Here Are The 25 Highest-Paying Jobs In America

While being  a “Scrum Master” doesn’t sound all that glamorous, according to a new study from Glassdoor it’s in high demand and pays really well.  So what exactly does a Scrum Master do, you may ask?  Well, we actually had no idea either so we tracked down the following very helpful description from Scrum Hub:

We know the Scrum Master is a crucial player on new Scrum teams, but what exactly does he or she do all day?

 

For starters, we know the Scrum Master doesn’t plan the release, because that’s done by the product owner and the team. We know he doesn’t manage the developers because the Scrum team is self-organizing; and we know he’s not even the guy who’s accountable if the end result sucks (that’s the product owner too).

So basically, a Scrum Master has the same job as Tom from Office Space…which is a pretty sweet gig.

 

Meanwhile, in addition to the highly sought after Scrum Master seat, the tech industry held 10 of the other 25 highest paying jobs appearing on Glassdoor’s third annual salary study. 

Yet while jobs from the tech industry dominated the list, not one tech job ended up in the top five which was instead dominated by healthcare positions.

For the third year in a row, “physician” took the top slot, with a median base salary of $187,876. Pharmacy managers ($149,064) and pharmacists ($125,847) popped up at No. 2 and No. 5. “Medical science
liaisons” ($132,842) – specialists who work for pharmaceutical or biotech companies to establish relationships with medical experts – came in at No. 4. Patent attorneys rounded out the top five, at No. 3.

Other health-care jobs that were new to the list this year include nurse practitioner (No. 14, $104,144) and physician assistant (No. 7, $112,529, which also showed up in 2015).

“High pay continues to be tied to demand skills, higher education and working in jobs that are protected from competition or automation,” Glassdoor chief economist Andrew Chamberlain said in an emailed statement. “That is why we see several jobs within the technology and health-care industries.”

Jobs

 

And while “Nuclear Engineers” may applaud themselves on all that schooling, they may want to review some basic ROIC calcs because we’re not sure they’re earning an adequate return on all that education.  That said, Silicon Valley is totally feening for Scrum Masters which require absolutely no skills at all.

What The Hell Is Going On? – Part 3

Via Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform blog,

In Part One and Part Two of this article I revealed how the Deep State’s fake data and fake news propaganda machine can be overcome by opening your eyes, observing reality, understanding how Fed created inflation has destroyed our lives, and why the election of Trump was the initial deplorable pushback to Deep State evil.

“The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.”H.L. Mencken

“This new regime will enthrone itself for the duration of the Crisis. Regardless of its ideology, that new leadership will assert public authority and demand private sacrifice. Regardless of its ideology, that new leadership will assert public authority and demand private sacrifice. Where leaders had once been inclined to alleviate societal pressures, they will now aggravate them to command the nation’s attention. The regeneracy will be solidly under way.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

We are now seven weeks into the Trump presidency and it seems like seven years with amount of incidents that have occurred before and since his inauguration. When in doubt, Trump’s brain dead, hyperventilating with hate, opponents either blame the Russians or declare him Hitler. The histrionics displayed by the low IQ hypocritical Hollywood elite, corrupt Democratic politicians, fake news liberal media and Soros paid left wing radical terrorists over the last two months has been disgraceful, revolting, childish, and dangerous.

A counter-revolution by the gun owning normal people in the 85% red area of the country that voted for Trump would not be a pleasant experience for the paid protesters, vagina hat wearing feminazis, and the safe space anti-free speech lefties on campuses across the land.

I must admit I love Trump’s pugnacious style. I love how he treats the despicable corporate media. I love how he responds to baseless accusations by his contemptible opponents on the left and right. The representatives of the Deep State – Schumer, Pelosi, Obama, McCain, Graham, Kristol, CNN, NYT, Washington Post, MSNBC, Soros, and anyone else willing to confront Trump are met with disdain, contempt, and abuse from the president. I love that he continues to go on the road and hold rallies with the people who elected him. I love how he demoralized his opponents by giving one of the best State of the Union speeches in history.

