Saturday, October 4, 2008


UPDATE: In case the below post is not clear, what this means is that there will be no new posts at this blog. Everything will be posted at from now on.

Starting today, I will be blogging using Wordpress instead of Blogger. The new-ish Rhetorical Wasteland can be found here.

It's the same blog, and all the posts and comments appear to have imported successfully. (Images, not so much. If I have time, I'll transfer some of the more recent, but this might just be a consequence.)

Please update your RSS feeds accordingly; I think this will work:

Eric Stoller is ultimately responsible for this move, like it or not, and will therefore get all the blame if anything goes wrong.

[LCSD] Everyone should read this

A comment left over at LT's blog:

After Monday's board meeting you won't have any allies left at the district or the hish [sic] school and your reign of error will be over LT.

That's a little disconcerting. We're talking veiled threat/vengeance/black helicopter territory here.

Placed in context, it also suggests that there is something major planned for Monday, like the removal of the Superintendent.... and the LHS Principal?

Friday, October 3, 2008

[LCSD] Liveblogging the next board meeting

I will, of course, be liveblogging the next LCSD board meeting if at all possible. There's a good chance I'll be working that evening, so that may not happen.

If there were Internet access in the Elections Office in the Linn County Courthouse, I'd liveblog the vote count too, but there's not. I asked. I'll post a link to the webpage where they will report the results when I find the link.

Electoral Map

Based on polling, if the election was held today, this is what would happen.

The big question, as always, is turnout.

GT revampification & miscellaneous newspaper thoughts

According to GT Publisher Mike McInally, the GT is undergoing several changes:

First, on Friday, you will notice some major changes to the Entertainer: The weekly publication now will include a somewhat abbreviated version of the TV listings that used to appear in Sunday’s TV book.

Here’s how the combined Entertainer and TV book will work: One of the covers will be the Entertainer cover for that week. Then, if you flip the publication over, you’ll see the cover of the TV book. It sounds a little odd, but I’m betting it will seem natural when you see the combined product on Friday.

We will stop publishing the TV book that used to be part of Sunday’s paper.

This is a move that allows us to save some money; like businesses everywhere, we’re doing everything we can to keep a close eye on costs.

Translation: They either didn't make enough money last fiscal year, or worse, they didn't make any money; in either case, Lee Enterprises told them to cut costs somewhere.

(As an aside, whether or not they needed to cut costs really does depends on how much money they didn't make. Newspaper companies, including Lee, have been notorious in the past for seeking relatively high profit margins, so I'm leaving open the possibility that this cost-cutting is actually to increase existing profit, not to get back to making a profit. Anyone have the answer?)

Speaking of cost-cutting, here are a few mores changes listed in the piece (I have reordered and numbered them):

1. The job of compiling [the Entertainer's] calendar listings falls to Brandon Goldner, a journalism student at Linn-Benton Community College who also moonlights as the G-T’s afternoon receptionist. He’ll be busy.

2. We’re rolling the Home & Garden section into the Lifestyles section, a move that should allow us to retain the content of each but package them together.

3. A redesign of the G-T to go along with a move to slightly narrower newsprint.

Given the state of the newspaper industry, and given that we're talking about Lee Enterprises here, it seems clear that there was a mandate to significantly cut costs. My question is this: How much control were GT staff given over deciding where to cut costs and what changes to make?

For that matter, is the GT ever going to replace any of the staff that's leaving? AFAIK, Jake TenPas didn't do much besides edit the Entertainer, and Nancy Raskauskas already works at the GT. Is this change workload-neutral for her, or is this another case of more work, less people?

... don't get me wrong. Most of the time, I like the GT, and I like the people I know who work or have worked there. And I am pleased to see that, at least according to this editorial, there are no staff cuts taking place as part of these changes (aside from the aforementioned practice of simply not replacing people who leave). But, like many other people, I don't see how shrinking the newspaper (literally and figuratively) is going to help increase subscriptions.

Of course, maybe I've been making a mistake in assuming there is a way out. Maybe what's happening really is a downsizing of newspapers due to the ability of readers to get their news other places, like the Internet. Maybe it really is inevitable, and it's just going to be painful, and no amount of focusing on local coverage (my preferred solution) is going to help, at least not in the short term.

Oh yeah: Are similar changes coming down the pike for the DH and LE? Inquiring minds want to know.

