Monday, June 28, 2010

Antione Green is Coming Aboard


I am excited to announce that Antione Green will become a featured columnist blogger on Policy Diary. Beginning in August Antione will write monthly on issues surrounding education policy, Virginia politics, and voter education.  

Currently Antione is CEO of Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, a charter school based in Richmond, VA set to open in July 2010. Patrick Henry will be only the fourth charter school in the commonwealth of Virginia. Back in April Antione spoke with us about the K-12 challenges Patrick Henry is prepared to face.

In March he resigned as president of the Richmond Crusade for Voters, a nonprofit civil rights organization with an accomplished history in Virginia politics. Antoine also ran for office in the June 2009 Democratic primary in House District 69.

Policy Diary is ecstatic to have Antione come aboard, and readers will no doubt benefit from his expertise and encyclopedic knowledge of politics in the commonwealth of Virginia.


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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Governor McDonnell Signs Charter School Legislation


Earlier this week, in an appearance at Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed legislation (HB1390 and SB737) that according to his administration "strengthens Virginia’s charter school laws and will put Virginia in the vanguard of the national charter school movement." Policy Diary readers will remember that Patrick Henry CEO Antione Green stopped by previously to give us his thoughts on the school's July opening and changes in K-12 education.

Governor Bob McDonnell (center)

Also Pictured (L to R):
1st Row: Bryan and Connor (Soon-to-be students at Patrick Henry School of Sciences and Arts)

2nd Row: Delegate Joe Morrissey (D-Highland Springs), Delegate Rosalyn Dance (D-Petersburg), Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Pat Wright, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-Woodbridge)

3rd Row: Senator George Barker (D-Alexandria), Senator Steve Martin (R-Chesterfield)

(Photo Courtesy of Michaele White, Governor’s Photographer)




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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

McChrystal Knows Better

General McChrystal certainly knows the chain of command. He's served for decades in the military and has done so valiantly. So why the loose lips now? Why, in a Rolling Stone interview set to be published the second week of July, would he denigrate Obama and his Administration's senior leadership?


McChrystal's first meeting with Obama:
According to sources familiar with the meeting, "McChrystal thought Obama looked "uncomfortable and intimidated" by the roomful of military brass.
McChrystal's first one-on-one meeting with Obama:
It was a 10-minute photo op," says an adviser to McChrystal. "Obama clearly didn't know anything about him, who he was. Here's the guy who's going to run his fucking war, but he didn't seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed."
McChrystal's future is certainly tainted whether he stays or goes. The press is alleging that McChrystal has offered his resignation, but he hasn't even arrived at the White House yet for his formal meeting with Obama, Secretary of Defense Gates, and others. There will be much more to this story, certainly. On CNN earlier today Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) stated that McChrystal has had "three bites at the apple" and has essentially used up his goodwill. However the decision to keep him in command was entirely Obama's to make.

At this point the political implications loom quite large. For one, while McChrystal did not seem to differ with the Administration on actual policy, the tone and temerity of the statements suggest that there is disagreement if not in detail then at least in perspective. And two, Obama can't really afford either. I think Obama should allow McChrystal to stay in command until after the midterm elections and reassign him after.


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Friday, June 4, 2010

Obama's Reaction to the Oil Spill

There's really two ways to look at Obama's reaction to the gulf oil spill. One, by how many resources he's actually deployed. And second, the perception of what he's done and how it will politically play out. Here, I want to focus on the second benchmark.

Gloria Borger, CNN analyst and usually astute political watcher, has this to say about the perception of Obama's oil spill reaction:
All of which leads to President Obama. He was elected because he is cool, calm and analytical. That's what we wanted to see after George W. Bush, so we made him president. But now the disaster in the Gulf has made many of us want to see someone else -- with plenty of anger, emotion and bravado. We want him to yell at BP. We want him to loudly tell us he's whipping the cleanup effort into shape. We can't tell BP ourselves, so we want him to do it for us. Fair enough. But that's not the person we elected.

