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It's not often that you hear of a child raised in New York City longing to become a park ranger in Yellowstone National Park. Yet for Sean MacGuire Reineke, a high school senior at Beekman High School, this dream is becoming a reality. Sean was born in Lithuania and brought to the United States at the age of four. Though Sean had difficulty grasping the English language at first, he quickly surmounted this challenge and has excelled in many endeavors, both scholastically and creatively. Currently, Sean is taking advanced English courses at his high school where he is inspired by an animated teacher, James Vescovi: "We do everything from "Romeo and Juliet" to James Hanley. We just read the book "The Dragon Can't Dance." My teacher is very wonderful. He's so nice and he's so lively and he's Italian- he just has this vibe where everyone in class just enjoys [the lesson] and we just come in and he has coffee waiting for us. No one does that and it's just amazing because we sit down and everyone talks to each other and it feels great and the vibes are amazing." Sean describes many of the teachers at Beekman as influential figures in his life: "They all helped influence me to follow my dreams and none of them said that I should focus on something that can make me more money." In a society where class and status are emphasized, it's not often that students are encouraged to pursue their dreams, no matter how unconventional they might be. The small class sizes and seminar-style settings have helped Sean feel at home and in an environment where people genuinely care about his interests and well-being. In the fall of 2015, Sean will be starting school at SUNY Cobleskill. With the motto: "Real Life. Real Learning," SUNY Cobleskill encourages students to immerse themselves in hands-on fieldwork and internships to help them secure employment after graduation. At Cobleskill, Sean plans to concentrate on courses that are related to nature, from zoology to botany to wetlands to biology. Sean is most looking forward to working in a fish hatchery, as well as study abroad opportunities that will bring him to Hawaii and the Galapagos Islands. He is also excited to be in a rural environment with likeminded peers who have had different backgrounds: "I've always been a kind of country kid. I've never really been interested in the city and I've always wanted to go out and see more of the countryside. I think that me, a city kid, going to college at Cobleskill will be very interesting because not a lot of kids from NYC go to college there. Not only can I tell my stories, but [the Cobleskill natives] can tell their stories to me about what their life is like." From Lithuania to New York City to Cobleskill, New York, Sean has had an interesting journey. His interests in nature and the outdoors have grounded him and pushed him to pursue the career of his dreams at a school that emphasizes education through experience. As the old (and very corny) adage says, if his future were any brighter, he would have to wear shades. #

Jacob M. Appel's incredible résumé almost suggests he knows all about the worlds of the diverse figures who appear in his award-winning fiction - without their bizarre, eccentric and peculiar behavior, of course. Appel's latest story collection, Einstein's Beach House, shows just how wide and deep he can go in exploring different kinds of characters -men and women, young and older - all acting out the overall theme that some situations in life prompt some people to make absurdity the norm.  Appel's characters easily go from semi-rational to downright loony. The irony is that though the more rational characters yield to odd behaviors in their loved ones, because they want to please them, to sustain if not enhance their relationships, they wind up buying in to the ridiculous, only to find that at the end, funny-cuckoo has become sad-pathetic, and they are left with ambivalence, if not isolation and aloneness. In the title story, "Einstein's Beach House," a knock-out tale of narrative ingenuity that yokes opposite and discordant qualities, the father who starts a con that Einstein summered in the bungalow his family has owned for decades, come to believe in the details he made up.     

The brilliance of Appels' conceptions is not only that he taps into so many weird psyches in story after different story (there are eight tales here), but that he signals content by style. It's a dry, matter-of-fact style, full of expressions of oddball free associations. In just one sentence Appel can pull off a sequence of non-sequiturs, disjointed comments or observations, that sometimes contain sly hints of criticism about a society that promotes or tolerates fads and fantasies. In "La Tristesse Des Des Hérissons [hedgehogs]" the narrator goes to visit a "veterinary psychiatrist" who had been featured on the cover of New York Magazine, whose office "was located only blocks from the nursing home where Adeline's mother sat expressionless at the end of a musty corridor, periodically calling out lessons that she had memorized at Miss Porter's, where she'd once shared a swimming locker with the future Jacqueline Kennedy." In "Limerence" [look it up] the narrator speaks of her parents as liberal Republicans of the Rockefeller variety "who went to synagogue twice each year to worship a benign, munificent God who cared passionately about SAT scores." Or, from "The Rod of Asclepius" --"My aunt is away for the weekend with her new boyfriend, a veterinarian, who will soon become my Uncle Conrad, and will later become my former Uncle Conrad, and will eventually move to Florida and open a theme park featuring exotic animals."