[Nerdy Goodness] Pandora


Corvallis City Council Ward 6

From the GT:

Ward 6 Candidates Joel Hirsch and John Detweiler and Ward 1 incumbent Bill York and challenger Mark O’Brien took questions from the G-T’s editorial board and the audience.

When asked about which city services might be at risk if the council was asked to make cuts in lean budget times, Detweiler suggested Parks and Recreation as a potential place to start.

“I don’t know why the city is in the recreation business,” he said. “I’ve never needed it. I don’t know why I’d want it.” [emphasis added]

Hirsch couldn’t have disagreed more.

“Parks and Recreation is not only a valuable service, with as much as it costs to register a (softball) team, it’s also a good business for the city,” he said.

Good grief. Logically, the problem here is that Detweiler's not on the City Council to represent his own personal wants and needs; he's on it to represent those of his constituents, and I bet more than a few of them like having Parks and Rec. Plus, you know, it's Corvallis. I can't imagine this town without a vibrant Parks and Rec program.

Then there's the sheer silliness of this comment:

When asked about the current council’s tendency to enact resolutions pertaining to national issues, such as the recent council support for a U.S. Department of Peace, the Ward 6 difference was black and white.

Detweiler said such resolutions were “a waste of time.”

“It’s a feel-good thing and there’s a lot more to governing the city than making people feel good,” he said.

Hirsch disagreed.

“I think part of governing the city is helping people to feel good,” he said.

I agree with Hirsch, and this also makes me miss Stewart Wershow, just a little. Click here to see a ward map, and if you live in that area, please vote for someone besides Detweiler.

I'm lucky - I live in Ward 5, which is represented by the awesome Mike Beilstein, who happened to be walking the neighborhood a day or two after I move with voter registration cards. Convenient, that.

[Hering] It's just.... good

The only quibble I have with this editorial of Hering's is that he fails to mention the obvious reason Sizemore got this measure on the ballot: It would deprive the state of money. Specifically, of $4-8 million per year, according to the state Elections Division. But the writing is decent, and Hering actually uses logic and evidence, for once. It's like a real editorial!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Slow-mo party fracture

Steve Benen on some of the politics of the bailout earlier this week:

Let me get this straight. The Republican president supported the bill. The Republican Senate leadership supported the bill. The Republican House leadership supported the bill. The Republican presidential nominee supported the bill. And the Republican National Committee runs an ad insisting that Obama's bailout package "will make the problem worse."

I'm so numb to this stuff I have no outrage left. I'm just confused. be fair, the Republican rank and file dissented just enough for the first attempt to pass the bill in the house failed. But I think that only sort of proves my point about the party fracturing.

....the left hand is campaigning for the bill and the right is campaigning against it, and there's no cognitive dissonance whatsoever. Funny.

Whose Free Market?

Prompted by this post and the related article, I am kind of curious about something:

When people refer to the free market, whose free market is it? Is it free for companies and corporations, or free for consumers?

Clearly, the two have different interests, so it can't magically be free for both: Corporations want the most profit possible, and consumers (among other things) want to spend the least amount of money possible for goods and services. Those two priorities are in direct contradiction to each other. (Cue tortured wingnut logic that tries to explain how that isn't really so.)

So when crafting government regulation, where should the priority lie? As exemplified in the article linked to in the post, the so-called 'Google' position is that the most freedom should come at the consumer end, whereas the 'AT&T' position is more interested in seeing freedom for corporations to do what they want vis-a-vis telecommunications. The former position requires government regulation of telecommunications to achieve end-user equality, whereas the latter suggests that no regulation is best, even though that leaves companies free to create end-user inequities.

Another way of looking at what market is currently more free, from the article:

The country is now served almost entirely by three local phone, four cellular, and four cable companies.

Compare that to the number of software companies out there. Yes, there are behemoths and monoliths on the software side - Microsoft and Google probably being two of the most notable - but the barrier to entry for software is so small compared to telecommunications it's insane. The key about this is that it's not an accident. The software underlying the Internet is neutral and publicly accessible, and is only so because the US government regulated that in the early 1990s when it was developing the Internet in the first place.

End result: The structure of the Internet is regulated. This has resulted in awesome software innovation and innovation in how we use the internet. The telecommunications market is not as regulated, and has devolved into a few crappy, giant companies who now want to end the existing regulation regarding how consumers/end users use the internet, which will inevitably stifle innovation.(Imagine if you had to pay to use Facebook, not because Facebook wanted you to, but because Comcast would charge you for visiting That is precisely what the net neutrality debate is over.)

