Saturday Open Thread

Good Morning.

I hope you are enjoying the weekend with family and friends.

Carousel is the second stage musical by the team of Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (book and lyrics). The work premiered in 1945 and was adapted from Ferenc Molnár’s 1909 play Liliom, transplanting its Budapest setting to the Maine coastline. The story revolves around carousel barker Billy Bigelow, whose romance with millworker Julie Jordan comes at the price of both their jobs. He attempts a robbery to provide for Julie and their unborn child; when it goes wrong, he has a chance to make things right. A secondary plot line deals with millworker Carrie Pipperidge and her romance with ambitious fisherman Enoch Snow. The show includes the well-known songs “If I Loved You”, “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Richard Rodgers later wrote that Carousel was his favorite among all his musicals.

Following the spectacular success of the first Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Oklahoma! (1943), the pair sought to collaborate on another piece, knowing that any resulting work would be compared with Oklahoma!, most likely unfavorably. They were initially reluctant to seek the rights to Liliom; Molnár had refused permission for the work to be adapted in the past, and the original ending was considered too depressing for the musical theatre. After acquiring the rights, the team created a work with lengthy sequences of music and made the ending more hopeful.

The musical required considerable modification during out-of-town tryouts, but once it opened on Broadway on April 19, 1945, it was an immediate hit with both critics and audiences. Carousel initially ran for 890 performances and duplicated its success in the West End in 1950. Though it has never achieved as much commercial success as Oklahoma!, the piece has been repeatedly revived, and has been recorded several times. A production by Nicholas Hytner enjoyed success in 1992 in London, in 1994 in New York and on tour. In 1999, Time magazine named Carousel the best musical of the 20th century.


Casting and tryoutsThe casting for Carousel began when Oklahoma!’s production team, including Rodgers and Hammerstein, was seeking a replacement for the part of Curly (the male lead in Oklahoma!). Lawrence Langner had heard, through a relative, of a California singer named John Raitt, who might be suitable for the part. Langner went to hear Raitt, then urged the others to bring Raitt to New York for an audition. Raitt asked to sing Largo al factotum, Figaro’s song from The Barber of Seville, to warm up. The warmup was sufficient to convince the producers that not only had they found a Curly, they had found a Liliom (or Billy Bigelow, as the part was renamed).[35] Theresa Hepburn made another California discovery, Jan Clayton, a singer/actress who had made a few minor films for MGM. She was brought east and successfully auditioned for the part of Julie.[27]

The producers sought to cast unknowns. Though many had played in previous Hammerstein or Rodgers works, only one, Jean Casto (cast as carousel owner Mrs. Mullin, and a veteran of Pal Joey), had ever played on Broadway before.[27] It proved harder to cast the ensemble than the leads, due to the war—Rodgers told his casting director, John Fearnley, that the sole qualification for a dancing boy was that he be alive.[36] Rodgers and Hammerstein reassembled much of the creative team that had made Oklahoma! a success, including director Rouben Mamoulian and choreographer Agnes de Mille. Miles White was the costume designer while Jo Mielziner (who had not worked on Oklahoma!) was the scenic and lighting designer. Even though Oklahoma! orchestrator Russell Bennett had informed Rodgers that he was unavailable to work on Carousel due to a radio contract, Rodgers insisted he do the work in his spare time. He orchestrated “The Carousel Waltz” and “(When I Marry) Mister Snow” before finally being replaced by Don Walker.[37] A new member of the creative team was Trude Rittman, who arranged the dance music. Rittman initially felt that Rodgers mistrusted her because she was a woman, and found him difficult to work with, but the two worked together on Rodgers’ shows until the 1970s.[33]

Oscar Hammerstein IIRehearsals began in January 1945;[3] either Rodgers or Hammerstein was always present.[38] Raitt was presented with the lyrics for “Soliloquy” on a five-foot long sheet of paper—the piece ran nearly eight minutes. Staging such a long solo number presented problems, and Raitt later stated that he felt that they were never fully addressed.[39] At some point during rehearsals, Molnár came to see what they had done to his play. There are a number of variations on the story.[35][40] As Rodgers told it, while watching rehearsals with Hammerstein, the composer spotted Molnár in the rear of the theatre and whispered the news to his partner. Both sweated through an afternoon of rehearsal in which nothing seemed to go right. At the end, the two walked to the back of the theatre, expecting an angry reaction from Molnár. Instead, the playwright said enthusiastically, “What you have done is so beautiful. And you know what I like best? The ending!”[41] Hammerstein wrote that Molnár became a regular attendee at rehearsals after that.[18]