Appel is a master of dazzling metaphors, witty, literary allusions, and just-right sentence rhythms. Beginnings are priceless: "We'd been living together for eight months when we adopted the hedgehog" (from "La Tristesse); or from "Strings" -- "Rabbi Cynthia Felder was newly married, and in her pulpit only six months, when a former lover [once "the most gifted musician ever to vend hot dogs at Yankee Stadium"] asked to borrow the sanctuary" (he wants to put on a concert for 400 cellos). Situations are immediately wacky or strange: In the opening story, two girls sneak into the basement of a sex offender while the father of one of the girls tries to befriend him, to the dismay of his neighbors. In another story, a young woman kidnaps her ex-husband's turtle and presses her lover, a failed ventriloquist, to assist in his upkeep. In the last story, "Paracosmos," the mother of a girl who had an imaginary friend falls in love with the imaginary friend's imaginary father and then suspects her own husband of having an affair with the imaginary mother.  Depression hovers at the edge of all the tales, but the affectionate lunacy tends to keep things light.

Who crafts such a clever literary cornucopia?  At 42, Dr. Jacob M. Appel has already acquired seven masters degrees from Ivy League universities in several disciplines: English and American literature, history, creative writing, bioethics, playwriting  - not to mention a medical degree (Columbia), a law degree (Harvard) and a position as practicing psychiatrist at Mount Sinai . He is also working on a Ph.D. at Columbia on the history of American [psychiatric] medicine. It's likely there's more.  How Appel finds time to write such entertaining and moving fiction  (previously published in noted literary journals) is a mystery, but as Keats might say, why unweave a rainbow?


According to statistics, a child born into the lowest quartile of income has a 9 percent chance of attending college compared to children born into wealthier families, whose chance of college attendance rises to 85 percent. Those at the College Bound Initiative (CBI) have been working tirelessly to alter that fact.

Established in 2001 by Ann Tisch, CBI is a coeducational college guidance program that stems from the Young Women's Leadership Network (YWLN). Since its inception, the program has assisted nearly 7000 students in enrolling to college and has generated more than $265 million in financial aid. "I thikk this is a fabulous organization," says CBI board member and former NYV public school principal Gertrude Erwin, "this model is unique because we have full time counselors working with the students to get them into college. We have a tremendous success rate."

On May 28, CBI celebrated the 2014-2015 high school graduates with the help of three of the most recognized names in entertainment, culinary arts and real estate: actress, hip hop artist, and writer Queen Latifah, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and famously, founder of restaurant chain Shake Shack, Danny Meyer and Chairman of Global Brokerage and real estate magnate Stephen B. Siegel.

The class of 2015 has much to be proud of, with graduates going on to enroll at some of the nation's premier educational institutions including New York University, Franklin and Marshall College, Columbia University and Cornell, among many others. Many student stories were shared, including that of Ghanaian Mark Manu, who is the first of his family to go to college. Manu credited his counselor Ms. Daly for helping him through the immigration process and helping him to secure a green card so he could apply to college. In the fall, he will be attending Gettysburg College with a full scholarship.

A student at Health Opportunities High School in Bronx who will be attending at NYU in the fall to study early childhood education, said that CBI made it possible for her to pursue her dreams. "The best thing was my advisor, Mr. Thomas. It was wonderful to have the opportunities that my parents were not able to have when they were young to be able to have an education and be able to attend college," she said.