I love how he put his opponents back on their heels by accusing Obama of wire-tapping Trump Tower. No punch is taken without two being thrown. He will never conform to the way the liberal corporate media and his opponents want him to behave. Twitter is the dagger he uses to avoid the fake news media filter and plunge into his opponents hearts. The faux journalists despise his use of Twitter. When you see the violence beginning to break out between Trump haters and Trump supporters, and read stories about Obama leading an insurgency to undermine Trump’s presidency, every normal person must be prepared to do whatever necessary to support his radical agenda of draining the swamp.

“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”H.L. Mencken

The fake news media scoffed when Trump declared what an awful economic mess Obama had left after eight years of a debt fueled Keynesian failure of epic proportions. These fake journalists are good at looking stylish, speaking in serious tones, and reading false narratives written for them by their corporate bosses, but impartially assessing our economic situation is beyond their pea brain comprehension.

The eye opening chart below shows you how far we’ve come since 2000, or how far we’ve fallen, depending on your point of view. It looks to me like Trump has been handed a bucket of shit by his egotistical sociopathic boastful predecessor. Obama can now concentrate on his true passions – his NCAA pool and golf – while Trump is left to try and clean up a $20 trillion mess.

The Bush and Obama administrations frittered away any chance for a sustainable long-term economic paradigm by fighting unnecessary wars of choice, expanding unfunded entitlements, and allowing Wall Street and their Federal Reserve puppets to fraudulently pillage the nation’s wealth. Trump has been left with a debt saturated stagnant economy with rising interest rates and declining corporate profits. This is where reality meets slogans like Make America Great Again.

This is where understanding what happens during Fourth Turnings keeps you focused on what is likely to happen, not what you wish to happen. Slogans and false hope don’t fly during Fourth Turnings. My natural skepticism kicks in when politicians, including Trump, make promises that are mathematically impossible.

I know we are less than two months into his presidency and no legislation has actually been submitted, let alone passed, but impartially assessing his wish list of economic priorities makes me uneasy. I’m not hubristic enough to declare his presidency a failure already, like Karl Denninger, Paul Craig Roberts and some other blowhards. Judging a man before he’s actually done anything tells me more about the judger rather than the man being judged.

He has certainly made some questionable cabinet choices and the number of senior advisors with ties to the Vampire Squid on the Face of America (aka Goldman Sachs) is worrisome. But whenever my doubts about Trump’s agenda begin to surface, I immediately picture the crooked globalist Deep State tool Hillary Clinton making the State of the Union speech last week. And all is well with the world again. My mental funk would be a full blown suicide watch level depression if Crooked Hillary was running the show.

US Debt and Budget

But that isn’t going to keep me from pointing out the mathematically provable impact of his plans on the budget. We already have a $20 trillion national debt, with 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 years old every day for the next decade. Annual deficits are already on automatic pilot to reach $1 trillion over the next few years. This is reality. Slogans won’t change it. Hope won’t change it. Delusional optimism by consumers won’t change it. With this backdrop, Trump has proposed the following economic initiatives:

  • He’s vowed to not touch entitlements, even though they account for 50% of current spending and will grow to 60% over the next ten years.
  • He’s vowed to rebuild the military, with 50,000 more soldiers and upgrades to fighting hardware, at a cost north of $50 billion.
  • He’s floated the idea of a $1 trillion infrastructure plan.
  • The border wall will cost between $15 and $25 billion.
  • His tax reduction plans will add between $2.6 trillion and $3.9 trillion, after accounting for increased growth, over the next decade.
  • His much discussed tariffs on foreign produced goods may result in jobs staying in America, but will surely result in higher prices for people buying those goods. Whether this will be a net positive or net negative is open to debate.
  • With inflation beginning to accelerate, interest rates will rise. A 1% rise across the yield curve would result in an additional $200 billion per year in interest, a 50% increase from the current level of $400 billion.

Discretionary spending only accounts for 15% of the entire budget. There isn’t savings anywhere near the level of spending increases baked into the budget, let alone Trump’s new grand spending plans. If Trump gets everything he has proposed, without touching entitlements, he would depart in eight years with a $30 trillion national debt and an entitlement crisis just over the horizon. Of course, the likelihood of reaching $30 trillion in debt without triggering a global financial catastrophe beforehand is about as likely as Trump making a sobbing apology to Obama for accusing him of wiretapping Trump Tower.

