Is Segregation a San Francisco Value?

Bill O’Reilly and other conservative talkers often portray my beloved San Francisco as a liberal Sodom and Gomorrah, an icon of corrupt mores summarized snidely as San Francisco Values. At first blush, a recent story in SF Weekly appears to fit O’Reilly’s liberal stereotype: “Schoolhouse Rocked: S.F.’s Most Controversial Charter School Throws Off For-Profit Masters”.  […]

Enhanced Austerity Techniques

Last year, socialism lost to austerity in the polls - that is, in Merriam-Webster’s Top Ten Words of the Year. “Austerity clearly resonates with many people,” Merriam-Webster’s Editor at Large Peter Sokolowski observed, noting that it was the most-searched word of 2010 on their web site. This was no spontaneous grassroots effort for the public […]

The Cutthroat Curriculum

“When you are basing the effectiveness of teachers on lots of softer things, whether the kids feel good, whether the classroom is happy, whether we’re creative (don’t get me wrong, those things are important), but if the kids can’t read…that’s not acceptable,” former Washington D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee asserted indignantly in a recent interview […]

How You Can Fight For Academic Freedom

In 1983, professor William Cronon made his career with Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England, a seminal study of how European settlers transformed the ecosystem of early America.   Nearly thirty years later, the now distinguished Cronon, President of American Historical Association, finds his career in the middle of another […]

Diane Ravitch Uncensored

Since the economic crash of 2008, one driven by rampant, unregulated greed and speculation frighteningly illustrated by the Academy Award winning documentary Inside Job, Wall Street has deftly side-stepped vilification, the superrich walking away with fortunes – and reputations – in tact.   And even more deftly, these same billionaires have successfully framed public servants – […]

To Fix Education: Fire Human Teachers, Hire Holograms

“50 years later, our generation’s Sputnik moment is back,” President Obama declared at a recent speech at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; this time, however, we aren’t just losing to the formidable U.S.S.R., but now are being beaten senseless by wimpy little nations like Finland, for cripes sake. Friggin’ Finland. Thankfully, in Shanghai […]

Waiting for Superrich-Man

A willing public fights in defense of billionaires who are helping themselves to their - to our - hard-earned money. How has this happened? How has the public turned on itself, avidly supporting policies that tilt the “free market” against them?

Let's Bury Hitler

In 1946, a year after the end of World War II, George Orwell had already buried Hitler, at least linguistically, in his famous essay “Politics and the English Language“: “Fascism has no meaning now except so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable.’” Orwell’s point is not just that the word fascism was out of vogue, […]

TSA and The Junk Man: The Thanksgiving Trojan Horse

This Sunday morning, sitting reading the news at my corner coffee shop, I found myself sitting amidst the News Feeding Frenzy that is the Transportation Security Administration “controversy”:  as I struggled to find an article not focused on TSA screening procedures, two young women next to me worry aloud about being “felt up” at the […]

Bread and Circuses and Baseball: Corporate Media Throws Democracy a Curveball

What an emotional week for San Francisco. On Wednesday morning, the San Francisco Democratic elite – mayor Gavin Newsom, former mayor Willie Brown and Senator Diane Feinstein –  proudly handed the World Series’ winning Giants the key to the city at the end of their Victory Parade, attended by hundreds of thousands of fans, making it […]