Each of the honored guests praised Ann Tisch and congratulated the graduating class. "This experience makes me feel that maybe I didn't appreciate the privilege I had," said Danny Meyer, "... I am so grateful for the opportunity to be part of this incredibly powerful program." When asked what steps one should take to become successful, Stephen Siegel summed it up eloquently with "education, education, education".  Finally, Queen Latifah took the stage to thunderous applause and cited her mother, who attended college when Latifah was a child, as her primary inspiration. "Be prepared for people who will say you can't do it," Latifah advised, "and make sure you don't believe them. Latifah went on to sing praises of the program and thank the counselors. "I'm very proud of the students who worked so hard to get to this point...each of these students is worth the time and the effort and the money," she said.

Tisch commented on the success of the celebration and the organization as a whole when she said, "I think this shows the struggles, but more important the success that these kids have because of the work that they do and the work that CBI is doing."

Currently, CBI is available to 13,000 students across 24 schools throughout New York City. Approximately 80 percent of CBI graduating seniors will be the first to attend college in their family. #

By Dr. Allen Frances
There are three consistent research findings that should make a world of difference to therapists and to the people they treat.
First, psychotherapy works at least as well as drugs for most mild to moderate problems and, all things being equal, should be used first.Second, a good relationship is much more important in promoting good outcome than the specific psychotherapy techniques that are used.Third, there is a very high placebo response rate for all sorts of milder psychiatric and medical problems. This is partly a time effect- people come for help at particularly bad times in there lives and are likely to improve with time even if nothing is done. But placebo response also reflects the magical power of hope and expectation. And the effect is not just psychological- the body often actually responds to placebo just as it would responded to active medication.
These three findings add up to one crucial conclusion- the major focus of effective therapy should be to establish a powerfully healing relationship and to inspire hope. Specific techniques help when they enhance the primary focus on the relationship, they hurt when they distract from it. 
The paradox is that therapists are increasingly schooled in specific techniques to the detriment of learning how to heal. The reason is clear- it is easy to manualize technique, hard to teach great healing. I have, therefore, asked a great healer, Fanny Marell, a Swedish social worker and licensed psychotherapist, to share some of her secrets.
Ms Marell writes: "Many therapists worry so much about assessing symptoms, performing techniques, and filling out forms that they miss the wonderful vibrancy of a strong therapeutic relationship.
Thinking I can help someone just by asking about concerns, troubles, and symptoms is like thinking that I can drive a car solely by looking in the rearview mirror. Dreams, hopes, and abilities are seen out of the front window of the car and help us together to navigate the road ahead. Where are we going? Which roads will you choose and why? It surely will not be the same roads I would take - we are different- we have to find your own best direction.
If we focus only on troubles and diagnosis, we lose the advantage of capitalizing on the person's strengths and resources. If I am to help someone overcome symptoms, change behaviors, and climb out of difficult situations, I need to emphasize also all the positives he brings to the situation. Therapy without conversations about strengths and hopes is not real therapy. And often most important: Does the patient have a sense of humor? Laugh together! Be human. No one wants a perfect therapist. It is neither credible nor human.
Symptom checklists and diagnoses play a role but don't give me no understanding of how this person / patient understands his world and her troubles. And don't drown in manuals, missing the person while applying the technique.
People come to me discouraged and overwhelmed- their hopes and dreams abandoned. Early in our time together, I ask many detailed questions about how they would like life to change. What would you do during the day? Where would you live? What would your relationship to your family be like? What would you do in your spare time? How kind of social circle wood you have? By getting detailed descriptions I get concrete goals (eg I want to go to school, I want to argue less with my parents, spend more time with friends).
Almost always, working with the family is useful; sometimes it is absolutely necessary. What would be a good life for your child? How would it affect you?
Sometimes are dreams are big, perhaps even too extravagant; sometimes they are small and and perhaps too cautious. But dreams always become more realistic and realizable when they are expressed. Sharing a dream and making it a treatment goal helps the person make a bigger investment in the treatment, and to take more responsibility for it. He becomes the driver and the therapist may sit in the back seat".
Because my first conversation is not just about symptoms and troubles, we start off on a basis of realistic hope and avoid a negative spiral dominate only by troubles. Problems have to be faced, but from a position of strength, not despair and helplessness.
Having a rounded view of the person's problems and strengths enriches the therapeutic contact and creates a strong alliance.
Thanks, Ms Marell, for terrific advice. Some of the best natural therapists I have known have been ruined by psychotherapy training- becoming so preoccupied learning and implementing technique that they lost the healing warmth of their personalities.
Therapy should always be an exciting adventure- an intense meeting of hearts and minds. You can't learn to be an effective therapist by reading a manual and applying it mechanically.
I would tell therapists I supervised never to apply what we discussed to their next session with the patient, lest they would always be a week behind. Therapy should be informed by technique, but not stultified by it.