As I stated at the beginning of this article, I am less sure about just about everything, as time goes on. Every day I see pronouncements from people I respect like David Stockman, Chris Martenson, Peter Schiff, Jim Rogers, Marc Faber and many others predicting a great crash in the immediate future. They will be right eventually, but they’ve been saying the same thing for the last five years. I agree with their reasoning, but I’ve given up on predicting the timing. They all have one thing in common – their living depends on you buying their newsletters and books. Certainty about looming disaster sells. Since my living doesn’t depend on selling anything, I’m comfortable pondering possibilities and trying to understand how the mood of the country will ultimately propel the unfolding events of this Fourth Turning.

Trump has been referencing the 16% rise in the Dow since his election as proof his proposed economic policies will create millions of jobs, 4% GDP growth, and a new economic boom. That seems a little bit disingenuous, as during the debates and on the campaign trail he said the stock market was a giant bubble. He said the Fed had created multiple bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate with their QE and ZIRP “Make Bankers Rich Again” schemes. Of course, he was right.

His honesty was refreshing. When an extremely overvalued market rises another 16% over a four month period, one might ponder whether we’ve got a blow-off top in progress. Certainly the brainless spokesmodels on CNBC or the bevy of Bloomberg stock shills paraded on camera to bloviate about why this seven year Fed induced bull market is just getting started, will not be telling Joe Sucker to sell.

Any honest financial analyst, who has taken a Statistics course in college, knows whenever something is 2 standard deviations beyond the mean you have a rarely occurring extreme outcome. In fact, the average stock has only been more overvalued one time in stock market history – 2001. Since that market overvaluation was solely driven by dot.com stocks, median stock valuations today are even higher than 2001. This isn’t opinion or survey data.

Doug Short and John Hussman have used impartial valuation metrics which have been accurate for over 100 years. These valuation levels are 160% above historical norms and imply a market crash of 50% to 60%, which would only bring the market back to historical averages. I wonder how many Boomers and GenXers could survive the third stock market bust in the last seventeen years.

The cock sure Wall Street analysts are as smug about this market as they were in 2000 and 2007. They scoff at the possibility of a 50% crash even though the market crashed by 45% in 2000/2001 and plummeted by 51% over a sixteen month period in 2008/2009. As usual, there are a myriad of ridiculous rationales for why it’s different this time. There will always be absurd justifications for outlandish valuations made by those whose paychecks depend on the greater fool theory.

John Hussman, Doug Short, Robert Schiller, and dozens of other rational thinking, honest, data oriented people are right. But that doesn’t mean the market won’t go up another 20% before the inevitable collapse. I have no idea when it will happen, but it will happen. Considering we are in year nine of a twenty year or so Fourth Turning, with the worst part yet to come, I’d venture a guess we will see the next financial crisis during Trump’s first term.

The nattering nabobs of nonsense at the Fed and in the financial mainstream press insist their monetary machinations over the last eight years have not created inflation. They clearly believe in the theory of the bigger the lie, the more likely it is to be believed by a math challenged, technologically distracted, normalcy bias ridden populace. Anyone who thinks the $3.5 trillion of QE money was to help the people on Main Street is either a government bootlicker or an establishment crony paid to spread false propaganda. In addition to the BLS under-reporting inflation by 100%, the Fed’s monetary inflation was pumped straight into the veins of the monetary drug addict Wall Street banks.

While Main Street wages declined and senior citizens have gotten minuscule increases in their life sustaining Social Security payments, the Wall Street bankers, who committed the greatest control fraud in world history, have gotten record bonuses and the freedom to fake their profits through legal accounting fraud (mark to fantasy).

The purpose of TARP, QE and ZIRP has been to sustain, enrich, and keep in power a ruling class of sociopaths hell bent on pillaging the last vestiges of global wealth from unsuspecting citizens. Jamie Dimon believes everything done by the Fed and Treasury has been wonderful, as he plays tennis in his $5 million opulent NYC penthouse suite. Meanwhile, your granny has to decide between her overpriced heart medication or groceries driven higher by the Fed generated inflation.

