- P3 News #1: University of Iowa public/private partnership ends up in court
- P3 News #2: Wall Street, thirsty for public water, heads west
- P3 News #3: Chicago utility agreement unplugged
First, the Good News…
1) National: Let’s hear it for the 30th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). “The FMLA provides eligible workers with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to:
- Bond with a newborn, newly adopted or foster child;
- Care for a seriously ill, injured or disabled spouse, parent or child;
- Address their own serious health condition, including illness, injury or disability;
- Care for a service member (up to 26 weeks) or address needs related to a family member’s deployment.
Research by the National Partnership for Women & Families estimates that the FMLA has been used nearly 463 million times by working people who needed to care for their own health or the health of their families.”
2) National: The Food and Drug Administration and the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the FDA have announced a virtual public meeting on March 8-9 titled, Understanding Fatal Overdoses to Inform Product Development and Public Health Interventions to Manage Overdose. “The meeting will include stakeholders—including people who use drugs, their families, harm reduction programs, clinicians, academic researchers, and federal partners, and will explore the evolving context surrounding fatal overdoses as participants will discuss epidemiological trends, drug supply changes, public health interventions to manage overdose, and drug development opportunities.”
3) National: The U.S. Department of Labor has found that Amazon exposed workers to unsafe conditions and ergonomic hazards at three more warehouses in Colorado, Idaho, New York. “The inspections follow referrals from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York that led the agency to open inspections and find similar violations at other Amazon warehouse facilities in Florida, Illinois, and New York in July 2022. OSHA later opened inspections in Aurora, Nampa, and Castleton on Aug. 1, 2022. At all six locations, OSHA investigators found Amazon exposed warehouse workers to a high risk of low back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders.”
4) Florida: Noliwe Rooks, author of Cutting School: The Segrenomics of American Education, and White Money/Black Power: The Surprising History of African American Studies and the Crisis of Race in Higher Education, says it’s time to fight back. “My stepmother is a retired teacher in Florida. She called me today to say she’s reaching out to other retired Black teachers to get them to start showing up at school board meetings to ‘match THOSE voices.’ People are organizing themselves around this madness.”
5) North Carolina: North Carolina has become the most recent state to expand its Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. On the PBS Newshour a Republican state lawmaker explains why he supports the move. [Video, about five minutes]
6) Pennsylvania: The Pittsburgh City Council unanimously voted against exploring a stricter youth curfew. “The controversial idea was opposed by the Gainey administration. Members are instead poised to pass a separate bill to explore how to open more rec centers with social services for kids.”
7) Pennsylvania: A new administration is encouraging hopes for tougher rules on energy and environment. “With the inauguration of Josh Shapiro as the new Democratic governor, and new leadership at the DEP, advocates for tougher regulation of the oil and gas industry, and for an activist approach to countering climate change, hope that the state is poised to begin a new chapter. ‘I’m optimistic that making enforcement and being an advocate for the public will be a top substantive priority for the DEP under Gov. Shapiro, and not just on fracking,’ said David Masur, executive director of PennEnvironment, an advocacy group.”
8) National: In the Public Interest’s Executive Director Donald Cohen says Defunding Public Schools Defunds Democracy. “Long before the idea of universal vouchers came along, the United States worked toward the goal of universal public schools, open to all, and strengthened over the years with rules to provide equal access and efforts to weed out discrimination. Public schools presented the promise of democratizing knowledge. Universal access to vouchers promises just the opposite: a further fracturing of American life, deeper divisions between us, a narrowing of perspective, beliefs taught as truth, outright fictions presented as facts, and a population less prepared for the many challenges ahead.”
9) National/Ohio: A Nazi homeschooling scandal in Ohio? You bet, reports HuffPost. “Over the past year, the Dissident Homeschool channel has become a community for like-minded fascists who see home schooling as integral to whites wresting control of America. The Saxons created this community while hiding behind a fake last name, but HuffPost has reviewed evidence indicating they are Logan and Katja Lawrence of Upper Sandusky, Ohio. Logan, until earlier this week, worked for his family’s insurance company while Katja taught the kids at home. The Anonymous Comrades Collective, a group of anti-fascist researchers, first uncovered evidence suggesting the Lawrences are behind Dissident Homeschool. HuffPost has verified the collective’s research.” Their goals? “We have given the oldest kids tidbits on WWI and WWII,” Mrs. Saxon wrote during a chat in the Dissident Homeschool channel. “And hopefully in a year or so we will have a grand unit study to offer all the dissident-right children about Hitler.”