Le Poisson Rouge, located at 158 Bleeker Street, New York NY, is proud to present a Nepal Relief Concert featuring some of the most esteemed names in jazz. The concert will begin at 7:00 PM and run until 11:00 PM. The cost to attend is $25 and $15 for students with ID. All proceeds will be donated to UNICEF and Handicap International. Reservations can be made online by visiting www.lepoissonrouge.com or by calling (212) 505-3474.

11236474_10205949170260872_3783136205959574603_n.jpgFollowing the catastrophic earthquake in Nepal, flautist Jamie Baum, Manu Koch and others resolved to organize a benefit concert, and in consultation with the founder and organizer of Jazzmandu, Navin Chettri, reached out to bands who had performed at the festival as well as other allies in the jazz community. The night, hosted by WBGO's Simon Rentner,  promises a wide variety of delights: the ever-intriguing compositions of Claudia Quintet; KJ Denhert's funk and soul, Joel Harrison and Anuparm Shobhakar's mix of North Indian classical music and jazz; Goonj's earthy Indian-based groove music, Beat Kaestli's French-flavored jazz vocal; Pawan Benjamin's visionary saxophone immersed in Nepalese traditions; and the renowned mother/son Laugart team leading their Cuban quartet. These eight bands, five of which have performed at Kathmandu Jazz Festival (Jazzmandu), will perform for approximately twenty minutes each.

Two of the bands will feature jazz legend Dave Liebman, honored guest on soprano saxophone. Liebman has listened to and been inspired by Indian music since the 1960's and has played on the continent several times with his own groups. 


Pola Rosen (PRimage.jpg): Where did you get the idea for the first play, "Jack In The Box"?

Celeste Makoff (CM): I wrote it when I was 16 and a student at Interlochen, which is a performing arts boarding school. I had to turn something in for a class and I remember I wrote down a few words I really liked, with one of the words being 'box'. I've never written a play like that since but I came up with the idea and wrote it one sitting.

PR: Did the concept of that play come from any trigger in real life?

CM: At the time I didn't know it but definitely. I wrote it while my parents were splitting up. It wasn't intentional, but now I see it.

PR: What are your thoughts on the play?

Jonathan King (JK): What drew me to the play was that everyone has their own boxes where were box ourselves off. I also was drawn to the idea of confession- confessing to someone who can't confess or push back against what he's been given. It just struck me.

PR: Where did you two meet?

CM: We met in California. We worked together for the first time on a show named "Dissonance".

PR: One of the things that I was thinking about was that the only thing that got Jack out of the box was a bribe- something that he wanted to own that he didn't have and that made him lift off the cover. What is your sentiment about bribery in life? What is your message about material things?

CM: I think as you're growing up you realize that material possessions don't mean as much as non-material possessions. For me, a big part of getting older was realizing that gifts from people don't mean anything if the relationship is incomplete.

PR: The other thing that came to me was the use of confessions. He's in this box and then suddenly he hears these confessions and all these things come out about people. Were you privy to that in your life?

CM: Yes, I find that people open up to me pretty easily and share things with me. I also think that most people who are growing up with parents who are separating get caught in the middle. It's so easy to get caught up with that at that age.

PR: What's your perspective on what she's writing about?


JK: I actually share the experience of receiving gifts and confessions. I think that there's something about growing older and realizing that what you want is not what you actually need. In the play, the boy wanted something else but it wasn't something he needed and in some ways, his pursuit of that sets off an unforeseen chain of events for him. I also like to think of what happens to Jack after the box- what does he do with all of this information that he didn't ask for?

