Morning Reads for Tuesday, October 30th

October 30, 2012 8:34 am

by Stefan · 43 comments


  • Sandy’s Eastern Seaboard Devastation (NYTimes)
  • The science of crowd movement and Grand Central Station (Scientific American)
  • New Ohio polls show a tightening race (TheHill)
  • How illiquidity spreads from place to place (Economist)
  • Teen Driver Decals lowering the rates of cars coming together (CBSPhilly)
  • Penguin and Random House show companies coming together may make something better (LATimes)
  • SCOTUS avoiding cases that have political ramifications (Slate)
  • But oral argument proceeds on a facial challenge to the government’s search justifications (WaPo)
  • An essay on Rogers and baseball and sons and Pops (SBNation)
  • Bonus: How to eat a Triceratops (Nature)


  • Are you the Principal of a failing charter school? Here’s a million dollars (AJC)
  • Out of state millionaires fund campaign to benefit future charter school scholars (AtlantaUnfiltered)
  • Telegraph’s stance on amendments: one’s a smile and one’s a frown (MaconTelegraph)
  • Charles Darwin hopes to upset Paul Broun (Flagpole-Aued)
  • GOTV produces Early Voting Squeeze (AJC)
  • And Two Groups Produce Statements where Everyone Nods But Nobody Agrees:
  • North Fulton Mayors Still Want Regional Transportation Solution (MDJ)
  • Gang of Four want “Fix the Debt” resolution  (FloridaTimesUnion)
  • Atlanta has a New Comedy Radio Station! Hilarious (and scary)! (AJC)
  • Immigration Activists Still Wary (AthensBannerHerald)


Mike Hassinger October 30, 2012 at 8:47 am

Love the picture of that kid. Better than a jetpack.

Buzz Brockway October 30, 2012 at 8:55 am

I never had a hovercraft when I was a kid. :(

mountainpass October 30, 2012 at 9:30 am

That’s no hovercraft that’s a Delorean with a flux capacitor.

Stefan October 30, 2012 at 9:55 am


bgsmallz October 30, 2012 at 9:32 am

Ugh…I’m getting so tired of the ‘rich people are donating to campaign X’ so be scared crapola.

#1- If you aren’t reporting on the rich people donating to the other side of the cause, you are biased. Period.
#2- Can anyone tell me what these heirs to Walmart, the Home Depot, the GAP, or GA Pacific stand to gain off of these donations? It’s fun calling them ‘carpetbaggers’ and all, but are rich people given the benefit of the doubt about their interest in a cause only if they are liberal activists?
#3- Again, someone tell me why I should be more worried about $250,000 donated by the widow of the GAP who has nothing to do with the issue other than supporting charter schools nation wide more than the thousands of dollars donated by those who do business with our local school boards? I have asked that question 3 times now and no opponent of charter schools has even tried to give an answer…hmmm..

The DeKalb BOE has given K&S $17M in legal EXPENSES on defending a $1.5M claim for breach of contract because of a fanciful $120M counterclaim they filed based upon the recommendations of two people who have since been indicted for racketeering and fraud. I say expenses b/c if you read the article, the fees are to be paid on a contingency basis. What kind of bad representation agreement did this group agree to where you are booking $30M in expenses and haven’t even paid any legal fees?

Excuse me if I yawn over the ‘scare’ tactics of the one principal in Orlando that made out like a bandit for $400,000.


Read this.

Stefan October 30, 2012 at 9:58 am

Have you asked for the K b/t the Dekalb BOE and K&S? My guess is they are hourly plus contingency.

bgsmallz October 30, 2012 at 11:05 am

The long and winding road, Stefan…try to keep up with all the grand jury recommendations and accusations…

“But the fee deal with King & Spalding, which is representing the district in the civil case, has taken center stage as it has become entangled in the criminal case. The fee contract, inked in June 2008, allows King & Spalding to collect both its standard hourly rates and a contingency share of whatever damages the school district may collect-should it win its $100 million counterclaim. If the case settles in a way the firm does not like, it can convert its contingency payment to hourly fees.” – And Better Georgia wants me to send this group MORE money. Bwahahahahaha.

