who is the CEO of a new non-profit education group: Edbuild.

“When you think of bankruptcy … this is a huge opportunity. Bankruptcy is not a problem for kids; bankruptcy is a problem for the people governing the system, right? So…

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Whole Foods Says It Will Stop Selling Prisoner-Made Products Made By April 2016

Consumerist

(Glyn Lowe Photoworks) (Glyn Lowe Photoworks)
After a protest at one of its Texas stores, Whole Foods says it will no longer sell products made using a prison labor program. The company has sold tilapia and goat cheese produced through a Colorado inmate program at some stores since 2011, and now plans to have the products out of stores by April 2016 or sooner.

A prison reform advocate who organized a protest at a Whole Foods store in Houston this past weekend said the company told him it’d be changing its policy. Though other companies sell products produced through inmate programs, he said it was hypocritical of Whole Foods to do so, due to how the company presents itself.

“They say they care about the community, but they’re enhancing their profit off of poor people,” he told the Associated Press, adding that prisoners usually don’t make much money for their…

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Interview with Richard Ross: Juvenile in Justice

Midtown Mocha

Originally appeared on the Open Eye Gallery’s blog, 04/09/2015

There’s a quote by Booker T. Washington that trails Richard Ross’s work closely. It’s the epigraph to his Juvenile in Justicebook and states fiercely, “The study of art that does not result in making the strong less willing to oppress the weak means little.”

Winner of the 2012 Best News and Documentary Photography Award, Ross has spent eight years photographing the sealed-off worlds of America’s juvenile detention centres, where 70,000 children are currently held.

Yet documenting is perhaps too light a word. For Richard Ross, the camera is a weapon, his photographs created with an implicit subtext that demands something more from the viewer. Our justice systems are built firmly, and uncontestably, upon a stringent power scheme. Ross turns this on its head, pointing us to back to its source and giving a voice to the imprisoned and the…

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British Labour, Marxist McDonnell and deficit-denying

Michael Roberts Blog

The election of a new leader of the UK’s opposition Labour party has provoked a flurry of interest in the international media and among economists.  That’s because the new leader, Jeremy Corbyn and his newly appointed finance spokesman, John McDonnell, have been considered as ‘avowed Marxists’.

Mcdonnell

That is certainly the case for McDonnell.  He is an ‘avowed Marxist’ because he says he is.  On the day of his big keynote economics speech at Labour’s annual conference this week, he said that “If you look at our capitalist system, one of the definitive analysts of how it works – not whether it is condemned, or whether it is right or wrong, just the mechanics of how it works, when it was formed and how it would be developed – actually was Marx.”  He went on “If you look at most of the institutions that are teaching economics today. Marx has come…

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