Private Schools With Public Money & Daylight Saving’s Downfall
November 7, 2022
Separating Church Funds From The State
What’s more American than giving public taxpayer dollars to massive private companies? Giving it to small private schools. In Texas, Republicans funded by right-wing Christian megadonors are pushing for a little-known issue in the rest of the country (for now): sending children to private schools using taxpayer money.
As Republicans continue to drum up outrage in their base over public school policies, they’re using this anger to push a new idea known as “school choice” or “vouchers” – in the words of Texas governor Greg Abbot, the vouchers program is about “giving [parents] the choice to send their children to any public school, charter school or private school with state funding following the student.” Abbott says that Texas “can fully fund public schools while also giving parents a choice about which school is right for their child,” but critics are skeptical.
The people funding the vouchers movement are a select few very wealthy (and very Christian) individuals, including Tim Dunn and the family of Farris Wilks, who made their money through oil and fracking. According to Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at the University of Houston, the Defend Texas PAC (which was 90% funded by the two) has spent over $10 million for their cause just as Republican voters are riled up over public schools’ handling of racism, history, and LGBTQ identities. “These groups have been demonizing what is being taught in public schools, and that’s the fastest way to erode faith that public schools work,” he says. “Whether it’s true or not is irrelevant. If people believe that it’s true, then it’s politically potent.”
As Abbott faces off against Beto O’Rourke in the upcoming midterm election for governor, his Christian backers seem to be salivating over the idea of expanding enrollment in private Christian schools using public funds. Abbott has already declared that he would push for the implementation of a voucher system after his challenger in the Republican primary (who received $3.6 million from Defend Texas) pushed the issue. (NBC)
Some Good News
- Rail labor union approves tentative contract (Politico)
- Powerball jackpot grows to $1.9 billion after no winning tickets sold (CBS)
Only The Best, Brightest, And Those Devoid Of A Moral Compass
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law an amendment to the partial mobilization order that the country enacted earlier this fall. The new amendment allows criminals who were conditionally convicted or released from penal colonies to be conscripted for the war in Ukraine.
- This means that murderers, robbers, thieves, and drug traffickers who have been released from prison are now able to serve with Russia’s armed forces. The only criminals still blocked from being conscripted are those convicted of treason, acts of terrorism, spying, or committing sex crimes against minors.
- Russia’s Wagner Group, a mercenary company, has reportedly already conscripted Russian prisoners for the war in Ukraine. Russian soldiers have been accused of various crimes by the U.N. and Ukraine. Maybe this move will make the Russian army a bit more menacing, at least in a … different way. (CNN)
New Prime Minister In, Thousands Of Nurses Out
- From a season of historic occurrences in the United Kingdom, we have yet another wild headline. This time it’s not inflation-fueled financial collapses or the sudden death of an infant government, but a nationwide movement. That movement? A strike of some of the most important workers in the country – nurses.
- According to officials of Britain’s largest nursing union, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), members across “large swathes of the country” have voted in favor of a strike. One union source predicts that “This will see the majority of services taken out, and picket lines across the country.” The news comes as patients face record waitlists – according to data released in October, over 7 million patients in England were waiting for hospital treatment in August alone.
- RCN officials state that, since Conservatives gained power over a decade ago, their salaries have fallen 20% in real value. In response, they’re asking for a raise of 5% plus inflation, totaling up to a 15% overall hike. The latest NHS raise for nurses promised a bump from £35,600 to around £37,000, just 4% total. According to a recent analysis by the Nuffield Trust, roughly one in nine NHS nurses quit their jobs between June 2021 and June 2022, a total of 40,365 individuals. (Guardian)
Additional World News
- Abrupt New Border Expulsions Split Venezuelan Families (NYT, $)
- Passenger plane crashes into Lake Victoria in Tanzania, 19 dead, prime minister says (Reuters)
- Standoff as Italy stops male migrants from disembarking rescue ship (BBC)
- Iranians defy crackdown with fresh protests, as president dismisses US vow to ‘free Iran’ (Guardian)
- Kostroma: Deadly fire in Russian bar started by ‘flare gun’ (BBC)
- UK to declare bank holiday May 8 to honor King Charles III (ABC)
- As climate change worsens, Egypt is begging families to have fewer kids (WaPo, $)
“Medicine is not only a science; it is also an art. It does not consist of compounding pills and plasters; it deals with the very processes of life, which must be understood before they may be guided.” – Paracelsus
The Worst Kind Of Deja Vu
- It looks like former President Trump might become presidential candidate Trump after all – but not until after the midterms. As envoys have quietly started to prepare the groundwork for an aggressive field operation, Donald Trump is expected to announce a third White House campaign before the end of November.