PR: What is your plan for the future? Where do you see yourself in five years?

JK: We certainly want to continue collaborating. I've rediscovered directing through this experience. I have mostly been an actor but in college I spent my last year studying directing so it's wonderful to come back to the process. It fits with my intellectual pursuits. In five years I'm hoping to keep doing this- bringing works to life. I have a drive for this and to make people connect with stories.

CM: I just graduated from Tisch in January. I want to get into writing for television. I want to stay within the world of writing for theater and television because TV is a lot like theater. It's also the golden age for TV. During this process I saw that this is really what I want to do.

PR: Who is your favorite director?

JK: I admire Julie Taymor because she really brings in a flavor when she directs. It's all art direction. She has a vision and a message with that vision. It's not just the lights and the costumers are not incidental- everything has a meaning. Even when she takes previously published works she creates a whole new world.

CM: Ivo van Hove is my favorite director. Angels in America is my favorite play (with Tony Kushner as my favorite writer) and seeing his version of it at Brooklyn Academy of Music was just amazing.


"Bottled Up" runs June 5th and 6th at 7:00 PM and June 7th at 2:00 PM at DCTV Center, 1st floor, located in Tribeca at 87 Lafayette Street. 

Three Queensborough students, Kyle Chin-How, Daysi Proano and Silvia Salamone have each been awarded a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship of $40,000 per year to complete their baccalaureate degrees. They are three of 90 Scholars selected from 2,061 applications representing 540 community colleges from across the U.S.

Last year, Yueting Chen was the first ever Queensborough recipient of this transfer scholarship award. Currently she is conducting research in Genetics at Stony Brook University, taking full advantage of her scholarship and furthering her academic studies and professional ambitions. Yueting presented at Columbia University's CUSJ Undergraduate Research Conference on April 26, 2015.

The scholarship is for top community college students seeking to transfer to senior colleges so they can complete their bachelor's degrees. It is the largest private transfer scholarship and provides up to $40,000 per year to help cover a significant share of the student's educational expenses ­ including tuition, living expenses and books­ for the final two to three years necessary to achieve a bachelor's degree.

Kyle Chin-How.jpgHonors student Kyle Chin-How will graduate this spring with an Associate degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences.  He is a member of the Lambda Sigma Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and carries a 3.8 G.P.A.  In addition to being an outstanding student, Kyle is a leader and mentor both on and off campus. He is a Model Senator in the NYS Session Senate Project, has held leadership positions in the College's Student Government Association and is an intern with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). At the college Kyle established "Talk Out Loud," a student public speaking group. He is also a mentor to students of Men Achieving and Leading in Excellence and Success (M.A.L.E.S.).

Daysi Proano.jpg

Daysi Proano, a Science for Forensics major, will graduate in May with an Associate degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences. She is planning to transfer to John Jay College where she is currently taking junior courses on permit with the intent to continue her studies in the same field. 

Daysi, who has a 3.85 G.P.A. was named to the 2015 Phi Theta Kappa All New York Academic Team and is a Bronze Scholar on Coca-Cola's 2015 Community College Academic team. This past summer she was selected for a paid summer National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF REU) internship in organic synthesis at Georgetown University. This year she was awarded a similar internship in Molecular Biophysics at Princeton University. She has already completed more than 25 honors credits in Chemistry, Biology and Calculus and has presented her Honors contract and class work during the last two Honors Conferences. In addition she has conducted research under Dr. Paris Svoronos of the Chemistry Department, and has presented her findings at professional Chemistry and Biology conferences including Columbia's Undergraduate Research Symposium and Yale's MARM Meeting.

Silvia Salamone.jpgSilvia Salamone, who has a 4.0 G.P.A., is also graduating this spring with an Associate degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences. This year she was named as the first ever Queensborough Gold Scholar on Coca-Cola's 2015 Community College Academic Team as well as the 2015 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) New York Team. In 2014 she was a senator for the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and was awarded a summer internship at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (NYC-DEP).  During the academic year she has been conducting nanochemistry research under Dr. David Sarno of the Chemistry Department and has presented her research findings at CUNY's Research Symposium and at West Connecticut State University. She has also tutored biology and chemistry students at the Queensborough Learning Center. She was offered three different NSF REU paid summer internships during the summer of 2015 and will be attending the University of Connecticut.