Like most of the pair’s works, Carousel contains a lengthy ballet, “Billy Makes a Journey”,[42] in the second act, as Billy looks down to the Earth from “Up There” and observes his daughter. In the original production, and in the film, the ballet was choreographed by de Mille.[43] As originally written, de Mille’s ballet lasted an hour and fifteen minutes. It began with Billy looking down from heaven at his wife in labor, with the village women gathered for a “birthing”. The ballet involved every character in the play, some of whom spoke lines of dialogue, and contained a number of subplots. The focus was on Louise, played by Bambi Linn, who at first almost soars in her dance, expressing the innocence of childhood. She is teased and mocked by her schoolmates, and Louise becomes attracted to the rough carnival people, who symbolize Billy’s world. A youth from the carnival attempts to seduce Louise, as she discovers her own sexuality, but he decides she is more girl than woman, and he leaves her. After Julie comforts her, Louise goes to a children’s party, where she is shunned. The carnival people reappear and form a ring around the children’s party, with Louise lost between the two groups. At the end, the performers form a huge carousel with their bodies.[44]

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18 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    “You don’t need to Boo; you need to vote.”

  2. rikyrah says:

    ok, this is good news.


    All 67 Florida Election Supervisors Suspend Governor Rick Scott’s Voter Purge

    By Judd Legum on Jun 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    On Thursday, the Justice Department demanded Florida Governor Rick Scott end his extensive purge of registered voters from the rolls because it was in violation of federal law. Scott still hasn’t formally responded but his county election supervisors have already taken action.

    The Palm Beach Post reports:
    Florida elections supervisors said Friday they will discontinue a state-directed effort to remove names from county voter rolls because they believe the state data is flawed and because the U.S. Department of Justice has said the process violates federal voting laws…

    The Justice Department letter and mistakes that the 67 county elections supervisors have found in the state list make the scrub undoable, said Martin County Elections Supervisor Vicki Davis, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections…

    Ron Labasky, the association’s general counsel, sent a memo to the 67 supervisors Friday telling them to stop processing the list.

    “I recommend that Supervisors of Elections cease any further action until the issues raised by the Department of Justice are resolved between the parties or by a Court,” Labasky wrote.

    Previously, the State of Florida indicated they intended to accelerate the purge. Florida has until June 6 to respond to the Justice Department.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Why the GOP plays the vote blocking card
    May 31, 2012

    It’s not hard to understand why Republicans tend to fall back on a strategy of reducing the share of black, brown and young people who are eligible to vote, while seeming to whip up resentment among working class white Americans: demographics.

    The National Journal sums it up nicely:

    One key reason why Democrats have grown more competitive in presidential elections since 1992 (after losing five of the previous six) is the steady growth in the minority share of the vote. In 1992, when Bill Clinton was first elected, non-whites cast 12 percent of the vote. When Barack Obama won in 2008, the minority share stood at 26 percent, more than double. How much more it grows, if at all, looms as one of the critical variables for 2012. The Obama camp is beginning to zero in on its projection.

    A common misconception is that the minority share of the vote experienced an unsustainable surge in 2008 because of Obama’s history-making status as the first African-American presidential nominee. In fact, the growth in the minority role has been steady over the past two decades, according to network exit polls. From 12 percent in 1992, the minority share of the vote increased to 17 percent in 1996, 21 percent in 2000, and 23 percent in 2004, before reaching its 26 percent level in 2008.

    Sources close to the campaign say that in its internal planning the Obama team projects that the minority share of the vote in 2012 will rise to 28 percent. The campaign’s analysis shows that minorities are continuing to increase their presence in voter registration rolls faster than whites.

    Why is minority vote share so important?

    If the minority vote share does reach the 28 percent the Obama campaign projects, that could allow the president to reach a national majority of the popular vote with a smaller share of the white vote than most people assume-and force Republicans to run up numbers among whites they have not matched in a presidential race since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

    In 2008, Obama carried 80 percent of all non-white voters. If he matched that percentage in 2012, and those minority voters increase their share of the vote to 28 percent, he could win a national majority with just 38 percent of the white vote. There’s no guarantee Obama could reach even that modest level. For most of 2011, his approval rating among whites ran below 40 percent in most surveys, and Democrats carried just 37 percent of whites in the House mid-term elections, according to the 2010 exit polls. In several Senate races that year (including New Hampshire, Arkansas and Indiana), the Democratic candidates fell below the 38 percent level.