Meanwhile, “major right-wing figures are increasingly promoting home schooling as a way to save children from alleged ‘wokeness’—or liberal ideas about race and gender—in public and private schools.”
10) National: What role does religion play in Ron DeSantis’ war on public education in Florida? Writing in the New Republic, Audrey Clare Farley makes some distinctions. “Even if evangelicals do rally around DeSantis, we should be cautious about reading him vis-à-vis these believers. His is a distinctly white Catholic morality—one that few realize is on the rise today. If we want to understand the Florida governor’s allure, the scope of infrastructure in place to buttress him, and the sheer terror that many already feel at the prospect of a DeSantis White House, it is imperative to understand that the man best suited to supplant Trump as the Republican Party standard-bearer has a patently Catholic brand of hate.”
11) National: The battle over the content of the proposed Advanced Placement course in African-American Studies has raised some relevant questions in the public vs. private context in addition to the obvious free speech and equal protection issues. The College Board, which stands accused of capitulating to the right wing movement against racial justice and honest education, is a private, non-profit 501(c)3.
Should a private organization that rakes in billions of dollars in revenue, even if non-profit, be making curriculum decisions, and effectively banning Black authors, for public schools across the country that have such a profound effect on the United States’ democratic character? This is not just a rhetorical question, as the bitter fight over publicly vs. privately formulated curriculum at New York’s LaGuardia College illustrated. See Erica Meltzer’s “The LaGuardia protests and the Privatization of The Public School Curriculum” in The Critical Reader; and Elaine Alvey’s case study on the privatization of curriculum. And, as has been the case in Florida, the skewing or corruption of curriculum can come from the public sector as well.
For more on some of the issues involved see Friday’s episode of Democracy Now, which had an excellent roundtable on the issues involved with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Khalil Gibran Muhammad and E. Patrick Johnson. “The revised curriculum removes Black Lives Matter, slavery reparations ,and queer theory as required topics, and it adds a section on Black conservatism. Many prominent authors and academics have also been removed from the AP curriculum, including James Baldwin, Frantz Fanon, Audre Lorde, bell hooks, June Jordan, Angela Davis, Alice Walker, Manning Marable, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Alexander, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Barbara Ransby, Roderick Ferguson, and two of our guests today: E. Patrick Johnson and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. The new curriculum was released Wednesday, on the first day of Black History Month.”
12) National: “The Reconstruction Era Is Not Taught Well in U.S. Schools—Here’s Why That Matters.” A new article by Catherine Caruso in Teen Vogue. “According to Bouie, the “core ideological struggle” of the Reconstruction era raised many important questions about who America is for and who should be considered an American. For the first time, Americans were asking themselves what kind of government they wanted: a multiracial democracy or a white man’s democracy? “Part of what you see during Reconstruction is Americans grappling with questions about the legacies of slavery, about the role of the state, about the nature of citizenship itself, who it includes and who it excludes, if anyone,” he says. The circumstances have certainly changed, but, Bouie asserts, these are arguments we’re still having.”
13) Florida/National: With a Ron DeSantis run on the horizon, Donald Trump has announced his intentions to privatize education and restrict academic freedom, Chris Lehman reports in The Nation. “The aim here is not so much parental control as a concerted hostile takeover from the private sector—a force that’s been driving education debate in America for decades, and that’s only redoubled under the twin scourges of Covid and Trumpism. ‘However you feel about school closures and other Covid mitigation measures, they clearly had the effect of radicalizing a lot of people,’ Jennifer Berkshire says. ‘The things that people have convinced themselves schools are doing, it’s just crazy. And what’s frightening now is to watch how all this is playing out at the state level. You’re going to see a significant number of states whose strategy is to aggressively start to dismantle the public school system.’”
14) Florida: For a Florida-focused discussion of the issues raised by Gov. DeSantis’ war on Black history, listen this roundtable with Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association; Sen. Shevrin Jones, Democratic member of the Florida Senate, representing District 35; Adam Laats, education historian, professor of education at Binghamton University, author of “The Other School Reformers: Conservative Activism in American Education”; Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, professor of history, The New School, and author, Classroom Wars: Language, Sex, and the Making of Modern Political Culture”; and Janai Nelson, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. [Audio, about 45 minutes].