"It is an extraordinary accomplishment that three of the 90 national scholars selected came from Queensborough," said Dr. Diane B. Call, President of Queensborough Community College. "I am thrilled knowing that Queensborough continues to be recognized for its leadership in providing a high quality education for all of our students."

Drs. Paris Svoronos of the Department of Chemistry and Emily Tai of the Department of History, who serve as co-advisors of Queensborough's Lambda Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the International Honor Society for two-year College students that solicit nominees for the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship were key players in the students' successes.

 "Students must possess more than excellent grades to qualify for this distinguished award," said Dr. Paris Svoronos, Professor in the Chemistry Department. "They must also demonstrate their persistence and dedication to being outstanding researchers, leaders and mentors. This can be evidenced by their commitment to undertake challenges such as a research project where failure serves in strengthening the individual's character."

 "Ms. Proano, Ms. Salamone, and Mr. Chin-How all embody the best ideals of Phi Theta Kappa: leadership, fellowship, service, and academic excellence.  Mr. Chin-How has distinguished himself as a leader in Queensborough's Student Government and has an outstanding, thoughtful intellect; Ms. Proano and Ms. Salamone are both talented and promising young scientists, who have also contributed critically as officers of Queensborough's Lambda Sigma chapter.  It is so wonderful to see each of them honored with the award of this important scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation!" Dr. Emily S. Tai, Associate Professor of History.

 Ranked in the top 100 community colleges among approximately 1,200 community colleges nationwide by Community College Week, the College is committed to open-admission access for all learners and to academic excellence. Queensborough is one of the most diverse campuses nationwide, with students coming from 143 different countries, speaking 84 different languages. The ethnicity of the student body is almost evenly split among African Americans, Asians, Caucasians and Latinos.  Queensborough is a critical gateway into higher education for many students who are the first in their families to attend college.

 Queensborough Community College, a college of The City University of New York, is located on a lush 37-acre campus in Bayside, Queens, New York. The College was established in 1959 on the former site of the historic Oakland Golf Club and offers a rich liberal arts and science curriculum as well as career and pre-professional courses. The College's transfer programs are designed for students who plan to continue their studies at a four-year institution. Career programs provide the academic foundation and training for students who plan to begin or advance a promising career. Queensborough offers the Associate in Arts (A.A.), the Associate in Science (A.S.) and the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degrees, as well as non-credit Continuing Education programs. More than 16,000 credit and another 10,000 Continuing Education students are enrolled at Queensborough. Nearly 70 percent of graduates transfer to senior colleges or universities, and others obtain the necessary skills for career advancement.

 The College has several Dual/Joint Degree programs with its sister CUNY institutions: Nursing with Hunter College, York College and CUNY School of Professional Studies; Biotechnology with York College; Criminal Justice, Forensic Accounting and Forensic Science with John Jay College of Criminal Justice; and Education with Queens College.

 The College is also dedicated to providing cultural and artistic opportunities to students and the community through the Queensborough Performing Arts Center (QPAC), QCC Art Gallery and the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives. 

By Dr. Allen Frances

Let's get this straight. I am a penny pincher, who hates waste and wants a lean and efficient government.
But, that said, we have to face the fact that our massive privatization of what once were government functions has been a failure. There are some public services that get really loused up when done privately and for profit. 

This is a classic mismatch of wonderful theory and disastrous practice. The privatization theory is compelling. Government is inherently bloated, lazy,wasteful, dumb, and inefficient because it does not have to face the discipline of the marketplace. Put public services up for private bidding and you will get the lower costs and greater efficiency that comes with free market competition.

