For some of you this may be a bombshell, but for all of you who went through the Catholic High School System this should be no surprise: Charter Schools have lower test scores than similar Public Schools. The report was put together by the American Federation of Teachers using the government's own numbers, and is reprinted here. Evidently the government delayed released the charter school's scores until the last possible moment.
Everyone I know who went through a public high school, no matter where they stand on the No Child act or school vouchers, will generally accept the argument that private schools are better than public ones. I went to a (Catholic) private school, and never accepted that for a second. Nevermind the idea that you can mandate religion classes instead of, say, writing or reading classes. Whenever you run something for a profit you are bound to cut corners and get creative in improving your bottom line in ways that do nothing to help with education (was anyone else subject to the daily 30 minutes of commerical watching that was the Channel One experience?).
Governor Blagojevich to Pharmaceutical Industry: Fuck You.
Sometimes I'm damn proud to live in Illinois. Yup, our Governor is starting a (perhaps illegal) program to import drugs from Canada and European countries at a cheaper rate. "The federal government has failed to act," Gov. Blagojevich said in a statement. "So it's time that we do."
Don't even get me started on the nonsense of this debate. I absolutely hate that the Pharmaceutical Industry wraps itself in the Free Market rhetoric while they remain the most protected industry this side of New Deal agriculture. Bush moves to change tariffs a point to help protect U.S. steel and everyone shits themselves. An army of lobbyists push the President to make it illegal to import a product at a cheaper price from a foreign source (imagine him doing that to semiconductors from China!?!?!?!?) and sign a bill that prevents Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices and nobody blinks. Granted, I'm not a big city economist, but the idea that the government should be working very hard to artificially keep prices high seems a bit off.
And don't give me the "they need the money for research" scare tactic either. If anyone produces the cure for cancer or AIDS I'll post a mea culpa immediately. But the extra funds for research line is such a canard. Nevermind that the NIH, through taxpayer dollars, does a significant amount of the research that is then bought out by the industry. Some estimates say that a third of drugs marketed by the major drug companies are now licensed from universities or small biotech companies. What's more important is that so much of the research goes to changing existing drugs just enough to re-patent them. Quote Dr. Sharon Levine, associate executive director of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group:
If I'm a manufacturer and I can change one molecule and get another twenty years of patent rights, and convince physicians to prescribe and consumers to demand the next form of Prilosec, or weekly Prozac instead of daily Prozac, just as my patent expires, then why would I be spending money on a lot less certain endeavor, which is looking for brand-new drugs?
Which is why millions and millions of dollars is spent R&Ding Clarinex, so that it can get out the same year as Claritin loses it's patent; nevermind that it's virtually the same drug that produces the same effects (the same can be said about Prilosec/Nexium and a million other combos). I'm sure somewhere the AIDS vaccine is in its final test stages.
But perhaps I'm being mean. Years of ripping off Americans with inflated rates for drugs has finally cultimated in one scientific breakthrough: we now have the means to keep Mike Ditka's cock rock hard throughout the night.
And you gotta love that.