- In recent weeks, Trump’s “hints” (though we all saw this coming a mile away) at his candidacy have gotten increasingly obvious. His advisers are discussing a potential run as his influence over current midterm candidates and his general popularity have painted a clearer picture of him as the frontrunner.
- Sources indicate Trump plans to capitalize on the expected Republican wave in the upcoming elections by taking credit for those he endorsed – and those he did not. Many suspect Trump hopes to hop back into the political arena to shield himself from increasing pressure from criminal inquiries. (Guardian)
Save It For Fox News, Buddy
- NBC News reporter Miguel Almaguer appeared on the “Today” show late last week with “information” about the October 28 attack on Nancy Pelosi’s home and her husband. Much of Almaguer’s account was inaccurate, based on flawed information provided by a source who was unnamed in the report.
- Despite the inaccuracies, right-wing media sources latched onto his report, including when Almaguer said that Pelosi, after opening the door to police officers, walked “several feet” back toward his assailant and away from police. “Why Pelosi didn’t try to flee or tell responding officers he was in distress is unclear,” Almaguer said in his original report, suggesting that Pelosi wasn’t in immediate danger when police arrived.
- NBC News said, “The decision was made to remove the segment after it was determined, shortly after it aired, that the main source for the information was unreliable regarding the circumstances that the police encountered when they arrived at the house.” In fact, San Francisco police have said that Pelosi was struggling with the intruder when they first saw him. (WaPo, $)
Additional USA News
- 9 people are hospitalized after a shooting outside a bar in Philadelphia, police say (CNN)
- At Least 38 Injured in High-Rise Fire in Manhattan (NYT, $)
- These are the states enacting legislation to help make daylight saving time permanent (NPR)
- Tornadoes hit Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas: At least 2 dead, multiple people missing (CNN)
- The Jan. 6 panel gives Trump another week to turn over subpoenaed documents (NPR)
- Biden drawn into spat as Manchin slams his comments on future of coal (WaPo, $)
- Puberty Blockers, Hormones, And Gender Affirmation Surgery Are No Longer Available To Florida Minors Seeking Treatment (BuzzFeed)
Saving Daylight But Not Your Life
- Early Sunday morning, people across the U.S. turned their clocks back an hour as the country settled in for another cold season of early sunsets and dark nights. At the same time, the Sunshine Protection Act, a piece of legislation already passed by the Senate that would forever set American clocks to Daylight Saving Time, is running out of light. There’s roughly a month left before the current Congress disbands, and the House needs to pass the bill before that date.
- However, sleep scientists are speaking out against the bill. “I’m one of the many sleep experts that knows it’s a bad idea,” says Dr. Elizabeth Klerman, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. “Your body clock stays with (natural) light not with the clock on your wall, and there’s no evidence that your body fully shifts to the new time.” The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has even called for a ban on Daylight Saving Time, stating, “Current evidence best supports the adoption of year-round standard time, which aligns best with human circadian biology and provides distinct benefits for public health and safety.”
- In January 1974, President Richard Nixon passed a permanent Daylight Saving Time bill, but after eight children died in car accidents on the way to school during the now-dark mornings, the bill lost popular support and was repealed later that year. When Daylight Saving was initially introduced in 1918, the country similarly hated the new status quo, which was soon rolled back. “The United States has tried permanent daylight saving time twice before and ended it early. The UK tried once before and ended it early. Russia tried it once, so did India and ended it early,” says Klerman. “I think we should learn from history.” (CNN)
- The rate of alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. rose 30% in the first year of COVID (NPR)
- Twitter founder Jack Dorsey apologizes after Elon Musk lays off staff (CNN)
- Nike splits with Kyrie Irving amid antisemitism fallout (AP)
- Travel news: 3 European neighbors and their record-breaking train and tunnel projects (CNN)
- YouTube May Have Misinformation Blind Spots, Researchers Say (NYT, $)
- Populists vs. the planet: How climate became the new culture war front line (Politico)
- Pop singer Aaron Carter dies at age 34 (WaPo, $)