The other point about this I wanted to make is that Obama at least knows what he's talking about when it comes to tech policy. McCain's campaign has a bunch of people who have lobbied for Verizon or AT&T. I have a sneaking suspicion which will lead to a better policy, and ultimately end user, outcome.

My other rather strongly held opinion on this, of course, is that the Internet should be treated not as a market commodity, but as a public good. Changing that underlying assumption - which I think Obama's policy goals get at - would make a world of difference.

[Hering] You would think....

... that Hering was just a random dude, not the editor of a newspaper:

It’s as though the headlines are removed from daily life. Yet they begin to have a debilitating effect. They worry people, and worry changes behavior, which in turn might well have the effect of slowing down business and jobs.

I mean, it's a valid point. But he's in a better position than 99% of the population to do something about it, so just firing off an editorial seems like the least he could do to work against this trend.

Also, would it kill him to lose the omniscient voice for this kind of editorial? Removing himself from the picture when he's talking about journalism is just strange.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

[Hering] It's not what you think - OK, maybe it is

I submitted a letter to the DH a few weeks ago. To the best of my knowledge, it's never been printed and I was never contacted by the newspaper about it. It was in response to this Hering commentary. Here is the letter as submitted:

While I would like to say that Democrat-Herald Editor Hasso Hering has trouble telling the truth because the truth is complicated, in this case, it's not, and plenty of other media outlets got it right.

In Hering's Saturday, September 13th commentary ("There's always more to stories"), he claims to debunk the now-infamous 'Bridge to Nowhere' story by noting that once Alaska Governor Sarah Palin saw how much attention was being given to that particular earmark, she dropped her support of it.

That's all that you'll hear from the editor. However, that's not the whole story. The very relevant fact that Hering fails to mention is that Palin only dropped her support after it was clear that Congress was not going to approve that particular earmark. In other words, she claimed to have been supporting the winning team the whole game when, for the first three quarters, she was rooting for what turned out to be the loser - and it was all on record.

For a record of how many times Palin and the McCain campaign have repeated this lie and the media outlets that have debunked it see

Hering complains about lying in politics, but then fails to tell the truth. How strange.

Dennis Dugan


I wonder why the DH declined to publish it?

More Palin

dday on Palin:

2) Given that the gobbledy-gook answers that randomly generate at are actually starting to be less surreal than what comes out of her mouth, have we reached a subject that is invulnerable to parody?

3) Do we really know whether or not Sarah Palin is Sacha Baron Cohen's greatest role?

A yes to the first, and I wish the second could be answered in the affirmative as well. Alas, I think a yes to the first precludes that.

[LCSD] Parents and professional educators

Spurred by the statements made by parents in the last several weeks, this post of LT's and the comments, I had small realization just now:

Parents, welcome to the world of professional educators.

Let me expand on this a bit: Where I appear to differ from some of the folks involved in this debate, I think, is that I am willing to assume (and in some cases know) that many of the teachers, administrators and other educational professionals are doing everything they can to educate students in the Lebanon Community School District. Yes, there will be exceptions, but they are exceptions and not the rule for a reason.

Teaching doesn't pay that well. No, seriously: For a minimum of five years of college and two degrees (Bachelors and M.A.T. in Oregon), there are much better-paying jobs that have shorter hours and less stress. In other words, teachers are not in it for the money. Ergo, there is some other reason people go into teaching (bearing in mind that most upper-level administrators start either in teaching or at least in education as well). I would suggest that it's because almost to a person, professional educators are in it because they genuinely want to see students succeed. Hell, even as a sub I got a thrill when I saw students master something, or figure something out that had previously eluded them. It seems to me that those moments are one of the thing teachers live for. (And yes, the fact that I got excited when students learned probably means I wouldn't totally suck as a teacher. Probably.)

What that means, to me, is that professional educators are doing the best they can under the circumstances. (See, of course, Tim Helland and Mark Martens for two good examples. I can think of others, but I'll save the name-dropping for some other time.)