15) Florida: Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar appeared on Stand Up with Pete Dominick, a daily podcast, to discuss the education and book banning situation in Florida. [Audio, about 40 minutes]. See also Francie Diep and Emma Pettit, “What Is Happening in Florida?” in the Chronicle of Higher Education. “What I find most troubling is that DeSantis is putting out a blueprint for other governors and state legislatures,” said Kristen A. Renn, a professor at Michigan State University who researches lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender college-student issues. “He’s doing these things in ways that anybody else can pick this up and do it.” [Registration required]. On Friday’s Democracy Now, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Professor of History, Race and Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, said “Florida is a laboratory of fascism at this point.”
16) New York: Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) is facing major pushback over her budget proposal to expand charter schools in the state. “The governor’s proposal opens the possibility that the charter sector could expand its foothold in the nation’s largest school system. But charters, which have always faced fierce opposition from teachers’ unions and left-leaning Democrats, face a turbulent road ahead, as the city’s public school system grapples with the loss of thousands of students and some of the dollars that follow them. In New York City, ongoing fights over the sharing of school campuses with charters could further inflame the debate.” The New York Times reports that “In a joint statement, three downstate senators—including John Liu, the chair of the New York City Education Committee—said they were ‘deeply disturbed’ by the plan, because they said it could deplete the resources of district schools. Other Democrats called for stricter requirements for charters to report the funding they receive from nongovernmental sources.”
17) Ohio: In a commentary in the Ohio Capital Journal, Editor-in-Chief David DeWitt says Ohio cheats taxpayers and public schools by funneling money to unaccountable private interests. “Many Ohioans pay taxes for schools but don’t have school-age children. Their taxes are meant to fund quality public schools because having educated citizens is a public good. Sending their money to unaccountable for-profit, private, and religious schools is a terrible abuse. Compelling taxpayers to support private interests at the expense of public ones is not only unethical, but unconstitutional when those private interests intertwine with religion. American taxpayers should never be forced to fund the efforts of religious institutions of any kind. Not one red cent.”
Despite this, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine “has put forward a budget proposal to expand school voucher subsidies that would send money to private, for-profit, and religious ventures. Prominent Ohio Republican Statehouse leaders appear to be on board. (…) Sadly, American public education was marked as a $500 billion a year opportunity for private profiteering some time ago, and Ohio has been leading the way Over the past several decades, Ohio’s seen one boondoggle after another.”
18) South Carolina: The South Carolina State Senate has approved a school voucher bill, which now heads to the House. “Democrats criticized that eligibility expansion, noting Republican supporters had previously championed the voucher program as a way to provide educational opportunities for poorer families, specifically, those who would otherwise not have them. ‘I’m not against any South Carolinian that’s trying to better themselves and trying to make a provision for their family,’ Sen. Ronnie Sabb, D–Williamsburg, said. ‘I think the fundamental question is not that. I would submit that the fundamental question is whether or not we use public funds to support private schools.’”
19) Virginia: Republicans are again trying to privatize education in the state, writes John F. Seymour, a long-time resident of Arlington. “For years now, public education in the Commonwealth has been under siege by Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly. Conservative legislators enchanted by economist Milton Friedman’s vision of an unfettered free market, and former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s championship of religious education, have introduced bills to privatize education in the Commonwealth. Variously described as measures intended to promote ‘school choice,’ the bills would divert state tax dollars from public schools and direct them to parents, who could use the funds to defer educational expenses at private schools in Virginia. Fortunately for the survival of public education in the Commonwealth, Governors McAuliffe and Northam vetoed such bills in years past, warning that the proposals would deprive public schools of critically-needed funds and also run afoul of the Commonwealth’s Constitution, which forbids state funding of religious schools. This session, Republicans again have sponsored a number of bills to privatize public education in furtherance of school choice.”
He concludes, “It is, even disciples of Milton Friedman might agree, quite simple economics. Without the equitable funding that choice precludes, local public schools would need to cut services and quality to pay the bills, or go out of business entirely.”