    Still, no Democratic presidential nominee has been held to less than 38 percent of the white vote since Walter Mondale carried just 35 percent when he was buried by Reagan’s landslide in 1984. (Even Michael Dukakis reached 40 percent in 1988; Bill Clinton managed 39 percent in the three-way race that included Ross Perot in 1992). In the past four presidential elections, the Democratic share of the white vote has varied only between a low of 41 percent (for John Kerry against George W. Bush in 2004) and a high of 43 percent (for Clinton in 1996 and Obama last time.) And while Obama’s approval rating is still running below 40 percent among whites in the weekly average of the Gallup nightly tracking poll, he reached 43 percent with them in last week’s ABC/Washington Post survey and exactly 40 percent in today’s CNN/ORC survey. Matched against Romney in a head-to-head match-up, Obama actually did slightly better: he attracted 42 percent of whites in the ABC/Washington Post survey, 44 percent in Pew’s national poll this week, and 44 percent in the CNN/ORC survey.

  4. Ametia says:

    I see WHITE people

  5. rikyrah says:

    Are We About to See Another Stolen Presidential Election?

    —By Heather Digby Parton
    | Fri Jun. 1, 2012 10:43 AM PDT

    From the time I started blogging about a decade ago I’ve been writing somewhat frantically about the GOP efforts to suppress the vote. This should not be surprising since I started writing online in the aftermath of the most dubious election result in history: the infamous Bush v. Gore.

    Vote suppression has been with us for centuries, of course. Jim Crow was built on it. Very famous and important Americans have participated in it, including former Chief Justice William Rehnquist. But according to a 2004 report by the Center for Voting Rights it wasn’t until the Jesse Jackson campaign in the 1980s that the Republicans began to organize nationally:

    Democratic activist Donna Brazile, a Jackson worker and Albert Gore’s campaign manager in 2000, said “There were all sorts of groups out there doing voter registration. Some time after the ’86 election, massive purging started taking place. It was a wicked practice that took place all over the country, especially in the deep South. Democrats retook the Senate in 1986, and [Republican] groups went on a rampage on the premise they were cleaning up the rolls. The campaign then was targeted toward African-Americans.” As in the past, Republicans justified the purges in the name of preventing the unregistered from voting. But Democrats charged vote suppression.

    They formed a group called the Republican National Lawyers Association for the purpose of manipulating the voting laws in all 50 states to the benefit of the party. Of course, they said it was for the purpose of stopping “voter fraud” but since there was and is no evidence of voter fraud, vote suppression was the obvious intent. They learned the ins and outs of all local and state voting rules and figured out how to use them for their own electoral advantage. And with the help of other conservative groups like ALEC, they set about making it harder to register and harder to vote. They really made their bones in the 2000 recount, when the call went out the morning after the election for their lawyers to descend on Florida. The rest is history. Well, it’s deja vu all over again. Here’s Ari Berman:

    Back in 2000, 12,000 eligible voters—a number twenty-two times larger than George W. Bush’s 537 vote triumph over Al Gore—were wrongly identified as convicted felons and purged from the voting rolls in Florida, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. African Americans, who favored Gore over Bush by 86 points, accounted for 11 percent of the state’s electorate but 41 percent of those purged. Jeb Bush attempted a repeat performance in 2004 to help his brother win reelection but was forced to back off in the face of a public outcry.

    Yet with another close election looming, Florida Republicans have returned to their voter-scrubbing ways. The latest purge comes on the heels of a trio of new voting restrictions passed by Florida Republicans last year, disenfranchising 100,000 previously eligible ex-felons who’d been granted the right to vote under GOP Governor Charlie Crist in 2008; shutting down non-partisan voter registration drives; and cutting back on early voting. The measures, the effect of which will be to depress Democratic turnout in November, are similar to voting curbs passed by Republicans in more than a dozen states, on the bogus pretext of combating “voter fraud” but with the very deliberate goal of shaping the electorate to the GOP’s advantage before a single vote has been cast.