I don’t know when the center will give way. I don’t know when the stock market will crash. I don’t know when the Federal’s Reserve and other central banks’ shamefully reckless and illegal monetary machinations will blow up the world. I don’t know whether Trump will succeed or fail in his quest to drain the swamp. I don’t know whether the Deep State forces will take him out. I don’t know whether a civil war is on the horizon. I don’t know whether a global military conflict is in the offing. I don’t know when this greater depression will be revealed in all its glory to the millions of people with their heads up their asses in denial about reality. But, I do know whatever happens during the remainder of this Fourth Turning will be driven by debt, global disorder and civic decay, just as it has from the beginning.

I don’t know what the hell is going on. And more often than not, I don’t care anymore. I’m tired of howling at the moon, with no result. Life gets put into perspective when a family member is struck with a totally random health issue and you have to see them suffer through treatments that make them sicker than the actual condition. I know times are going to get much tougher. I have no misconceptions Trump can somehow reverse the course of the US Titanic after it has struck the iceberg of debt.

I believe what’s wrong with this country is unfixable. I think Trump’s legacy will be the tearing down of the corrupt, decrepit, self-serving, evil status quo. His in your face, no holds barred style so angers the established social order; they come out of the shadows to fight him. The sinister intelligence services and Soros/Obama left wing terrorists are being revealed as the true enemies of the common people. We know our enemy. That’s the first step.

I will do my best to get my kids through college debt free as long as they pursue a serious degree. I will continue to pay down my mortgage debt as quickly as possible. I will try to deal with my own health issues and help my wife deal with hers. We will take care of our aging mothers. Family will always come first. We’re only on this earth for a short time and while I get intellectual satisfaction from trying to change hearts and minds through writing, the only thing that truly matters to me is my wife and the futures of my three sons.

I’ll prepare to the best of my ability for the worst, while trying to enjoy the present. Over the last nine years we’ve created a dysfunctional family of internet misfits on my website. I feel an obligation to keep that alive, especially for the talented writers who have blossomed with an open platform for their views, even though my own enthusiasm has been waning for a while.

I’ve tried my best to seek truth, reveal government deception, and generally be a thorn in the side of the establishment. Based on Mencken’s definition, I’m a dangerous man to the government, who has spread discontent among those capable of thinking things out for themselves. You may not realize it, but the war has already begun. No matter what the hell is going on, I sure hope the good guys win.

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.”H.L. Mencken

Caught On Video: Radioactive Wild Boar Roam Fukushima

With humans long gone, and robots dying off amid the radiation, Fukushima has become home to 'something else'.

When the exclusion zone was set up almost exactly 6 years ago this week – with the surrounding towns population evacuated to a safe distance – The Mirror reports that hundreds of the wild boars, which have been known to attack people when enraged, descended from surrounding hills and forests into the deserted streets.

Now they roam the empty streets and overgrown garden's of Japan's deserted seaside town of Namie, foraging for food.

However, the people of Namie are scheduled to return to the town at the end of the month, which means the bloody-toothed interlopers have to be cleared.

"It is not really clear now which is the master of the town, people or wild boars," said Tamotsu Baba, mayor of the town.

 

 

"If we don't get rid of them and turn this into a human-led town, the situation will get even wilder and uninhabitable."

Reuters reports that more than half of Namie's former 21,500 residents have decided not to return and face the wild boars, however, a government survey showed last year, citing concerns over radiation and the safety of the nuclear plant, which is being decommissioned.

Wild boar meat is a delicacy in northern Japan, but animals slaughtered since the disaster are too contaminated to eat. According to tests conducted by the Japanese government, some of the boars have shown levels of radioactive element caesium-137 that are 300 times higher than safety standards.

Authorities in the town of Tomioka say they’ve killed 800 so far, but officials there say that’s not enough, according to Japanese media. The latest statistics show that in the three years since 2011, the number of boars killed in hunts has grown to 13,000 from 3,000.