20) National/Iowa: Another infrastructure P3 disaster has landed. The University of Iowa has been slapped with a massive lawsuit by its “partner,” the Bond Buyer reports. “A 50-year lease of the University of Iowa’s utility system has soured less than three years into the deal, as the consortium filed a lawsuit over the university’s alleged lack of payments and other contract violations. When first inked in December 2019, the public-private partnership between the university and a consortium of firms dubbed the University of Iowa Energy Collaborative LLC. was one of the first of its kind, following a high-profile deal from the Ohio State University in 2017. Under the concession, UIEC, comprising ENGIE, Meridiam, and Hannon Armstrong, paid the university $1.165 billion upfront to lease the university’s steam, cooling, water, and electricity systems for 50 years. The university agreed to make annual payments starting at $35 million, with annual 1.5% increases starting in 2025 that would boost the fee to $68 million after 50 years.”
Despite assertions that the contract was carefully drawn up, many of the key issues now seem likely to end up in court for resolution. “Among the disagreements is what the annual utility fee is made up of, and whether the university is required to make an insurance claim for property damage events. The consortium is also seeking declaratory relief to stop the university’s own threats of litigation. The lawsuit comes a month after Iowa Auditor Rob Sand released a report highlighting some of the P3’s risks.” [Sub required].
21) National: The new issue of Public Works Financing, the house organ of the infrastructure privatization industry, has a lengthy article attempting to prove that the many failures of so-called public private partnerships are the fault of “political risk,” a euphemism they use for environmental protection, public control of how public money is spent, and non-industry-driven project evaluation and approval. This generates another euphemism, “political blockage.” The analysis rests on a deconstruction and relativizing of the term “failure” that would make Derrida proud and its airtight methodology involves interviewing P3 staff, who presumably are not biased even though their livelihoods depend on P3s. The kicker is in the conclusion: designating the public and its representatives who oppose privatization as “institutional limits on the actions of government that are exogenous to the contracting environment.” [“When New Public Management Fails,” Public Works Financing, January 2023; sub required]
22) National: What is the limit of federal liability for potential flood-related lawsuits against it? This issue is relevant in cases where private insurance markets refuse to provide coverage. The Congressional Research Service has a new report on it.
23) California/National: The water crisis in the West is intensifying, states cannot agree on a solution so the federal government may have to step in. Meanwhile Wall Street, never letting a crisis go to waste, is trying to soak people for even more money. California has rejected other western states’ Colorado River water-sharing plan, instead releasing its own (Feb. 1).
CBS News reports that New York investors [are] snapping up Colorado River water rights, betting big on an increasingly scarce resource. “I view these drought profiteers as vultures,” Andy Mueller, general manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, said. “They’re looking to make a lot of money off this public resource. Water in Colorado, water in the West, is your future. Without water you have no future.”
Well guess what? There’s a rather intriguing, if unsurprising, revolving door connection here. The company involved is chaired by a former California regulator. John Bohn, the Chairman of Water Asset Management, “recently completed his six year term as Commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission, a constitutional agency of the State of California, which regulates private electricity, gas, telephone, and water companies. From 1989 to 1996, Ambassador Bohn served as President and CEO of Moody’s Investors Service and was previously the U.S. Ambassador and Executive Director at the Asian Development Bank under the Reagan Administration.”
24) Florida: Dennis Bernstein of KPFA’s Flashpoints had a very interesting interview with Wendi Lederman, a stalwart activist who’s been fighting for months to stop water privatization in Fort Lauderdale. [Audio, at 44:30]. See Lederman’s statement on behalf of the Fort Lauderdale Water Crisis Community Forum. “What’s not being discussed is that the city’s own report, the 2021 “Riess Pilot Study” determined that refurbishing the existing plant would save $100’s of millions. This would include retrofitting with carbon-based filtration methods which are safer and more effective than current disinfection processes. With this option, the public would retain control and full ownership of its most vital resource. Work would be completed exponentially faster than relocating.”
25) Florida: As noted last week, the mayoral race in Jacksonville has turned into a brawl over who is more responsible for the disastrous effort to sell the city’s JEA public utility. Well, we’re at the heavy campaign ad spending stage for the March 21, 2023, vote, and the accusations and deflections are flying so thick and fast that we need a guide to sort them out. That guide is the redoubtable Nate Monroe, a Florida Times-Union columnist who’s been on top of the privatization scandal since its beginning. He doesn’t mince words: “On JEA, Jax mayoral candidates think you’re an idiot.”