But privatization practice is often a disaster. An inefficient government monopoly is replaced by an even more inefficient private monopoly that is more expensive, wasteful, and lacking in accountability or responsibility for serving the public good.
The selection of private contractors is often rife with the corruption of political sweetheart deals. The profit motive consistently trumps public interest And shareholders and executives benefit at public expense, while public services deteriorate.
Let's do a quick review of the scorecard.

Mental Health: Deinstitionalization and the privatization of community mental health centers allowed the states to off-load responsibility for the severely mentally ill so that now about 300,000 are in prison and a like number are homeless.
Medical Health: Our chaotic, profit driven system delivers poor health outcomes even though it costs about twice as much per person as the more government regulated systems in the rest of the developed world. People who don't need it get too much medical care because it is profitable to providers, while one in seven people lack any coverage at all.

Defence: We pay outrageously padded bills to private military contractors who deliver poor services with constant cost over-runs and virtually no accountability. Today's general becomes tomorrow's Raytheon vice-president negotiating sweetheart contracts.

Water: Privatizing this precious commodity has made water more expensive and private equity funds rich.
Prisons: Privatizing helped make prisons one of America's big growth industries. Lobbying for unrealistically draconian drug laws has kept the lucrative contracts coming at enormous public expense and judicial inequity.
Courts: Chronic public underfunding has led to a kind of private entrepreneurship extorting large court fees that keep defendants in constant debt. You have to buy justice now in America.

Police: The frequent inappropriate police shootings are no accident- police are understaffed, underpaid, undertrained, and underscreened. A demoralized and dangerous police force is a disaster for poorer communities that depend on police protection, no problem at all for gated communities with a private security force.
Schools: Charter schools, once a great hope to shake up our moribund educational bureaucracy, have so far failed to live up to their promise and seem destined to benefit shareholders more than kids.

The consistent failures of privatization are not self correcting. Privatization has a powerful political and economic momentum that defies logic and insulates it from public scrutiny and reform. All the leading Republican candidates for president promise more of the same- the tea party radicals would even close down the IRS, the EPA, the Education Department, and more. And countries all over Europe are following our bad example replacing their efficiently run public services with much less cost-effective private ones.

What propels privatization, despite its failures? You guessed it- money doesn't just talk, it shouts. The profit motive can be very motivating.
Enormous campaign contributions from big corporations and the super-rich (expressing their Supreme Court protected, Citizen's United, right to free speech) promote the friendly politicians who support giveaway privatization. And there is a revolving door between government jobs and industry lobbying jobs that ensures sweetheart statutes and regulations that benefit the private contractors and harm the public interest.

And behind it all the greedy folks with the really big bucks who are selfishly eager to reduce tax-supported public services because they don't need or use them.
Capitalism and private corporations were invented in the the western world four hundred years ago as a response to flourishing trade opportunities. We have since accumulated a vast experience on its pluses and minuses and on the best balanced relationship between public and private delivery of services.
Adam Smith was the father of the free market. He pointed out its irreplaceable value in providing rational pricing and an efficient allocation of goods, services, and resources.

But Adam Smith also supported the role of government in providing services that the free market could not: national defense, post office, police, firefighting, public works, health, education, justice, transportation, banking, controlling monopolies, enforcing contracts, and caring for the poor and infirm.
As Adam Smith predicted, unbalanced systems don't work. Top down, government directed economies result in rampant corruption and misallocation of resources. Free-for-all free market economies also result rampant corruption and misallocation of resources.

We have gone too far down the road of privatization and need to return to the kind of balanced economy that Adam Smith advocated. The multinational corporations and the super rich have used their vast political and economic power to evade paying their fair share in taxes. The eroded tax base cannot adequately support the public services that the public needs. Privatization is no more than a cover story for tax evasion by those who don't need public services and would greedily deny them to those who do.

Those with visual impairments experience the "Head for Titanic Memorial" by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 1922 on the Verbal Description and Touch Tour at the new Whitney Museum.

Chuck CLose.JPG
Daniel Linzer leads a discussion of the iconic "Phil" by Chuck Close, 1969.

Daniel Linzer and participants discuss "Untitled (We Don't Need Another Hero)" by Barbara Kruger, 1989.

Education Update, Inc. All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of the publisher. © 2013.