See, K&S, who was hired by the school board is fighting with the DA and basically dictating the litigation b/c they can based upon the fee arrangement… signed by the DBOE

…and taxpayers are paying for both of them.

Oh…not to mention the grand jury recommended the DA investigate…again…

Hooray, current School Boards! Give them more money for a Better Georgia!

And while I know DeKalb is a ‘local’ issue…lets put it in perspective a bit. Roughly 7% of the entire public school population in the state is under the thumb of the DeKalb BOE.

Buzz Brockway October 30, 2012 at 10:07 am

I’m with you on this one bgsmallz. If someone supports something with their money who am I to criticize? It’s free speech.

Stefan October 30, 2012 at 10:13 am

As to #2, I don’t know about Alice Walton, but John Walton, when he was head of the Walton Family Foundation, was a huge proponent of school choice and vouchers. Much of their educational based giving went to further charter schools. The stated goal at the time was that competition between schools would improve all of them.

Trey A. October 30, 2012 at 10:21 am

It’s not the money that worries people. It’s the why. I don’t understand why folks like Walton and Fisher would dump so much cash into an election campaign like this instead of simply funding new charter schools. They’re legal. And in 99-percent of the state’s school districts, the good (i.e. well-managed and well-funded) applications are welcomed with open arms.

Charlie October 30, 2012 at 10:25 am

Philanthropy has long been used to promote education in this country. Education is something that caputures the imagination of those who want their money to have a lasting positive legacy.

I don’t think these folks see Harvard’s endowment increasing by a few hundred million changing the game much. I can see how helping to facilitate school choice in the public school arena would.

Stefan October 30, 2012 at 10:27 am

Well, if you really want to have fun with it, Walmart is now creating medical clinics within its stores as a first level provider. No reason the same model couldn’t be applied to schools. We could essentially create taxpayer funded Walmart centers that were Minor Emergency Clinics, “Public” Schools, and then with leasebacks actual Walmarts on the same land. It’s kind of genius actually. You share employees then reimburse with charter school money or rural medical grants, the school and medical entities pay “market rents” to the holding entity…

benevolus November 2, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Idiocracy coming to life.

Stefan October 30, 2012 at 10:17 am

as to #1, Actually, I am trying to look that up now but the commission site,, seems to be down.

bgsmallz October 30, 2012 at 10:40 am

I looked it up for the Jones opinion piece last week and found that the ‘no’ group was funded by education officials (county superintendents, etc.) and those that currently contract with them like lawyers, consultants, public financing groups, and the like.

My point is this: It’s clear that the “No” group is running a concentrated effort to scare folks into thinking ‘big business’ is behind the “Yes” campaign and that we should be scared of that…when the problem is that there seems to be more reason to be concerned about motives when the funding is being done by those who feel their financial livelihood is directly affected by the amendment rather than philanthropists.

Stefan October 30, 2012 at 11:31 am

What is the name of the “No” group? I can’t seem to find their disclosure.

bgsmallz October 30, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Huh? You mean there hasn’t been vast reporting by the media on who is behind the ‘no’ effort? Derp.

The only one I’ve been able to smoke out is the aptly named “Vote SMART! No to State Controlled Schools!”

Which according to their disclosures, has a David Crews of Lilburn as its treasurer. The same David Crews, presumably, who is former CFO and Associate Super of Gwinnett Co Schools, currently serves on the Gwinnett budget review committee, and is the CEO of a company called View Point Health that is a state created agency providing special health services and does business with both the county and the county BOE.

Here is the list of donors…

It’s basically nothing but the current education establishment and those who want to do business with them…attorneys, construction firms, public finance groups, and consultants.

Stefan October 30, 2012 at 10:22 am

#3. I don’t know whether it should worry you or not, but if you like local control you might be concerned about the implications of national school campaigns. And you know, national curricula from people based in San Francisco.