The scandal’s “legacy—two federal indictments, a diminished mayor, millions in ratepayer money squandered, an army of would-be consultants with close ties to many local elected officials, questions swirling around the secret tactics deployed [by] the consultants of the leading bidder, and, above all, a more cynical electorate—is not something future candidates for public office are wrangling to claim credit for but instead are using to attack their competitors, an albatross this already troubled city will have to bear for many years to come. Here’s the truth about JEA and mayoral candidates Daniel Davis and LeAnna Cumber: both were bit players in a far larger scandal.” [Sub required]
26) Illinois: Is Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) trying to outdo her Democratic predecessor Richard M. Daley’s spectacular parking privatization disaster by cutting a rushed deal over the city’s utility? “During the proposal’s introduction at the City Council Wednesday, Ald. Andre Vasquez, 40th, sent it to the Rules Committee, where legislation sometimes languishes. Afterward, he likened the plan to the infamous 2008 parking meter plan passed under Mayor Richard M. Daley, who traded 75 years of city parking revenue to private investors for $1.15 billion. ‘We’re in the middle of elections,’ Vasquez told reporters afterward. ‘We could have a whole radically different council, potentially a new mayor, and if they want to have any concerns or make any changes, they won’t be able to for three terms.’ The mayor and all 50 aldermanic seats are up for election Feb. 28, with an April 4 runoff for any seat where no candidate gets at least 50% of the vote.”
27) North Carolina: Duke Energy’s privately-owned and operated coal plants are so expensive that they could be replaced by solar farms for half the cost. This is true all across the country, as a new report shows.
28) Maryland: The Real News Network, which does a terrific job covering Baltimore, is on the scent of a scandal involving tax breaks and developers, always a happy hunting ground for researchers. “A key state senator is calling for legislation to probe Baltimore’s sprawling and often opaque system of doling out lucrative tax breaks to developers. Maryland state Sen. Jill P. Carter, a Democrat, who heads the Senate’s Baltimore City delegation, says Baltimore’s strategy of using tax incentives to reverse population loss and promote economic growth has instead heightened inequality in the city while advantaging wealthy neighborhoods over impoverished communities. ‘The tax breaks for the wealthy and for developers at the expense of the poor and middle class are driving disparity in Baltimore and need to be fixed,’ Carter told TRNN. ‘If we don’t, we’re going to keep asking the same questions about the city.’ Carter said she plans to introduce a bill to impanel a body to probe the city’s process for awarding tax breaks and the apparent lack of transparency, but it may take some maneuvering because she is limited to the number of bills she can introduce during this legislative session. However, as a workaround, Carter is currently seeking co-sponsors for the bill, which would permit legislation to go forward.”
29) Montana: George Ochenski of the Missoulian reports on the boomerang effects of deregulation. “Drinking effluent from upgradient activities, wastewater treatment plants, and septic systems does not particularly enhance human health, nor the value of your homes—which makes the governor’s rap about ‘prospering’ and ‘thriving’ ring very hollow in light of the facts,” says Ochenski. “The Law of Unintended Consequences will, however, make us pay in the long run.”
Sometimes people slip into a lazy way of thinking and just assume people in the currently red states get conservative because of something in the soil. But a lot of money and effort went into and is still going into turning formerly progressive populist states to the right. To take one example, “the billionaire-backed Freedom Foundation has set foot in Montana with its goal to dismantle unions and fight bosses who have ‘ripped off workers.’ Last week, Freedom Foundation director of labor policy Max Nelsen testified in support of a bill that would require public sector unions to re-up contracts with workers every year and inform them—annually—of their right to refrain from membership. No union worker testified in support of House Bill 216—and many workers lined up to oppose it. Union representatives described the legislation in part as a violation of the contract clause in the Montana Constitution.”
30) National: An important note from Genevieve Frederick, president and founder of Feeding Pets of the Homeless. “The issue of homelessness is foremost on my mind; probably because we work with people experiencing homelessness daily. For those not familiar with the Point in Time (PIT) count data that is reported to Congress every year, it is a way for agencies and cities to see if the number of people experiencing homelessness has increased or decreased. The report is lengthy. Here is a link to a summary. Here you can find more in-depth reports. More and more cities are refusing to publicly release their PIT count, which makes the report inaccurate. In the years that I have been watching these reports, it occurs to me and others that the count is flawed. Many homeless move into hiding for fear of arrest or are mentally ill and paranoid about interacting with people. The explanation for homelessness is complicated, every person experiencing homelessness has a story. We do not ask for their story but sometimes they want an ear. The public perception is mental illness and/or addictions. But there is so much more at play….”