    The whole story is shocking in its brazenness.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Is Mitt Romney’s Mormonism fair game?
    By Jason Horowitz, Published: June 1

    Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has developed a simple method to determine whether coverage of the candidate’s Mormonism has crossed a line.

    “Our test to see if a similar story would be written about others’ religion is to substitute ‘Jew’ or ‘Jewish,’ ” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul wrote in objection to a Washington Post article last fall about the candidate’s role as a church leader in Boston.

    She pointed out a passage that explained a central tenet of Mormonism. It described the belief that Christ’s true church was restored after centuries of apostasy when the 19th-century prophet Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from golden plates that he discovered in Upstate New York.

    “Would you write this sentence in describing the Jewish faith?” Saul asked in a November e-mail, adding: “ ‘Jews believe their prophet Moses was delivered tablets on a mountain top directly from G-d after he appeared to him in a burning bush.’ Of course not, yet you reference a similar story in Mormonism.”

    The outrage on behalf of the first Mormon candidate to represent a major party in a presidential election is not unique. Recently, Jodi Kantor reported in the New York Times that Romney’s aides often ask reporters, “Would you have written this about a Jewish candidate?” The guilt trip may be motivated by political calculation, sincere concern about religious bigotry for a faith that has suffered its fair share or some combination of the two. Regardless of its impetus, the campaign’s response gets at a crucial challenge for the news media: to educate the public about an unfamiliar faith unusually central to a candidate’s formation without treating Mormonism as biographical exotica that could fuel prejudices.

    Now that Romney has secured the necessary delegates to become the Republican nominee, that challenge is front and center. Obama strategist David Axelrod has suggested that Mormonism is off limits as political ammunition. Yet news outlets delve into Mormon apocrypha, and comedian and Democratic super PAC donor Bill Maher launches salvo after salvo against Romney’s faith.

    “It’s a tough line,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), the first Jewish nominee for national office, who has written sympathetically about Romney’s candidacy through the prism of religious freedom. While he allowed that the public can benefit from learning more about a candidate’s religion, Lieberman said in an interview that “the reality is that the more you talk about the details of somebody’s religion, the more you encourage voters to vote on the religion rather than on the person and his policies.”

    Romney hasn’t made identification of such boundaries any easier. He has highlighted his devoutness and churchgoing, but he has avoided discussing the substance of his religion.

    “People of different faiths, like yours and mine, sometimes wonder where we can meet in common purpose, when there are so many differences in creed and theology,” Romney said last month at Liberty University, a flagship institution for evangelical Christians

  7. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 06:20 PM ET, 06/01/2012
    Catholic nuns push back
    By E.J. Dionne Jr.

    The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is not folding in the face of criticism by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In a tough statement today, the organization challenged both the process through which they were called on the carpet, and the content of the criticism.

    Here is the key paragraph of the LCWR statement after a two-day meeting of its board:

    The board members raised concerns about both the content of the doctrinal assessment and the process by which it was prepared. Board members concluded that the assessment was based on unsubstantiated accusations and the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency. Moreover, the sanctions imposed were disproportionate to the concerns raised and could compromise their ability to fulfill their mission. The report has furthermore caused scandal and pain throughout the church community, and created greater polarization.

    That is unusually direct language, not the sort of talk bishops are accustomed to. Significantly, the statement added that the board “believes that the matters of faith and justice that capture the hearts of Catholic sisters are clearly shared by many people around the world. As the church and society face tumultuous times, the board believes it is imperative that these matters be addressed by the entire church community in an atmosphere of openness, honesty, and integrity.” Note that reference to “the entire Church community.” The nuns are telling the American bishops and the Vatican that they are not prepared to settle this matter quietly, and that the Church leadership needs to take account the views of all Catholics.

    Many Catholics — I am one of them — will appreciate the fact that the sisters are not simply caving in. The process was flawed and unfair. The sanctions, involving the appointment of Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle to reorganize the Conference, were disproportionate. I also think the Vatican will come to regret that it specifically associated the LCWR with “a prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” How could the most important women in the Church structure not feel challenged to stand up for themselves in the face of such criticism from the men who hold positions of authority? Should it be surprising that women who have contributed so much to Catholicism and the world might have questions about the role of women in the Church?