But at town meetings earlier this year to prepare for the homecoming, residents had voiced worries about the wild boars.

"I'm sure officials at all levels are giving some thought to this," said Hidezo Sato, a former seed merchant in Namie. "Something must be done."

Why not send in some robots? Oh wait you tried that!

Republicans’ Consumer Confidence Is At 9 Year Highs (Democrats Not So Much)

Bloomberg’s consumer comfort index surged to the highest level since its peak in February 2007. However, while Republicans are the happiest since 2008, Democrats’ confidence is collapsing…

 

But the divided America is extremely evident. Republican consumers in America have not been this ‘comfortable’ since January 2008, Democrats are the least ‘comfortable’ in 10 months.

The last time Democrats’ consumer comfort plunged like this
relative to Republicans was in September 2013, when President Obama
authorized the use of force against Syria (over crossing his chemical
weapons red line).

Why Force Parents To Keep Their Children In Failing Public Schools?

Via Duane of Free Market Shooter blog,

The nomination of Betsy DeVos was fraught with criticism from the left.  She was derided for having “no experience with public education, no political experience, no government administrative experience,” and her support for school vouchers/charter schools, among many other things.  Notably, most of the criticism came from educators, many of them members of the teachers’ unions, who have had many years and more than enough funding to fix failing public schools, with little (if any) success.

Which all begs the question – if your student is enrolled at a failing public institution, why should he/she be forced to remain enrolled there?

Recently, someone shared the experience of “Madeline” (the mother of a Philadelphia school student) and “Steve” (the student himself).  Their names have been changed for the purpose of this article, which as Madeline explains, is more than likely necessary, so they do not face reprisal from public school educators and administrators.  For her and her son, having a choice has meant the difference between years wasted in a failing school, and a real chance at a real education.

Madeline and Steve, both African Americans, live with Madeline’s husband in West Philadelphia, where most families are hard working but underpaid by any standard.  Steve attended John Barry Elementary School (Grades K-8) from Kindergarten through 3rd grade.  They both described the school as “terrible,” among several other less than savory terms.  Every day there were fights, with girls pulling hair out, and kids would turn over desks/chairs before running through the halls while class was in session.  Teachers would try to break up fights, but would more often call security, who would remove the offending student.  If the issue couldn’t be resolved, parents would be called, who wouldn’t always show up to take the child away.  If teachers took away phones from students who used them during class, they would curse at teachers and administrators with little fear of reprisal, sometime assaulting teachers.

Security consisted of one police officer.  Lockers were not considered safe, and oftentimes items left in them would be stolen by other students.  The food was considered to be “awful” by Steve, and the bathrooms were filthy, with urine on the floor and by the drains.  Classes were approximately 30 students each, with the principal changing every year.  Notably, Steve was academically ahead of his classmates – most of the students did not want to be in school, and were extremely disruptive.  Steve had one good teacher, but he noted that the teacher had difficulty actually teaching anything, since there were so many disruptive students.  Steve stated his only positive experience from the school were his field trips to a farm and a circus.

If you look at the performance of John Barry Elementary School, you can see this for yourself.  Reproduced below are the PSSA charts for Grade 3 (the one grade listed that Steve was in attendance for), and unsurprisingly they are far below the SDP average. 

Also below is the teacher attendance for John Barry, which is far below the SDP average as well.

Madeline (unsurprisingly) did not want to keep Steve in John Barry, seeing it as a hostile environment to not just learning, but Steve’s safety, and his development as a person.  She feared that leaving him in this school would bring out the worst in him, and that could lead him to a life of crime or worse.  Madeline put her son on a waiting list to get into a charter school, later finding out that only 1 of every 3 applicants were accepted, and she believes some schools have a lottery.  Her son got into Mathematics, Civics, & Sciences Charter School of Philadelphia (K-12), courtesy of two friends’ cousins who used to teach at the school.