31) National: As Britain’s National Health Service slides down the road of privatization, Luke Savage tries to warn the Novara Media’s Brit audience about what it would be like to end up with an American-style healthcare train wreck. “Trust Me, Private Healthcare is a ****show.” Britain is facing the largest healthcare strike in its history.
32) National: The Nation’s Bryce Covert has an in-depth profile, with lots of context, of the National Labor Relations Board’s General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. “Some critics aren’t waiting for Abruzzo’s agenda to wind its way through the board and the courts before trying to strike it down. In July, a group of staffing firms filed a lawsuit seeking to block her from litigating cases based on her memo on captive audience meetings, claiming that her guidance violates their First Amendment rights. Abruzzo, for her part, is remarkably unflappable on this topic. ‘I do not worry about what courts may or may not do,’ she says. ‘I do not feel constrained at all.’ These headwinds are what make labor advocates desperate to see Congress pass legislation like the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act to bolster and modernize union rights.”
33) National: John W. Whitehead has a hard hitting piece in Counterpunch on “How Police Use Public-Private Partnerships to Spy on Americans.” He reports that “Stingray devices, facial recognition technology, body cameras, automated license plate readers, gunshot detection, predictive policing software, AI-enhanced video analytics, real-time crime centers, fusion centers: all of these technologies and surveillance programs rely on public-private partnerships that together create a sticky spiderweb from which there is no escape.”
34) National: The federal prison population is back on the way up.
35) National: Former Vice President Mike Pence wants to privatize Social Security, but he isn’t the only one.
36) Hawaii: The Honolulu Star editorial board says public hospitals need to be shored up. “More than five years ago, the state-run Maui public hospital system was transferred to become a wholly-owned, not-for-profit subsidiary of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. At that time the hope was that this privatization model could be replicated on other islands, improving care and relieving the state of paying heavy subsidies for their operation. That turned out to be unrealistic, at least for the foreseeable future.” [Sub required]
37) Texas: “This weekend you can search Twitter—as well as the entire internet—and not reported anywhere else but[this here] is the fact that the prison system’s attorneys in Texas—working for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice—are in ongoing violation of multiple rules of professional ethics,” says @SteveCooperEsq.
38) International: The United Kingdom’s biggest combined public and private sector strike wave in a generation is continuing as the Tory government digs in its heels and has now reached for repressive legal measures against organized labor. For complete coverage read Novara Media and Tribune.
39) International: The Philippine National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)’s chief, Arsenio Balisacan, has “assured the public that there would be no privatization of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) services despite a proposed cancer center project being a public-private partnership (PPP). (…) In a Palace press briefing, Balisacan explained that the proposed hospital would be under a build-operate-transfer arrangement, wherein a private partner is given concession to finance, build, and operate a project over a fixed term, after which the project will be returned to the public,” according to the Manila Times.
40) National: Forget the balloons. That meteor headed straight for public pension plans is private equity.
41) Pennsylvania/National: Here’s a terrific account of how the Philadelphia Museum of Art Union won the battle to secure its first contract, and what comes next. “The contretemps had a very generation-clash vibe: wealthy board members using a private-corporation playbook to tamp down young(er) workers’ agitation for parental leave, a living wage on par with similar museums, and affordable health care. Workers complained about withering opportunities to advance and growing numbers of jobs filled with temporary and contract workers, which contributed to workplace anxiety.”
42) International/National: Think former British Prime Minister Liz Truss has slinked off into shameful oblivion after her brief and spectacularly disastrous tenure atop the British government? Think again. Apparently she is on a global quest to revive her right wing think tank-backed crusade for tax cuts and austerity that disintegrated on contact with reality. Truss has visited Washington to, among other things, consult with the economic geniuses in the House now aiming to import Truss’ debt disaster into the U.S. “Accompanied by two colleagues—Jake Berry, the former Conservative Party chairman, and Brandon Lewis, a former minister—Truss visited Capitol Hill and advocacy groups like Americans for Tax Reform. The voluble activist Grover Norquist, a self-described Truss fan, told me he urged her to focus relentlessly on lowering tax rates and avoid other factional disputes within her party. That, he said, is how you build a diverse bloc of support for cutting taxes.” Among other things, Truss reportedly wanted to leverage her economic disaster to privatize Britain’s National Health Service.