  8. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 05:12 PM ET, 06/01/2012
    Why “repeal and replace” won’t die
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    I’ve been for some time tracking the Republican claim that their plan is to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, while their actions show that they have no intention at all of actually drafting “replace” legislation. Should ACA be overturned by the court or repealed by unified Republican government after the 2012 elections, that will be the end of it, most likely. No replacement is coming.

    So why do they keep up the pretense? The monthly Kaiser tracking poll out today has a good reminder. The health care reform law remains generally although not extremely unpopular, ticking down a bit over the last month but still within the general range that it’s been in since passage. But supporters as usual can take some solace in the very stable numbers on what to do about it. There, the combination of either leaving it the same (20%) or expanding it (27%) continue to be more popular than the combination of straight repeal (21%) and repeal and replace (18%).

    The thing is that the Kaiser option for “repeal and replace” is probably underreporting support for that option, because it asks whether Congress “should repeal the law and replace it with a Republican-sponsored alternative.” Presumably, this is less popular, at least among swing voters, than simply hearing a politician (even a Republican one) demand that Obamacare be repealed and replaced with something better.

    The trick here is that presumably at least some of the group who prefers expanding ACA because, they believe, it won’t work well are open to a promise to “replace” it with something better, even if the promise comes from Republicans. On the other hand, while I’m sure that Republican pledges to repeal and replace goose that number up among loyal Republicans who might otherwise simply support a clean repeal, the group who chooses that option appears to be quite small indeed.

    So while there have been some grudging concessions recently that there’s really no replace plan in the works, my guess is that this one isn’t going away any time soon.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:18 PM ET, 06/01/2012
    Anyone notice something missing here?
    By Greg Sargent

    In the wake of today’s awful jobs numbers, Steve Benen reminds us of something that took place way back in the mists of ancient history: Last fall, Obama proposed a whole series of job creation ideas that Republicans refused to even allow a debate on in the Senate.

    No one is denying that the policies that Obama did manage to pass have underperformed, and he is seriously vulnerable to losing reelection as a result. But surely it also matters that multiple independent economists estimated that the second round of job creation policies Obama proposed — the American Jobs Act — could have added as many as 1.3 million to 2 million jobs and could have boosted GDP growth by as much as two percentage points. As Steve says…

    As panic sets in after this morning’s brutal jobs report, take a moment to consider a hypothetical: what would the economy look like today if Congress had followed Obama’s lead, responded to public-opinion polls, and passed the American Jobs Act? In 2012, do you think the nation could use those 1.3 million jobs or not?

    Are we better off now as a result of Republican obstructionism and intransigence, or would we have been better off if popular and effective job-creation measures had been approved?

    What’s striking is that this question is almost entirely absent from the conversation today. Democrats have tried to remind people of this, but the facts of recent history needn’t be a matter of partisan argument. All of this actually happened, and it matters: Obama proposed a whole series of ideas that independent economists said could create as many as two million jobs. Republicans filibustered virtually all of them, refusing to allow a majority vote on them in the Senate, even on ideas Republicans previously supported as legitimate job-creation measures, such as more investment in the nation’s infrastructure. Yet today’s news is being discussed almost entirely in terms of what it says about the President, as if Republicans have had no role whatsoever in the events of the past few years.

    And, of course, the truth is that this is probably how voters will see things, too. As I’ve said before, swing voters not schooled in the details of Senate procedure are unlikely to care why Obama was unable to get job creation ideas through. They may conclude that if Obama couldn’t prevail despite determined opposition, it reveals him to be weak or ineffective, and may decide the whole mess shows that government sucks and that government intervention can’t fix the economy. But even if that’s how voters will likely see things, that doesn’t mean the fact that Republicans refused to allow the Senate to consider job creation ideas that the American public broadly supported should simply be allowed to slide down the memory hole.

    Meanwhile, as Jonathan Chait notes, Romney is not proposing any solution of his own to the crisis, in the sense that he’s not proposing any ideas that he wouldn’t be proposing if the economy were doing great. Just as Congressional Republicans calculated that the president would pay the biggest political price from a stalled recovery, even if they blocked his job creation ideas, Romney has decided that he doesn’t have to offer a crisis-specific set of solutions of his own. His perfectly-timed ad today says it all: Vote Obama out and at least you’ll feel better again about how things might go in the future.