Her son said that from the day he got to the school, he was actually learning.  The kids were all serious, and not playing around.  The teachers were “not soft, striking fear into unruly students,” and the students subsequently respected the teacher and wanted to be productive.  The teachers, in turn, trusted the kids, but there is still far more security, with one guard in each hallway.  The principal frequently interrupts classrooms and asks students what they are learning, sometimes having “guests” present to evaluate the teachers.  The most positive experience that Steve shared is the teachers are “top notch,” and he feels he is finally learning something at school.

It’s not all perfect for Steve though – the school doesn’t have a gym, and not a lot of sports and physical education are available.  There is a basketball program, but the school needs to use facilities at other schools.  Still, that was the only negative relative to John Barry that MCS Charter had in everything that was discussed.  A recent article in Philly.com which described a similar charter school in Northeast Philadelphia was described by Madeline as “very similar” to her experience with MCS.

Finally, Madeline was asked about Betsy DeVos – if she know who she was (she did), and of the criticisms that were sent her way.  Her answer was brief – “the criticisms are true – she doesn’t know much about public school.”  But then she added, “would anyone really want to know more about John Barry, besides how to get their student out of the school?”

Which brings me back to the criticisms lobbed at DeVos, again by HuffPo.  They quoted some things the DeVos said in March 2015 at the SXSW conference in Texas.  Some excerpts:

Government really sucks. And it doesn’t matter which party is in power. Having been around politics and government my entire adult life, I have five observations about government for you:
 
Government tends to believe in top down solutions and government fears of bottom up solutions.
 
We don’t pay teachers enough, and we don’t fire teachers enough.
 
In that one sentence, I have raised the ire of both the Republican and Democrat political establishments.
 
The Republicans don’t want to pay our best teachers enough, and the Democrats don’t want to reform tenure laws. It’s another partisan standoff.
 
But I am willing to bet that every one of you had one or more teachers who made a big difference in your life, who opened your eyes to possibilities and to opportunities. You probably recall them in your mind’s eye right now.
 
And likewise, I am pretty sure that every one of you had one or more teachers who should not have been teaching. That doesn’t mean they were bad people, or maybe they were, but regardless, they weren’t any good at teaching. You are probably thinking of those teachers right now.
 
And by the way, teaching is hard. It takes a lot of skill. Not everyone who tries can do it well. We need to admit that and act accordingly.
 
We should reward and respect great teachers by paying them more, and we should stop rewarding seniority over effectiveness.

As it applies to education, you would be hard pressed to find Madeline not in agreement with DeVos.  Top-down solutions to education and government (read: teachers’ union) fears of bottom up solutions to education have led to a public school system that is behind the curve in nearly all examples.

This is not hyperbole – the US spends approximately $115,000 per student, which is fifth globally, behind only Austria, Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland.  But throwing money at the problem has not led to increased performance, as the Pew Research Center recently analyzed – our students score similar to the Slovak Republic, which spends less than half, at $53,000 per student:

What a surprise – a PISA report has noted the following:

…among OECD countries, “higher expenditure on education is not highly predictive of better mathematics scores in PISA.”

We can reasonably conclude that instead of trying to throw money at the problem, it appears Betsy DeVos intends to “fix” the public school system by giving parents a choice of where to send their students to school.  She appears prepared to use the exorbitant cost of public education to finance this choice, and forcing all schools financed with public dollars to become far more accountable for their own performance.  Who ends up the big loser?  Obviously, failing public schools – if enough students leave the failing schools behind, they will be forced to shutter their doors.

It should be of no surprise then, that teachers’ unions are fighting charter schools at every turn.  A recent Forbes article did an exemplary job of dissecting their opposition:

Teachers’ unions often fight charter schools by claiming that they are less accountable to students and families because many operate under less burdensome regulations than do traditional public schools. The real reason for their opposition, of course, is that charter school teachers are not unionized. The reality is that charter schools are much more accountable to young people and their parents than are traditional public schools. If parents do not like their children’s charter schools, they can send their kids elsewhere. This threat of exit gives charter schools an incentive to raise the quality of the education they offer in order to retain students.

 

Despite union scaremongering, the verdict is in on charter schools: The public favors them 2 to 1. Among African Americans, who are arguably the biggest beneficiaries of alternative schooling options, the favorability ratio is greater than 3 to 1. Even public school teachers desert the union position on charter schools by a slim margin—38% of teachers favor them, and 35% are opposed.

