Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Tom Harkin

‘Taxpayers Spent $32 Billion in the Most Recent Year on Companies That Operate For-Profit Colleges, but the Majority of Students They Enroll Leave Without a Degree, Half of Those within Four Months’

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“In this report, you will find overwhelming documentation of exorbitant tuition, aggressive recruiting practices, abysmal student outcomes, taxpayer dollars spent on marketing and pocketed as profit, and regulatory evasion and manipulation,” Mr. Harkin, an Iowa Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said in a statement on Sunday. “These practices are not the exception — they are the norm. They are systemic throughout the industry, with very few individual exceptions.” Via Political Animal.

UPDATE: For-Profit Colleges Only a Con Man Could Love.

Links from the Weekend

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* Slate devotes a column to criticizing the U.S. military-based approach to Haitian emergency relief. There’s some attempts at push-back, with varying success, in the MetaFilter thread, particularly about the specifically helpful capacities of the ships that have been sent there, but what can you say about facts like these:

Air-traffic control in the Haitian capital was outsourced to an Air Force base in Florida, which, not surprisingly, gave priority to its own pilots. While the military flew in troops and equipment, planes bearing supplies for the Red Cross, the World Food Program, and Doctors Without Borders were rerouted to Santo Domingo in neighboring Dominican Republic. Aid flights from Mexico, Russia, and France were refused permission to land. On Monday, the British Daily Telegraph reported, the French minister in charge of humanitarian aid admitted he had been involved in a “scuffle” with a U.S. commander in the airport’s control tower. According to the Telegraph, it took the intervention of the United Nations for the United States to agree to prioritize humanitarian flights over military deliveries.

Meanwhile, much of the aid that was arriving remained at the airport. Haitians watched American helicopters fly over the capital, commanding and controlling, but no aid at all was being distributed in most of the city. On Tuesday, a doctor at a field hospital within site of the runways complained that five to 10 patients were dying each day for lack of the most basic medical necessities. “We can look at the supplies sitting there,” Alphonse Edward told Britain’s Channel 4 News.

The much-feared descent into anarchy stubbornly refused to materialize. “It is calm at this time,” Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command, admitted to the AP on Monday. “Those who live and work here … tell me that the level of violence that we see right now is below pre-earthquake levels.” He announced that four—four, in a city of more than 2 million—aid-distribution points had been set up on the sixth day of the crisis.

* Some good news: the IMF claims it is “pursuing” the total elimination of Haiti’s foreign debt. And some terrible news: by one estimate (highlighted by Marginal Revolution) a full 8% of Haiti’s population may be orphaned children.

* 11 Things You Didn’t Know About Pinball History.

* From the comments: The Five Dials tribute to David Foster Wallace.

* David’s Cross’s The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret has been picked up by the BBC. My friend Bill posted a clip from the pilot not long ago, which he played at his recent show at Raleigh.

* Fan art gone terribly wrong/terribly right: Seinfeld Star Wars.

* Auto-appendectomy in the Antarctic: a case report. (Thanks Neil!)

* Via Ezra Klein, I see Tom Toles has somehow gotten hold of the Democratic playbook.

* Glenn Greenwald has a balanced piece largely in favor of the Citizens United v. FEC. Others are saying this decision may give foreign multinational corporations the right to participate in the American political process. Citizens United is by all appearances the first major domestic political crisis of the ’10s, and it came early; if I had sway in the progressive blogosphere I would suggest we devote ourselves to demanding the introduction of a constitutional amendment that reverses this decision by modifying or eliminating corporate personhood. That fight would not be easy—as Matt points out the total spending on Senate campaigns in 2004, $400 million, was just 17% of the marketing budget of a single American bank, which means our already corporatist ruling class would have every possible incentive to ignore such a campaign—but I don’t see much choice; it’s hard to imagine any sort of functional democracy existing in America while Citizens United remains in full effect.

* Republicans believe that Obama’s problem is that he’s pushing so much government intervention in the economy. That’s undoubtedly part of the story. But Obama’s larger difficulty is that he’s pushing so much change at a time when filibuster threats are so common that it requires 60 Senate votes to pass almost everything — and the minority party won’t provide the president votes on almost anything. We are operating in what amounts to a parliamentary system without majority rule, a formula for futility. Steve Benen has a post on the filibuster reform recently proposed by Tom Harkin here.

* Are Republicans “irrationally exuberant” about November? God, I hope so.

* For what it’s worth Obama’s poll numbers continue to match Reagan’s, and he beats nearly all comers in 2012. The one possible exception is the affable, if politically odious, Mike Huckabee, who beats Obama 45-44 in a PPP poll. And it was Huckabee himself who predicted just this week Obama will win again in 2012.

* NASA says 2000-2009 was the hottest decade on record. Good thing climate change is a myth.

* The immortal Neil Gaiman is profiled in the New Yorker.

* The last days of Philip K. Dick.

* And if my estimates are correct, we could hit Peak Crayola as soon as 2018.

Joe Lieberman Is Your President Now

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Image shamelessly stolen from Ezra Klein, who writes:

To put this in context, Lieberman was originally invited to participate in the process that led to the Medicare buy-in. His opposition would have killed it before liberals invested in the idea. Instead, he skipped the meetings and is forcing liberals to give up yet another compromise. Each time he does that, he increases the chances of the bill’s failure that much more. And it’s hard to imagine there’s a policy rationale here, as he decided against even bothering to wait for the CBO’s analysis before moving against this idea. At this point, Lieberman is just torturing liberals. That is to say, he’s willing to directly cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score.

More on the inscrutable whims of President Lieberman here and here.

The single biggest failure of leadership we’ve seen this year has been the needless decision of Democratic hierarchy to insist on 60 votes in the Senate at any cost. That things could reach this point was 100% predictable months ago; where is Reid’s contingency plan?

Going forward, things are not looking good:

The leverage that Lieberman and other “centrists” have obtained on this issue (and on climate change) stems from a demonstrated willingness to embrace sociopathic indifference to the human cost of their actions.

Lieberman is a lost cause, and likely Nelson too. The cost of Snowe or Collins is too high. It’s time to start talking about reconciliation again—that is to say, it’s time to write the 50-vote version, introduce it to the chamber, and see if that weakens Lieberman’s dickish resolve. We missed the Christmas deadline anyway, and I’m tired of one-sided negotiations.

At least Harkin is still talking about that bill to end the filibuster. Good.

Dean to HHS Redux

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Everybody is trying to figure out how to slide Howard Dean into HHS without Rahm Emmanuel noticing. Here’s Tom Harkin.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 6, 2009 at 12:02 am

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