    And let’s face it: this just may work. The amazing irony of it all is that the more the recovery stalls, the more likely it gets that GOP non-participation in or obstruction of Obama’s suggested solutions — which, again, had broad public support — won’t be a factor in voter decisionmaking.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 05:06 PM ET, 06/01/2012
    The Wisconsin debate moment everyone’s talking about
    By Greg Sargent

    Whatever happens in Wisconsin next week, this dramatic moment from last night’s debate is definitely worth a watch, and it’s got labor and Dems buzzing throughout the state.

    Tom Barrett aggressively laces into Scott Walker over the Governor’s vicious new ad that uses a severely beaten two-year-old to paint Barrett as soft on crime. Barrett blasts the ad as “Willie Horton stuff,” and tells Walker he should be “ashamed” of using a child to attack his integrity.

    Barrett then closes with this: “I have a police department that arrests felons. He has a practice of hiring them.”

    Watch the video, which was clipped by the labor-backed We Are Wisconsin, for yourself:

    As Dave Catanese noted, Barrett’s outrage “created the most emotionally charged moment of the evening,” and Barrett “appeared to get the best of the exchange.”

    Barrett’s use of the back-and-forth to attack Walker over the John Doe investigation is particularly interesting. Yesterday it was reported that a 13th aide has now been granted immunity as part of the probe, and Barrett attempted to use the moment to turn the tables on one of Walker’s main closing arguments — about crime stats in Milwaukee — and pivot back to allegations of Walker corruption. The exchange is heartening to labor and Dems because it’s the kind of charged debate moment that has at least the possibility of breaking through a bit and having an impact in a campaign’s final days.

    Walker still leads Barrett in most polls, and many commentators still see him as the heavy favoriate, but labor and Dems insist the race has tightened to a dead heat. We’ll soon find out if there’s anything to this argument, but many have observed that the Walker attack ad featuring the two-year-old child is not the kind of spot a campaign runs if it’s extremely confident of winning.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Romney scuttled, revived Mass. affirmative action
    With a few strokes of his pen on a sleepy holiday six months after he became governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney quietly scuttled the state government’s long-standing affirmative action policies.

    There were no news conferences, no press releases trumpeting Romney’s executive order on Bunker Hill Day, June 17, 2003, in the deserted Statehouse. But when civil rights leaders, black lawmakers and other minority groups finally learned of Romney’s move two months later, it sparked a public furor.

    Romney drew criticism for cutting the enforcement teeth out of the law and rolling back more than two decades of affirmative action advances.

    Civil rights leaders said his order stripped minorities, women, disabled people and veterans of equal access protections for state government jobs and replaced them with broad guidelines. They complained Romney hadn’t consulted them before making such drastic changes, snubbing the very kind of inclusion he professed to support.

    “It was done under the radar and there was a big backlash,” said Michael Curry, president of the Boston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “It was clear Romney really did not have an appreciation for the affirmative action policies long in place.”

    Romney responded by creating an advisory panel to recommend changes. But he eventually retreated completely, leaving the state’s old policies in place.

    The likely Republican presidential nominee’s handling of affirmative action may offer insights into how he would deal with civil rights issues if he defeats Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, in the fall election. Romney hasn’t talked much about affirmative action on the campaign trail.

    Romney’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

    “This is the canary in the coal mine on how he feels about civil rights issues,” said Julie Patino, who was deputy director of the state’s affirmative action office from 1995 to 1999. “It was a cloaked and unilateral move that eradicated years and years of civil rights advances and history. It was an astonishing act.”

  12. Ametia says:

    Louisiana’s bold bid to privatize schools
    Source: Reuters

    Louisiana’s bold bid to privatize schools
    By Stephanie Simon | Reuters

    (Reuters) – Louisiana is embarking on the nation’s boldest experiment in privatizing public education, with the state preparing to shift tens of millions in tax dollars out of the public schools to pay private industry, businesses owners and church pastors to educate children.

    Starting this fall, thousands of poor and middle-class kids will get vouchers covering the full cost of tuition at more than 120 private schools across Louisiana, including small, Bible-based church schools.

    The following year, students of any income will be eligible for mini-vouchers that they can use to pay a range of private-sector vendors for classes and apprenticeships not offered in traditional public schools. The money can go to industry trade groups, businesses, online schools and tutors, among others.

    Every time a student receives a voucher of either type, his local public school will lose a chunk of state funding.

  13. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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