With a favorability rating of 3 to 1 among African Americans, the ethnic group with the largest percentage of students in failing public schools, it should be quite surprising to learn that the NAACP opposes charter schools.  Recently, the NAACP ratified a controversial resolution calling for a moratorium on expansion of charter schools, and stronger oversight of charter schools currently in existence.

Publications ranging from U.S. News to The National Review have struggled to answer this question:

The NAACP board will vote this weekend on a resolution urging a moratorium on the creation of new charter schools, on grounds that they worsen segregation and erode local control. This is not a new position for the nation’s oldest civil-rights organization, but it’s gotten more support than ever before — for example, from groups such as those affiliated with Black Lives Matter — and has drawn thoughtful repudiations by the New York Times and the Washington Post as well as the Wall Street Journal. As the Post’s editorial board noted, “that the beneficiaries of [charters] are, in large part, children of color hopefully is not lost on an organization that is supposed to be looking out for the interests of minority people.”

But Education Week said what no one else would:

“The African-American community was shut out of power and authority for so many years, even if African-Americans see the warts on the local district, it’s their district.”

So something else needs to be said, because no one else has said it: if you want your failing public school, you can keep your failing public school – no one is forcing anyone to put their kids into a charter school.  But do not take away the option for someone else to remove their child from a toxic environment, and make their own choice on whatever they feel is the best place to send their children to school.

Betsy DeVos wasn’t brought in to enact more “reforms” or toss more money at what appears to be an unsolvable problem – instead, it appears she intends to do something that no one else has done in the past – give more students a choice of what to do with their education.  The criticisms about her are all correct – she isn’t well versed in public school education, something she readily admits, but knows that it is failing our country’s students, no matter how much time and money has been spent for who knows how long to repair it.  Isn’t a new approach long overdue?

Take note – former President Obama sent his kids to Sidwell Friends, a private school in the D.C. area.  And who can blame him?  D.C. public schools recently ranked dead last in the nation.  Why should the rest of our nation’s students be given a “one size fits all” approach to public education, when that “one size” is a well-funded yet underperforming public school system?

 

South Korea’s President Has Been Removed From Office After Court Upholds Impeachment

South Korea’s constitutional court has voted unanimously, 8-0, to uphold the impeachment of President Park Guen-hye, removing her from office after a 92-day leadership crisis and triggering a presidential election in the weeks to come. A snap election my be held within 60 days.

The ruling, which was announced by the court’s acting chief and televised live, made Park the nation’s first democratically elected leader to be ousted. She was impeached by parliament on Dec. 9 on charges of letting a close friend meddle in state affairs, colluding with her to extort money from conglomerates, and neglecting her duties during a 2014 ferry sinking that killed more than 300.

The court’s decision strips Park of her immunity from criminal prosecution, which will force her to undergo interrogation by prosecutors over her alleged crimes.


President Park Geun-hye (R) and Lee Jung-mi, acting chief of the Constitutional Court

“The Constitutional Court’s decision is equivalent to demanding legal accountability for President Park’s failure to properly run state affairs,” said Yang Seung-ham, honorary professor at Seoul’s Yonsei University. “Now the public should accept the ruling.”

The nation has been sharply divided along ideological and generational lines since the scandal broke in October, pushing millions of people into the streets to rally for or against the impeachment.

Park’s problems began in October, when revelations emerged about the influence Park’s confidante and adviser Choi Soon-sil had over the President. Choi is currently on trial for abuse of power and fraud. What followed later was 5 months of at times sheer chaos (see full timeline below) culminating with today’s decision.

Local media and opposition parties had accused Choi of abusing her relationship with the president to force companies to donate millions of dollars to foundations she runs. She denies all charges against her.

Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans braved the brutally cold winter temperatures to take to the streets of Seoul and call for Park’s ouster.

In a brief televised apology however, Park made it clear that she had no intentions of resigning. In December, the National Assembly voted 234 to 56 to impeach her.

