This weekend I’ll be watching, with considerable trepidation, the Georgia-Florida football game, a.k.a. (though the schools have been trying to suppress this nickname for years) the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. I’m old enough to have lived through eras of domination by both teams, and nervous enough that I actually took a bathroom break and missed the most famous moment in the series (the Buck-Belue-to-Lindsey-Scott TD pass that preserved Georgia’s perfect national championship season in 1980). Still haven’t lived that down.
Here are some remains of the day:
* CNNMoney gets into some deep schadenfreude in its account of what it was like on the CNBC plane traveling back from Wednesday night’s debate.
* Useful Neil Irwin debate with himself over trajectory of U.S. economy.
* HRC speech in Atlanta interrupted by #BlackLivesMatter protesters, but she gets to resume thanks to some help from John Lewis.
* At College Guide, Daniel Luzer makes case that Latinos are now the chief victims of educational segregation.
* At Republic 3.0, Alan McQuinn urges caution in federal and state regulation of drones.
And in non-political news:
* With tornados near San Antonio and flooding in Austin, memories of Great Texas Drought fade a bit more.
That’s it for Friday. David Atkins and D.R. Tucker will be in for Weekend Blogging tomorrow. We’ll close with a rare video of Grace Slick performing one of my favorite Airplane songs, “Lawman,” with the 90s version of Jefferson Starship. I’m guessing this was at the LA House of Blues, because Slick was retired by then and only performed occasionally when the band was in LA. Anyway, the recording is terrible but Kantner and Jack Cassidy seem to be there and the song is an evergreen.
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The parent of the 10-year-old boy who was interviewed by John Merrow on PBS filed a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education that Eva Moskowitz violated her child’s privacy rights under the federal law FERPA by disclosing her child’s confidential disciplinary record tithe media.
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You know that Jeb Bush internal campaign document that everybody’s quoting this week? Well, turns out it has something even more interesting than the talking points about Marco Rubio’s personal finances. The Week‘s Jeva Lange explains:
The Iowa caucus, on February 1, is 93 days away. Bush’s campaign has set the goal of receiving 18.45 percent of the vote — more than double the 8 percent he’s polling now. About 128,800 Republican voters are expected to turn out, which means Bush needs about 24,000 votes. The catch: His campaign is only confident he has 1,260 voters in the Hawkeye State.
The estimate comes from over 70,000 phone calls made by a 10-person paid staff in Iowa; for all their calls, the team was only able to rope in four volunteers and root up a total of 1,260 Bush supporters statewide. That leaves a gap of 22,740 voters that the campaign needs to identify or persuade to its side by February. Making matters worse, an advertising blitz isn’t waiting in the wings to rescue Bush’s Iowa ground-game: Of the budget set aside for advertising, Bush’s team only plans to spend $1.36 million in the weeks before voting begins, as opposed to $5.6 million set aside for New Hampshire or $2.7 million for South Carolina.
In plainer words, Bush’s campaign hopes to somehow gather 22,000 supporters in less than 100 days with a relatively small ad campaign and little luck after over 70,000 phone calls to potential voters.
Actually, the four volunteers harvested by those 70,000 calls was even more startling than the low number of Bush supporters. I’m not one to over-estimate the importance of enthusiasm in politics, but you really do need some committed non-paid staff to pull off a successful Caucus effort. Worse yet, you get the sense that Bush’s supposedly top-notch organization just isn’t up to the massive task of persuading people to like their man.
Fortunately for Jebbie, Iowa’s not a must-win state, but he does need not to get humiliated there. And having to work hard not to be humiliated is not a good sign. And this sort of data is not helpful during a week when people are beginning to talk seriously about the Bush campaign getting toasty.
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USA Today has a front-page story on the Gulen movement and its sponsorship of free trips to Turkey for members of Congress and their staff. The Gulenists run about 140 charter schools in the U.S.
“WASHINGTON — A Turkish religious movement has secretly funded as many as 200 trips to Turkey for members of Congress and staff since 2008, apparently repeatedly violating House rules and possibly federal law, a USA TODAY investigation has found.
“The group — a worldwide moderate Islamic movement led by a religious scholar named Fethullah Gülen — has been accused by the Turkish government of attempting a coup in that country. Turkish leaders have asked the United States to extradite Gülen from the remote compound in rural Pennsylvania where he has lived for 20 years.
“The movement has founded hundreds of charter schools across the United States and around the world, has its own media organizations, and was deeply entrenched with the Turkish regime until a falling out two years ago. That led President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare Gülen was running “a parallel state” inside the country with the intent of undermining the government. In advance of Turkish elections this weekend, police raided the offices of Gülen affiliated-media organizations.”
Now journalists should check out the number of free trips for state legislators in a position to approve Gulen charter schools. Check out the state legislators in Illinois and Texas for starters.
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Charlie Cook takes a look in his National Journal column at a focus group of Indiana Republicans convened by Peter Hart and Corrie Hunt and finds this gem about the willingness of GOPers to support Donald Trump and Ben Carson:
In what I thought was their most perceptive conclusion about Republican voters’ state of mind, Hart and Hunt observed: “Behind all of this is a sense that these people have done a better job of figuring out what they are against rather than what they are for. Part of the challenge that emerges for Republicans is that there appears to be nothing positive around which they can unite. Much of this discussion was spent railing against what is wrong rather than searching for a uniting vision of what they want in their nominee. A uniting leader may yet emerge, but for now the consensus is around a quiet man versus a loudÂmouth.”
Anyone who watched Wednesday night’s CNBC debate and watched all ten candidates endlessly and exhaustively and redundantly attacking government and everything government does certainly understands what Hart and Hunt are talking about. If there was any “uniting vision” it was of people who want to run government so they can disable it. So in that vacuum style points matter.
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Conflict of interest? How could it not be?
Billionaire Eli Broad is underwriting education coverage at the Los Angeles Times.
Eli Broad wants 50% of the students in the Los Angeles Unified School District to be enrolled charter schools. He intends to pool $490 million to create 260 new charters.
The LA Times wrote an editorial endorsing Broad’s plan to privatize a huge part of public education.
One man wants his way. Eli Broad does not believe in democracy.
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In a pretty classic case of letting itself be panicked into a precipitous action by the excitement of the moment, the RNC has announced it has canceled the February 26 debate that was going to be cosponsored by NBC in order to punish the parent network for the behavior of the CNBC moderators of Wednesday night’s event.
This leaves NBC partner the conservative magazine National Review adrift, along with NBC’s Spanish-language affiliate Telemundo, which Republicans could really, really use (Greg Sargent immediately tweeted a suggestion that Democrats should offer Telemundo a deal rapidamente).
The RNC may ultimately regret setting the precedent of letting the inmates–er, the candidates–run the asylum–er, the debate system. Truth is, the questioning Wednesday night wasn’t that much more aggressive than in the first two debates, though presumably the concentration of fire on one candidate (Donald Trump) in the Fox News debate may have limited complaints about that one.
But I guess after the entire field and the debate audience went into a paroxysm of media-bashing Wednesday night the RNC had to produce a media scalp. It’s ironic that the network that employs Larry Kudlow and Rick Santelli is now perpetually labeled as the agent of godless progressivism, but I’m sure they’ll find a way to make up with the GOP.
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