Ed October 30, 2012 at 9:48 am

Was going to post this as a post. Want to do something (more) serious before I do.

With one short week until the election, it is now competition time.

Your mission is to correctly predict the winner of the Presidential election, the Electoral College and states won per candidate. Create your map at 270 to win and share it here. Picks are due by midnight tomorrow.

You get one point for every correct state,  electoral college vote and correctly predicting the winner. You will subtract one point for every EC vote over your prediction so say you predict, 310 EC votes and the winner receives 300, you will receive 290.

If you correctly predict the Electoral College vote, the winner and get every state correct, you receive a 538 point bonus.

The tie breaker is to predict the percentage both candidates win.

First prize gets first choice of the prizes, and so on.
The prizes are: attend 1 (one) Georgia State University sports match of your choosing in Atlanta with yours truly.
A pat on the back
A steak dinner (as is customary for PP wagers)
20 Schrute Bucks
Eternal pride

Lea Thrace October 30, 2012 at 9:51 am

Uh. The first prize is no prize at all Mr. Ed…


Calypso October 30, 2012 at 9:53 am

First Place Winner: One ticket to a Georgia State football game.

Second Place Winner: Two tickets to a Georgia State football game.

Third Place Winner: Season tickets to Georgia State football games.

Fourth Place Winner: Season tickets to Georgia State football games seated next to Ed.

Andre October 30, 2012 at 9:56 am

I wonder what the booby prize is?

Calypso October 30, 2012 at 10:02 am

Sharing a cabin with Ed on a small cruise ship for a two week vacation.

Ed October 30, 2012 at 10:19 am

Hey there, sailor…

Ed October 30, 2012 at 10:26 am

Also, I don’t know what’s worse–being ignored on PP or when people do read it they don’t actually comprehend it.

Please allow me to quote myself: “First prize gets FIRST CHOICE OF THE PRIZES, and so on.”

Calypso October 30, 2012 at 10:35 am

I read it and I comprehended it. I was just making my own list of prizes.

And in answer to your concern, I would say that folks who ignore you on PP is worse than those who read, but do not comprehend you. At least in the latter, you are being read.

Though why anyone reads you is my conundrum.

Ed October 30, 2012 at 10:47 am

Why they would read my posts:

Dentists wanting to make visits more painful
DMV staff wanting to make a trip more tedious
Mensa members wanting to dumb themselves down

This, I believe, is a good start.

Calypso October 30, 2012 at 11:16 am

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Please, allow the rest of us to do it for you.

Ed October 30, 2012 at 11:39 am

Awwwwwwwwww… I feel like that is something someone would say to me, supposing they were my friend (What I am implying, Calypso, is that that is the nicest thing anything has ever said to me!).

Calypso October 30, 2012 at 11:49 am

“…that is the nicest thing anything has ever said to me!”

Even nicer than the time that guy in the parking lot at Publix told you the right rear tire of your car was really low?

Buzz Brockway October 30, 2012 at 10:05 am

Hey, put it on the front page and make it official.

Here’s the RCP do it yourself electoral college map:

Also, the one the NY Times is pretty cool:

Stefan October 30, 2012 at 10:13 am

But Nate Silver made that one up. Oh, he didn’t? Nevermind.

Ed October 30, 2012 at 10:28 am

OK I will post it shortly.

Stefan October 30, 2012 at 11:33 am

By the way, you guys should all be excited about the possibility of a successful facial challenge based on the 4th amendment. I don’t think it has ever been done before. It’s like, about the constitution and stuff.

