Frann Michel's blog

Pillaging Public Pensions

WRR: Pensions

Last week, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber called for a special legislative session (to begin 8am September 30th) noting that "we have an opportunity to combine cost savings from reforms to the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) and new revenue to restore lost school days." In other words, maybe we can remedy some of the draconian cuts made to education in recent years by slashing the pensions of retired teachers and other public workers. Or in other words, let's pit old people against children.

Happy Labor Day?

Happy Labor Day.

Or, is it?

You might have noticed that Labor is not doing so well lately.

Orange is the New

On the 19 August 2013 Old Mole Variety Hour, Iven Hale and I discuss the Netflix series Orange is the New Black, about life in a women's minimum security Federal prison. Developed by Jenji Kohan, known for having created the Showtime series Weeds, Orange is the New Black is based on a memoir of the same name by Piper Kerman, though the show makes a number of changes from the book. Like Kerman, Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, is a college-educated white woman incarcerated for having transported drug money for her lover ten years before she was convicted and sentenced to a year in a women's prison. Hijinks ensue.

Some movie mole reviews


Movie Moles: Star Trek: Into Darkness

Old Mole Variety Hour 6/10/2013

Movie Moles Frann Michel and Joe Clement discuss the politics of race, gender and imperialism in the latest Star Trek movie against the background of the whole series of Star Trek films.

Movie Moles: Shift Change

Old Mole Variety Hour 5/06/2013

young white men with guns

There have been so many of these incidents that it's useful to have timelines and maps just to keep track of these things.

WRR: Trans-Pacific Partnership

For the Old Mole Variety HourOctober 1, 2012

Oppose the TPP:


On the Chicago Teacher's Strike

For the Old Mole Variety Hour 17 Sept 2012

Joanne Barkan in Dissent Magazine notes that,

Yes, schoolchildren in Chicago are victims, but not of their teachers. They are victims of a nationwide education “reform” movement geared to undermine teachers’ unions and shift public resources into private hands; they are victims of wave after wave of ill-conceived and failing policy “innovations”; they are victims of George Bush’s No Child Left Behind law, which turned inner-city public schools into boot camps for standardized test prep; they are victims of Barack Obama’s Race to the Top program, which paid states to use student test scores—a highly unreliable tool—for teacher evaluations and to lift caps on the number of privately managed charter schools, thus draining resources from public schools. Chicago’s children are victims of “mayoral control,” which allows Rahm Emanuel to run the school system, bully parents and teachers, and appoint a Board of Education dominated by corporate executives and political donors.

Heist and other movies about the financial crisis

On the 6 August 2012 Old Mole Variety Hour, Hyung Nam and I discuss Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?, a documentary directed by Frances Causey and Donald Goldmacher, narrated by Thom Hartmann, and based in part on the book The Global Class War: How America's Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future—and What It Will Take to Win by Jeff Faux, founder of the Economic Policy Institute, and one of those who appears in the film. Heist is one of a number of recent documentaries about the current financial crisis. Movie moles have previously reviewed the documentaries Inside Job and Capitalism is the Crisis.

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