And what circumstances are those? Well, this is where my realization intersects with LT"s recent posts on the math situation, Mark Martens' experience with progress reports, and a long-standing belief of mine about modern American culture: Basically, students at the HS level are exposed to a myriad of influences, among them parents, other family, friends, teachers, (perhaps) church and the media (broadly construed to include at least television and the Internet). Not all of those influences weigh equally as teens age; I'd suggest that peers and the media become more important, with parents and church often becoming less important. Combine that with the fact that one's peers and the media are not the influences talking about the importance of education, and it becomes easier to see what kind of environment teachers are working in. And this doesn't even account for what happens when one's parents are not wholly supportive of their child's education. I'm lucky in this regard - the support (and expectations, natch) of my parents never wavered. I know others are not so lucky.

In other words, the environment in which teens in particular are existing and learning is very different than it used to be. And this difference is, in some ways, not good for education. But it's the reality that professional educators are living with.

(And as a side note, just to get it out of the way: A blanket call to go back in time is delusional. It's not happening. A more nuanced call to revitalize certain elements I might listen to, but the mythical 1950s are never coming back. Period.)

The thing is, many, many professional educators see that changed reality (and whatever else you think about Robinson, it's clear to me that he sees the changes and is trying to do something about them). They see the changes. They've read the research. They've learned new methods of teaching to try and work in this new environment (what do you think the TOSAs are doing?). But it's clearly not working in some areas - like math, and not just at LHS, but statewide.

The point, though, is that they're trying. They've always been trying. They'll continue to try, because that's part of why they went into teaching. And, as in every other profession, they'll continue to occasionally fail, because it's hard damn work, and they're working in an insanely difficulty environment, and no one's perfect. And on top of that, there are real and legitimate disagreements regarding the best way to educate students in the 21st century. There is no consensus about the best course forward.

(As another aside, I've been saying for some time that one of the downsides of how things have played out and are continuing to play out in Lebanon is that the real issue - how to change education to deal with a globalized, 21st-century, Internet-laden world - is not being addressed. I think this might slowly be changing, and that it mirrors the last several years of national politics, strangely.)

So, if it seems like things are FUBARED on the HS math front in Lebanon right now, in some ways, yeah, they are. But don't assume it's for lack of effort on the part of teachers or administrators - and, more importantly, don't think it will be simple to find solutions. At the least, we know this is a statewide problem, and we can assume that people all over the state have been working on it for years, not just the LCSD. And as the saying goes (even if I am just making it up): There is always someone smarter than you working on this problem, and if it hasn't been solved yet, what makes you think it will be so easy?

Does that in any way mean parents shouldn't be involved? Of course not - if there's one thing that's clear, it's that parents should be more involved (though I will note that the nature of that involvement is left open to debate). But what it also means is that I think parents need to come to the table with the assumption that the professional educators in Lebanon are doing the best they can. Please note that this does include the possibility that 'the best they can' may not be good enough to produce results, or good enough for parents, or good enough for administrators, or all three (and, therefore, how that leaves the door open for professional accountability). Personally, I think an American culture that doesn't value education is a HUGE and negative influence on learning these days, and that simply going back in time is not a realistic solution. But in any case, it's not fair to teachers to fail to recognize the effort they put in, and in a lot of the comments I've seen made about the math situation, that lack of acknowledgment is exactly what I see. I know were I a teacher, it would not be going over well with me.

So, to wrap up a long post: Parents, if you are frustrated by the state of things, and by how it's proving difficult* to fix things, how do you think teachers feel? Do you think they blow it off? That they don't worry about this? Of course they do - and they'll do their entire careers. Acknowledging that they are trained professionals, and that this is an incredibly complex situation, while simultaneously knowing that parents have an important role to play, seems like a good idea from here. Lebanon's getting an ugly introduction to how hard the field of education can be to work in**, and so far, it seems like plenty of folks are not reacting that well.

*Neither this sentence, nor anything in the whole post, should be construed as suggesting that it's not OK to work with or replace teachers who are failing to do an adequate job, however defined. But it's also a lot more complex than 'their students are failing, therefore they are a bad teacher'.

**To be fair, I also want to point out that there are undoubtedly other things going on here - Finch's apparent unwillingness to communicate being one of them. So I'm not trying to suggest I've identified Everything That's Wrong With Lebanon. Rather, I wanted to try and get one aspect that I think has been under-discussed.

[LCSD] Question

Since I don't play by the Palin Rules, I think this is fair game. In an LE story out this week about math scores in the LCSD (short version: K-8 is great, HS is terrible, and Sand Ridge isn't doing so hot, coming in 4% below LHS in regards to the number of 10th-graders who are passing the state test), PIE Business Manager Mary Northern said this:

“Sand Ridge is another choice for parents,” Northern said. “We're not just about grades. If parents are happy, and if kids are happy, that's what is important.”

