Madison Elementary Teacher Kornblatt Uses Community Resources to Expand Educational Opportunity

(h/t @4SHCrane via @mgarth) Great way to utilize community resources to expand educational opportunities for 3rd grade students by Lincoln Elementary teacher Marc Kornblatt – learning about nature via phenology and writing it down at the laundromat.

Borowitz Offers Horse Sense In Greek Euro Crisis

I think Greece should consider it.   None of the  terms offered to Greece make any sense – and no one is thinking about a surprise attack (shhhh!)

Helsinki Complaints Choir

via echidne – brilliant!

Misappropriate – Mortgage Settlement Money Going to WI Gen Budget

Governor Scott Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen aren’t the first public officials to take money intended for one purpose and use it for another.  In the case of the national mortgage fraud settlement money funding for Wisconsin, part of a settlement already grossly inadequate for helping provide restitution to victims, it will be largely or even entirely sucked into the state general budget to fill budget holes.

David Dayen has been covering the mortgage fraud story nationally, and the Journal Sentinel has local coverage as does Think Progress.

As much as blame rests with Walker and Van Hollen (who deserve their share) – how is it that the Obama Administration settlement, supposedly crafted to provide a measure of justice to homeowners suffering real and devastating harm from fraud, permits states to take a more than half of the “hard” money involved ($2.75 billion of $5.25 billion) and use it for anything they desire? Talk about insult to injury!

If Wisconsin’s GOP leadership did this in their political wisdom, why wouldn’t we think other states will follow? As Dayen tweeted today (@ddayen) “Wisconsin will use foreclosure fraud settlement money to plug their budget hole I guarantee you Florida’s next.”  The fraud continues – both what we know of the settlement, and the lack of transparency of terms and accountability, leads to the destruction of faith in equal justice and our form of government. I would have guessed that political self-preservation would have dictated a different course for President Obama. I remain amazed.


[Editor Note: The “terms” link above was added after the post – apparently there are no “inked” terms at all, so what’s written above is based on what was reported, not what was agreed to in final, which as of now is nothing as I understand it. So basically what the Obama Administration proposes as a settlement (a high water mark as it were) sucks for the victims of fraud – and it isn’t even yet accepted.]

Kevin Drum Lays Out Clear Contraception Case

Kevin does a nice job presenting the issues around contraception concisely.  As others have noted, providing contraception has been widely accepted in America for a long time now – most people, including Mitt Romney, have presented it as a non-issue.  That doesn’t mean Mitt views it as a non-issue, or that it couldn’t become a genuine issue, but most people probably agree with what Mitt has said “Contraception, it’s working just fine, just leave it alone.”

Russ Feingold Against Obama’s Use of Super PACs – It’s “Dancing with the Devil”

Read Feingold’s position here.  It’s easy to dismiss Russ’ position – it’s easy to say ‘you need to fight fire with fire’, etc. But I think it’s worth really thinking about the implications. As Russ traces it, how did we get to the point of big money dictating our politics – and is there more reason or less to believe that even greater amounts of money will lead a handful of big spenders to dictate the direction of America in ever greater amounts?

If you think winning is an end unto itself, and all that matters, your decision is easy. If you care about the content of the win, and recognize that losing is sometimes the best of bad options, the decision may still be easy even if the results are tough.  You don’t get credit for coming in second in politics. Credit isn’t everything.

Komen Foundation/Planned Parenthood Background

There’s certainly a lot being discussed about this – four pieces I’ve found illuminating for a variety reasons:

– Nonprofit Social Media Perspective – Kivi Leroux Miller (Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog)

Lea Goldman on “The Big Business of Breast Cancer”

– A classic piece of investigative journalism on Komen by Mary Ann Swissler “Running from the Truth

– Another classic piece both big picture and personal by Barbara Ehrenreich “Welcome to Cancerland”

Shouldn’t It Be Someone’s Job to Focus on Jobs?

via Ed Kilgore at the Washington Monthly, Ezra Klein looks at statistics showing that if the same number of people were looking for work as in 2007, the unemployment rate would be 10.3% – a number that’s improved only slightly (0.7%) over two years, and has remained above 10% since September 2009.  This “real” rate of unemployment doesn’t take out the “discouraged workers” no longer looking for work (in many cases because they can’t find it).

The numbers don’t surprise me – if anything they seem low.   And therein lies the problem – we need jobs because things aren’t getting much better.

Charlie Pierce Accuses David Brooks of Animal Abuse

Via AtriosCharlie Pierce’s sharp commentary on David Brook’s dog Moral Hazard.  In this economy even the dogs of the relatively well-off live well under their potential.

Systems That Don’t Self-correct Don’t Survive

Paraphrasing Jared Bernstein.  When we’re talking about our economic system that’s pretty scary – and it has been pretty scary.