Park was impeached in December after being accused of corruption. She is alleged to have let her close confidante Choi Soon Sil meddle in state affairs and conspired with her to extort money from major companies including Samsung.

Local pundits cited by Yonhap said the court’s decision demonstrated that South Korea’s democratic system is firmly in place. “We have undergone a process of resolving considerable conflict and differences in a predictable manner through legal procedures stipulated in the Constitution,” said Park Myoung-kyu, a sociology professor at Seoul National University. “Now is the time to calm down and turn (the conflict) into policy debates and arguments.”

The president’s supporters and detractors rallied outside the court as police officers and police buses were deployed to prevent a possible clash.

* * *

Below is the full timeline of the Park scandal:

October

24 – South Korean cable TV network JTBC reports that Park’s longtime friend Choi edited some of the president’s speeches. Prosecutors were already investigating claims that Choi had used her relationship with Park to raise funds for two foundations.
25 – Park apologizes on national television, saying Choi had access to dozens of presidential speeches before they were made public.
29 – Thousands of anti-government protesters gather in Seoul, calling for Park’s resignation. Organizers estimate the crowd at 20,000; police put attendance at 9,000.
31 – As Choi arrives at the prosecutors’ offices, following a two-month stay in Germany, she apologizes, saying she has committed “an unpardonable crime.” Late that night, prosecutors place Choi in emergency detention.

November

1 – Prosecutors raid the offices of eight banks. Choi is suspected, among other things, of getting preferential treatment from local banks for loans.
2 – Park nominates a new prime minister, Kim Byong Joon, a member of an opposition party, in a bid to quell the controversy.
3 – A South Korean district court issues an arrest warrant for Choi. Kim, the prime minister-designate, says Park could be investigated, saying, “Everyone is equal before the law.”
4 – Park again apologizes on TV, saying she will cooperate in the investigation.
5 – Thousands of protesters take to the streets of Seoul to demand Park’s resignation. Organizers say about 100,000 people participate; police put the number at 40,000.
6 – Prosecutors issue warrants for two of Park’s former aides, AnChong Bum and Jeong Ho Seong, who both resigned the previous week. Prosecutors continue to question Choi.
8 – Prosecutors search the offices of electronics giant Samsung. Park says she will withdraw her nominee for prime minister.
12 – The biggest protest yet takes place near the presidential palace in Seoul. Organizers say 500,000 people participate; police put the number at 190,000. Protests are planned in 40 other cities in South Korea and abroad.
13 – Prosecutors say they plan to question Park.
17 – South Korea’s parliament passes a bill to open up an independent enquiry into Park’s friendship with Choi. The legislation seeks 60 investigators and a special prosecutor to lead the case.
19 – Protestors again gather in Seoul.
20 – Prosecutors say Park is likely to have played a role in the corruption scandal but that they cannot indict her, as the country’s constitution guarantees the president immunity “except in cases of insurrection or treason.”
21 – The country’s largest opposition party says it will take steps to begin impeachment proceedings against Park.

December

1 – South Korea’s ruling party pushes for Park to resign in April, saying presidential elections planned for the end of 2017 could be brought forward to June.
2 – The country’s three opposition parties say they will vote December 9 on impeachment, even if Park announces a plan to resign. Park plans to meet with members of her own ruling party over the weekend.
3 – Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators march within 100 metres of Park’s official residence.
6 – Park says she won’t immediately resign if impeached. Five thousand South Koreans file a lawsuit demanding compensation from Park for mental suffering caused by the scandal.
9 – Lawmakers including members of her own party vote to impeach Park
16 – In a 24-page document, Park’s lawyers argue that there is no legal foundation for her removal.
19 – Park’s influential friend Choi Soon Sil goes on trial on charges of abuse of authority and attempted fraud.

January

3 – The first open hearing in Park’s impeachment trial is held. As expected, she does not attend.

February

17 – Samsung heir Lee Jae Yong is arrested over bribery allegations linked to the corruption scandal.

March

9 – Lee denies bribing Park and Choi on the first day of his trial
10 – The Constitional Court upholds Park’s impeachment