First, the apparently-obligatory caveat: This is not intended as an attack on Mary Northern, the person. This is a critique of a statement she made in public. Like it or not, she is publicly representing PIE here.

That said, the question I had immediately upon reading the above: Do the parents of Sand Ridge students agree with the statements made by Northern here? As well, do the supporters of PIE and Sand Ridge who do not have children at a PIE school agree?

Here's why I ask: This statement reads to me as a way of moving the conversation away from the fact that the Sand Ridge math scores at the 10th-grade level are even worse than those of LHS, and I would think that a lot of the Sand Ridge supporters who have been talking about the quality of education at Sand Ridge would be interested in knowing why these math scores are so low.

The rest of the quote interests me as well. I like the fact that Northern is talking about more than grades. This is good (if strange, since the story was about state assessment scores, which are not grades). However, I am little leery of what she uses as an example that's not grades: Happy parents and happy students. There are two reasons:

1) Happy parents does not automatically equal well-educated students. In an ideal world, yes, it would - but we're not there. So I'm left wondering what that statement means (besides being a dig at the LCSD, of course). Heck, I would argue that in some cases, unhappy parents are good, because unhappy parents - as the current math situation at LHS is demonstrating - are usually not complacent parents, and are therefore paying attention and getting involved.

2) Happy students. This is interesting to me because in the one day I subbed at Sand Ridge, I spent quite a bit of time listening to HS-age students complain about how unhappy they were with the administration. I'm not saying the situation hasn't changed, or that all students were unhappy, but that the reality I saw then is not what Northern is describing. I should also note that the complaints I heard from students were quite legitimate: There were unwritten rules, they could never talk to the Principal (I assume this has changed), and that they couldn't get transcripts, even as juniors and seniors, so they were having trouble applying to college. (This point is sort of moot, course, since PIE will have no HS students this year. But it may still be relevant insofar as younger students are concerned.)

The other reason that statement is interesting to me is that what makes students happy is often less work to do. Again, I am sure there are students for whom this is not the case. However....

Anyone who supports PIE and/or has a child at Sand Ridge want to weigh in? Are the low OAKS scores a concern of yours? Why or why not?

P.S. The less-than-charitable response I had to Northern's comment was something like "Are you f***ing kidding me? That makes it sound like you don't care about grades or achievement, but just about making people happy so they stay. Doesn't that run up against everything else Sand Ridge supporters say about the quality of education offered?"

[LCSD] I consider it ironic...

...that the same people who oppose the recall and criticize Robinson and Finch for refusing to share information won't even identify themselves as working against the recall in public.

It's their right, of course; however, I still think it's funny. Whether or not it seems hypocritical is left up to the reader.

Grumpy Embroidery is Awesome

I think the 'hack' one is my favorite, but I like them all.

Good example of a bad poll

From Media Matters:

Summary: A Time/SRBI poll asked likely voters with an "unfavorable opinion" of Sen. Barack Obama to respond to various "reasons that voters give us for having an unfavorable opinion of Barack Obama," which included: "He's really a Muslim and not a Christian"; "He's an elitist who doesn't understand the needs of ordinary people"; and, "He's not as patriotic as he should be."

These are leading, biased questions, and rather useless because of it. Anyone trained in this stuff will tell you that you won't get honest results when you plant the options in the heads of the people taking the survey.

As well, Media Matters notes that similar questions were not asked of McCain.

Somewhat humorously, this reminds me of the questionnaire being circulated in Lebanon about math.

It's like saying: "So-and-so is a giant loser. Agree or disagree?" rather than saying either "what is your opinion of so-and-so" or "rate the success of so-and-so on a scale of 1 to 10." The language has to be neutral - results will change depending on how the question is phrased.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bailout Vote Breakdown

The NYT has a nice graphic.

More Palin

Of concern to McCain's campaign, however, is a remaining and still-undisclosed clip from Palin's interview with Couric last week that has the political world buzzing.

The Palin aide, after first noting how "infuriating" it was for CBS to purportedly leak word about the gaffe, revealed that it came in response to a question about Supreme Court decisions.

After noting Roe vs. Wade, Palin was apparently unable to discuss any major court cases.

There was no verbal fumbling with this particular question as there was with some others, the aide said, but rather silence.