So we want him to morph into something he isn't -- which is exactly what we hate about our politicians. We want him to be another Barack Obama, an actor. Maybe we want him to be George Bush with the bullhorn after 9/11. Only he isn't.

And he isn't the first president to have his empathy gene questioned, either. Remember Bush 41, who had to flatly tell us, "Message: I care," when we didn't think he did care? Or his son, who had to declare his concern for the Gulf Coast when playing catch-up on Katrina.
There is one president, of course, who never had to be prodded into the empathy zone: Bill Clinton. He felt our pain all the time. Last week, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell put it this way: "If Bill Clinton was president, he'd have been in a wetsuit, trying to get down to see the spill." He's right, of course, but think back for a moment: That's exactly what Americans came to distrust about Clinton. By emoting too much, they never knew what to believe. What was real and what wasn't?

Perception is important, of course. Maybe if the president had gone to the Gulf sooner -- and met with fishermen instead of functionaries -- we would have eased up on him. Surely we would have felt better. It's important for a president, as a leader and national pastor, to let Americans know he gets it, so an early trip to the Gulf matters. That's why the White House sprang a leak-a-thon when it told reporters that the president had gotten angry in private, telling advisers to just "plug the damn hole." Message: I emote.

But the real problem, of course, is that the "damn hole" isn't getting plugged, with junk or anything else. The oil continues to spew out of the well, a daily reminder in the corner of our cable screens that there is something out of control that we cannot yet stop. And Obama rightly suffers: As president, he's in charge. He's the one who told us he wanted to preside over a smart government that can work. And he finally accepted responsibility for dealing with the mess last week, and we approved. But the hole remains unplugged.

So as the oil continues to flow, Obama sent Attorney General Eric Holder to the Gulf to announce massive criminal and civil investigations into the disaster. The president himself now tells us almost daily that the spill is his highest priority, as is the cleanup. And his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, responded to a question about the president's emotional state by saying, "I've seen rage from him."

Good to know, I guess. But if Obama were full of rage, he wouldn't have been elected.
True to form, we want it all. We want a leader who can feel our pain while rising above it. We say we don't trust government, but we look to it for answers and cleanups. And we elected Barack Obama. Now we want to change him.
I think Borger hits the nail on the head. Obama can't be all 'emotions' to all people. A classic example is a "Law & Order" episode with a seemingly grieving wife or spouse who is deemed not to be grieving enough. How much is enough? And if we truly have a disdain for political actors, then why are we treating this situation like political theater? As Borger points out, the one thing Obama has been throughout his presidency thus far is consistent. At least from an emotional standpoint. We know where he stands. Are we willing to accept that?


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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Quote of the Day - iPad Sales Just Starting

"Even if iPad sales treads water from here on out (not likely), we’re looking at 10 million units moved in calendar 2010. Assuming an average selling price of $700, that $7 BILLION in new revenue. That doesn’t even count app or accessory sales. To put that in perspective, the entire netbook market in 2009 did only about $11 billion in revenue. Think about that. In less than a year, a single product by single company will match the entire global revenues of every single netbook sold on the market. It’s amazing to think some of you will still be proclaiming the iPad will be a failure because not every single living person on the planet will buy one."
                                                            - Lava (GigaOM forum user)

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Need Experience? We're Looking for Interns

We are looking for interns. Preferably college graduates or students but we will accept offers from enterprising high school students as well. Interns need not be located in Richmond, VA.

Policy Diary will contact your school to confirm if credit can be earned. Monetary payment is not available at this time.

Additional bonuses include gaining experience in the social media space, networking with professionals in your field of interest, writing opportunities, and editing responsibilities.

Duties will include: completing research (i.e., factchecking) for op-eds and blog posts, using social media to extend the Policy Diary brand, transcribing audio and video interviews for the site, and increasing the amount of submissions of original content.

Please contact us at submissions@policydiary.com or on Twitter @policydiary.


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Does competition add value in education?
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