Friday, March 24, 2006

More on Bar

"It's strange that the former first lady would want to do this. If her son's having a rough time of it, couldn't she write him a check?" said Daniel Borochoff, founder of the American Institute of Philanthropy, a Chicago-based charity watchdog group.

Good question. (via Crooks and Liars)

Neil Bush in education?

I knew one S&L criminal was into educational software, but two?

Turns out Bush family ne'erdowell Neil Bush is peddling pedagogy these days. And don't worry, it appears to be every bit as shady as his dealings during the S&L scandal.

Former First Lady Barbara Bush made a donation to Houston schools to support Katrina evacuees. So far, no problem. But she specified that the money must go to buy software from Neil's company. Now, I understand a mother wanting to help her son, but is this charity for Katrina victims (remember, by the way, that Bar once said living as refugees in the Astrodome was "working very well for them") or is this charity for a son who just can't ever seem to pull his life together? I've got my opinion.

But it gets even worse. From the Houston Chronicle:

There are 40 Ignite programs being used in the Houston area, and 15 in the Houston school district, said Ken Leonard, president of Ignite.

Information about the effectiveness of the program, through district-generated reports, was not readily available Wednesday, according to an HISD spokeswoman.

Two years ago, the school district raised eyebrows when it expanded the program by relying heavily on private donations.

In February 2004, the Houston school board unanimously agreed to accept $115,000 in charitable donations from businesses and individuals who insisted the money be spent on Ignite. The money covered half the bill for the software, which cost $10,000 per school.

The deal raised conflict of interest concerns because Neil Bush and company officials helped solicit the donations for the HISD Foundation, a philanthropic group that raises money for the district.

So he was raising charitable money using Daddy's connections-- and then directing the charity to himself! Wow, I knew this was a dysfunctional family, but c'mon!

And, while we're at it let's throw in a crazed Russian tycoon. Why not?

Last year, Neil Bush reportedly toured former Soviet Union countries promoting Ignite with Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky.

According to the Times of London, Berezovsky, a former Kremlin insider now living in Britain, is wanted on criminal charges in Moscow accusing him of seeking to stage a coup against President Vladimir Putin.

Anybody else get the sense that Neil Bush should be nowhere near children?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Yet another bright idea!

Do they really imagine this will work? Oh yeah, these are the same people that thought they could privatize social security and democratize Iraq. Almost forgot. I guess it's not too much of a leap then for them to imagine they can solve the teenage drug problem through testing. Gosh, these people are just full of bright ideas!

W.House pushes more schools to drug-test students
19 Mar 2006 14:03:49 GMT

Source: Reuters

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON, March 19 (Reuters) - Student athletes, musicians and others who participate in after school activities could increasingly be subject to random drug testing under a program promoted by the Bush administration.

White House officials say drug testing is an effective way to keep students away from harmful substances like marijuana and crystal methamphetamine, and have held seminars across the country to promote the practice to local school officials.

But some parents, educators and school officials call it a heavy-handed, ineffective way to discourage drug use that undermines trust and invades students' privacy.

"Our money should be going toward educating young people, not putting them under these surveillance programs," said Jennifer Kern, a research associate at the Drug Policy Alliance, a non-profit group that has frequently criticized U.S. drug policy.

Requiring students to produce a urine sample or hair sample for laboratory testing is a relatively recent tactic in the United States' decades-long "war on drugs," along with surveillance cameras and drug-sniffing dogs in school hallways.

For more, click here. Hat tip to Pink Dome, which also had this excellent post.

Georgia Bible School

This one is a difficult one for me, because I love religious literature. The Bhagavad Gita, the Bible, the Koran, the Dhammapada, and the Tao de Ching are all excellent reads.

So when Georgia passed state funding for a class on the Bible as literature, one part of me says, why not? And the other -- the cynical, well-informed part -- knows that these kinds of things are often Trojan horses for evangelicals.

I agree with this sentimenet:

While the bill specifies that the courses must be taught in an “objective and nondevotional” manner, the exclusion of other religious books makes it objectionable, Maggie Garrett, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, has said.

If Georgia really wants to teach religion as literature, why not include otehr religions?

(Via Governing magazine.)
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