I'm not discounting the possibility that this is true. Shit, even *I* can discuss a court case or two, though certainly not well.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Preznit Economypants

Steve Benen:

* As of today, the Dow Jones is lower now than it was the day Bush took office in 2001.

I'm not a fan of using the DJIA as a measurement for success, personally, as it doesn't include quality of life, or, you know, the majority of Americans, but damn. By his own standard (remember the CEO President? How's that working out?), Bush is a miserable failure.

... the DJIA on:

January 3rd, 1992: 3,201.48
October 14th, 1996: 6,010.00
January 14th, 2000: 11,722.98

Today, September 29th, 2008: 10,365.45

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The guy that got the economy right

The New York Times profiles Nouriel Roubini:

On Sept. 7, 2006, Nouriel Roubini, an economics professor at New York University, stood before an audience of economists at the International Monetary Fund and announced that a crisis was brewing. In the coming months and years, he warned, the United States was likely to face a once-in-a-lifetime housing bust, an oil shock, sharply declining consumer confidence and, ultimately, a deep recession. He laid out a bleak sequence of events: homeowners defaulting on mortgages, trillions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities unraveling worldwide and the global financial system shuddering to a halt. These developments, he went on, could cripple or destroy hedge funds, investment banks and other major financial institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The audience seemed skeptical, even dismissive. As Roubini stepped down from the lectern after his talk, the moderator of the event quipped, “I think perhaps we will need a stiff drink after that.” People laughed — and not without reason. At the time, unemployment and inflation remained low, and the economy, while weak, was still growing, despite rising oil prices and a softening housing market. And then there was the espouser of doom himself: Roubini was known to be a perpetual pessimist, what economists call a “permabear.” When the economist Anirvan Banerji delivered his response to Roubini’s talk, he noted that Roubini’s predictions did not make use of mathematical models and dismissed his hunches as those of a career naysayer.

Here's hoping that, unlike all of us who were right about Iraq, Roubini gets listened to in the future.

[LCSD] Mary Northern

I just ran across a comment from Mary Northern on last week's LE editorial. I am, frankly, floored. Speechless. I'm going to try and go through this comment, but know that my initial reaction was something on the order of 'holy shit'.

Caveat: While it is technically possible this is not actually Mary Northern, I see no reason to think it's anyone but her. Someone correct me if you know better.

The first two sentences:

" I am only guessing that AK wrote this piece and I have to ask you PLEASE!!! if you are going to try to presume to know something about what you are writing about you should research the facts!!!!

Yes, she used that many exclamation points. Nothing technically wrong with that, but it's generally the province of the ironic or the immature.

So what facts is Northern presuming the Express doesn't know? Let's see:

"at the expense of the other eight public schools" Do you have any idea how much money Lebanon is able to keep extra because of the Charter School??? Not to say anything about the jobs were created. They will be able to keep about $400,000 this year alone not to say anything about the other years we have been in this district. The district keeps about $7,200 for every Sp. Ed. student that we educate, we have about 15 now I think. The district keeps $1,200+ for all the other students. The district was even making about $.10 a carten on our kids milk. So now we buy direct.

Whoa. I'm going to assume the numbers Northern quotes are correct. I have no reason not to. There are, however, other facts that seem relevant here. For example:

1) If PIE did not exist, most (but not all) of the students at Sand Ridge would be attending LCSD schools - and the LCSD would keep all of the money.

2) There is a cost associated with sponsoring a charter school. It takes time and energy on the part of LCSD employees, for one - and given PIE's inability to file the necessary paperwork with the state regarding the registration of teachers and administrators, it seems to have taken a substantial amount of time on the part of LCSD employees. This time has a monetary cost.

The state is not stupid, or at least not completely stupid; when the charter school law was passed, I'm sure this realization was part of the reason sponsoring districts are allowed to keep up to (I think) 15% of the per-student dollar allocation from the state, depending on the age of the student. I'm not sure anyone has done the math, taking into account exactly how many hours each LCSD employee has spent working on charter school business, but it's clear that the money the LCSD keeps of the per-student allocation is not pure profit, but used to cover the cost the district incurs.

3) I don't know what the deal was with the milk cartons. Not sure why it was included in the comment. To me, it makes Northern sound even more irrational and angry. I should note, too, that this has nothing to do with whether it is true or not. Assuming it was true, then PIE did the right thing - but then once it's done, you drop it and move on. No reason to get apoplectic over milk, right?