Scott65 October 30, 2012 at 11:46 am

I am not one to judge anyone on doing whats right, but we have had one of the largest natural disasters EVER to our country, and yet people on this blog (in poor taste in my opinion), continue to talk about things that seem rather small right now. I just donated money to the Red Cross. These people need our help, 80 homes burned down in Queens last night in a huge 6 alarm fire at the height of the storm. Much of Lower Manhattan is under water. If there was ever a shining example of why we need government…this is it. I challenge the rest of you…donate. If not to the Red Cross, to some charity that can assist these people…and of course our prayers. As a side note, a friend of mines Mother is in Bluefield VA where they have received 2 FEET of snow. Lets dispense with the snark just one day…how about it

Stefan October 30, 2012 at 12:50 pm


Much of my family lives in NYC. I am well aware of what they are going through. I agree that we should support those in need. I do not think that is inconsistent with discussing the issues of the day. If you’d like to meld the two, we can talk about disaster response, FEMA’s emergency funds actually existing (not so much in the past) and the lack of regulation of re-insurers, who will ultimately be on the hook for many of the damage numbers you hear.

FEMA funds:

I posted a good article on re-insurers as hedge funds awhile back if you’d a jumping off point”


Scott65 October 30, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Man…you just dont get it do you…it is NOT the time to blend the two…its the time to forget about the partisan crap, conspiracies, this side that side and think about the victims. I sure your family would agree. Today all the minutia doesn’t really seem to matter

Stefan October 30, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Or, if you’d prefer, from Econbrowser on Romney/Ryan on FEMA and NOAA:

From National Journal, Governor Romney on FEMA:

When asked about disaster relief and FEMA’s role in a debate in June of 2011, Romney said, “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better,” according to a transcript of the debate.

He added: “Instead of thinking, in the federal budget, ‘What we should cut,’ we should ask the opposite question, ‘What should we keep?’ We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in.”

When questioned by moderator John King of CNN about disaster relief specifically, Romney responded, “We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.” [emphasis added – MDC]

From CBS News last year, on Representative Ryan’s FY2012 budget plan:

The GOP budget plan that passed through the House last month aimed to cut funding for a tsunami warning center that issued a slew of warnings around Japan’s devastating earthquake. The budget, which proposed about $60 billion in budget cuts, would slash funding for the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

For Representative Ryan’s plans for NOAA in the FY 2013 budget, see here:

NOAA’s programs are in function 300, Natural Resources and Environment, along with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and a range of conservation and natural resources programs. In the near term, function 300 would be 14.6 percent lower in 2014 in the Ryan budget according to the Washington Post. It quotes David Kendall of The Third Way as warning about the potential impact on weather forecasting: “‘Our weather forecasts would be only half as accurate for four to eight years until another polar satellite is launched,’ estimates Kendall. ‘For many people planning a weekend outdoors, they may have to wait until Thursday for a forecast as accurate as one they now get on Monday. … Perhaps most affected would be hurricane response. Governors and mayors would have to order evacuations for areas twice as large or wait twice as long for an accurate forecast.'”

Scott65 October 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm

…and where are you advocating for people who read this blog to donate to the Red Cross, or similar? That was the point …the only point, I was making. At some point you and I and everyone else for that matter need to remember we are ALL Americans, not associated with an R or a D…it would be refreshing to hear some others agree…because if not now…when?

Ed October 30, 2012 at 2:54 pm

When Democrats are happily posting crap like this, I’m going to say: never.

Scott65 October 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Ok…are you just stupid or what. If I wanted to throw partisan BS back at you there is plenty. Obviously most readers on this blog cant rise above it seems (since no one seems to want to back me up). I feel sorry for all of you. The stereotypical “republican” described as self centered, dismissing the poor and needy, only in favor of the haves and loathing all others…well you just summed it up Ed…good job bud. WTF does that picture have to do with aiding victims or donating to the Red Cross…or better yet rising above the kind of crap you just posted rather than wallowing in it so you think you have some sort of edge over someone else…its pathetic. I hope you have someone you love…there are lots of people (55 so far) that are one short today. If nobody can at least agree with my main point…then I have pity for all of you…must be a sad world without any compassion

Scott65 October 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm

“are there no prisons, no workhouses”
Here’s a clue…humbug

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 30, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Thanks for the news!

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