4) The job-creation bit is arguably the same as the per-student allocation bit: Most of those jobs would be in the LCSD if PIE didn't exist. Those students don't just disappear.

5) The overall assumption that Northern seems to be making is that PIE and the Sand Ridge students came from nowhere, and therefore, any money the LCSD keeps is both unfair to PIE and pure profit for the LCSD. Needless to say, this is wrong. There is a fixed pool of students in the LCSD, so (again, most of) the students at Sand Ridge would otherwise be in the other eight LCSD schools. I have to wonder if Northern gets this and is just being cynical in her comment, or really doesn't get it. I only bring up the latter possibility because she sounds so unhinged and angry in her comment.

Anymore, there's more to the comment:

I know there is a math problem going around but come on!!!

Based on the test scores I've seen, Sand Ridge might have the biggest math problem of all. Also, how is this relevant? And why are there so many exclamation points?

AK you have been very one sided since I've been in Lebanon, you need to just report the news correctly, unbiased.

I'm not sure exactly what Northern is referring to here, as the comment was left on an editorial, which means that the writer is allowed to put their opinion in. If Northern is upset that the Express is not framing the issue as "the LCSD is stealing from PIE," maybe that's because it's not true.

I tend to hear often from anti-Robinson folks that the Express does not report the news correctly, but I rarely hear a specific example of an instance where the Express failed to report something newsworthy. Remember, just because it makes Robinson look bad doesn't mean it's newsworthy, and neither is the newspaper obligated to adopt the framing of the issue that a particular reader wants.

(As an aside, I've also noticed that many of the people who are upset with the Express have no idea how a newspaper works, and the things they get upset about are a newspaper being a newspaper. More on that at a later date.)

The remainder of the Northern comment:

Everyone knows you have had a problem with Rick, get over it!! Rick has nothing to gain here, Rick is for the kids, Rick is for the teachers and staff that have to put up with bad politics. Recalling Rick and Josh would be a big mistake they are some of the very few that are fighting for what is right!!! You tell me what they have to gain?

1) What does 'get over it' even mean in this context? Northern fails to address even a single reason the Express has given in its editorials regarding why the Express is supporting the recall. Maybe that would be more helpful than 'get over it'.

2) Northern's characterization of Alexander is pretty much in line with what I've heard from other Alexander supporters. I've heard it enough to believe it's a genuinely held belief on the part of many. That said, I want to offer two caveats: First, that this characterization is not held by everyone. Lots of others folks I talk to don't think Alexander is for teachers, staff or students (and there are varying opinions as to what he's really for or about). The second caveat is that to an extent, Alexander's intent doesn't matter. It's his effect on the district that matters, and on that count, I - and many others - would argue that he's been a terrible board member. I have been surprised by the number of people I talk to that personally know Alexander and swear up one side and down the other he's really trying to do what he thinks is the right thing. That's better than the alternative, but it's not good enough. If good intentions were all it took, we wouldn't be in this mess, would we?


Northern's comment scares me a little. Either she's totally cynical about how things work, and understands the points I made about where the money comes from and where it's spent vis-a-vis the LCSD and PIE and is just trying to put one over on people (or work the refs), or she - disturbingly - doesn't even understand how the relevant state laws work and why they exist.

Either prospect is not good. I have never met Mary Northern, and am not going to pass judgment on her character (or her intentions, natch). However, I can say that I think this comment is a very, very bad presentation of her and by extension, PIE.

I've seen several comments in other places that suggest that Northern really does view things as us-vs-them, LCSD-vs-PIE. This is not helpful, if true.

Parking at OSU

I have a question: What authorizes OSU to kick everyone out of staff and student permitted parking lots on game days and then charge for those spaces?

I've looked at the OSU Parking Services website as well as the OARs that govern OSU parking (yes, they exist, and there's a fair amount of them), and in neither place do I find anything about the university's right or ability to kick people out of parking spots they have paid for.

This is, in some ways, a moot point, as I'm not a student. But I work across the street from a staff parking lot that was filled with tailgaters at 5 PM Thursday.

That, and last year I was told OSU required all staff and students to move their cars from permitted lots by 3 PM so OSU could charge tailgaters for use of those same spaces.

The longer I am around OSU, the more Parking Services seems to be completely independent from any oversight, which is actually kind of surprising for OSU.

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