Michelle Rhee Fired on Civilians in Fallujah?


if you can read this, thank a teacher

Sally Kohn's bio at The Huffington Post begins: "Sally Kohn has been called 'the progressive answer to Glenn Beck.'" A specimen of her handiwork posted at today proves she deserves the title, and then some.

Topped by the utterly exhausted headline "Can You Read This? Thank a Teacher," what starts out as a pretty typical "teachers are under-appreciated and underpaid" piece quickly jumps to some fine bizarro-Beckian conspiracy blackboarding. Big business "wants to hoard even larger shares of our national wealth" as part of its "all-out assault on government." A key player in this evil scheme is devil's handmaiden and former head of D.C. school Michelle Rhee (read all about her here). The equation is simple, you see:

Teachers want to improve our nation's public education system. Big business and people like Michelle Rhee want to destroy public education and government as a whole and reap greater profits for themselves. 

But the award for ad hominem non sequitor of the day goes to….

Rhee is blaming teacher's unions to disguise her real agenda—privatizing our nation's public education system so that big business can make a dime off your children. (It's no accident that Rhee is linked to the vehemently anti-public education Betsy Prince DeVos, whose brother Erik Prince founded Blackwater.)

Note the fine use of the weasel word "linked" there. The primary link between Rhee and DeVos is: They agree that teachers unions are too powerful. As such, they are both affiliated with various groups working to reduce union power. Such a link is indeed "no accident." They agree on a policy position! Conspiracy!

As for the connection between school reformers and disgraced military contractors, you have to get pretty deep in the anarcho-libertarian weeds before a discussion about limiting the influence of teachers unions veers into endorsement of private provision of defense services. Trust me, I've spent a lot of time in darkest depths of the libertarian jungle and I've never once glimpsed Michelle Rhee (or Erik Prince, for that matter) in the foliage plotting an all-out assault on government.

Via alert reader Sparky.

NEXT: Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on More Bailout Baloney from General Motors

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  1. Trust me, I’ve spent a lot of time in darkest depths of the libertarian jungle

    I’m sorry, Katherine. You were kidnapped by Warty and tied up in his basement? Actually, “kidnapping” is too strong a word. How about “surprise adoption”?

    1. I call it cuddletime.

    2. It still amazes me that the liberals who lived through the Bush years still can’t see the perils of big government.

      1. The same applies to many “conservatives” who lived through both the Clinton and now Obama administration.

        1. Clinton was a fucking anarchist compared to Obama!

      2. It still amazes me that people cannot understand how liberals, who expouse a political philosophy embracing big government, are completely enamoured of big government.

    3. I’m pretty sure that is going to be DSK’s defense. It wasn’t rape, it was “surprise sex”. Which is different.

  2. “Can You Read This? Thank a Teacher.”

    Other than the fact that I could read before I set foot in a school, that’s golden.

    “Teachers want to improve our nation’s public education system.”

    The evidence for that is, what, exactly?

    I guess I am linked with Blackwater, too.

    1. Night Elf Mohawk|5.19.11 @ 2:19PM|#
      “Teachers want to improve our nation’s public education system.”
      The evidence for that is, what, exactly?
      obviously not you

      1. Noted: OO’s only response is snark, because he has no answer to the substantive question.

        In other words, situation normal.

        1. whtever i went to pubic school adn i can read & right just find

          1. Also, OO claims to have been in the military at some point. I can’t imagine how he passed the ASVAB. I’m not saying that the test is hard, but he would presumably have had to sign his own name, read the questions, occasionally understand a question or two and fill in the bubbles, etc. Something about that doesn’t add up.

            1. You must have missed the Beavis and Butthead episode where they just filled in random dots, handed in the test before the teacher was through giving the instructions, and wound up in the gifted class. Wow, I’m also seeing a parallel with our current president.

              1. you and the donald eh?

                1. The military doesn’t require that recruits be rocket scientists, but they do have to be minimally literate. You are not minimally literate. Ergo, it does not follow that you were in the military.

                  1. great i’ll let top know. the reds are in town this weekend!

                    1. great i’ll let top know

                      It doesn’t surprise me that you’re a bottom.

    2. When do you carry out your covert raid on the public schools!

      1. Dibs on the #2 pencils.

        1. Ha! The joke’s on you! No more standardized tests!

          1. Darn. And my son just finished his MCAS.

    3. My first thought too. Does she think that parents are incapable of teching their kids to read (or letting them figure it out on their own)? Some people really do believe that nothing gets done without government doing it. Ugh.

      1. incapable of teching their kids

        RC’z law!

        1. I blame spell checkers that cannot divine my intentions. And my parents for not teaching me to type properly.

      2. sitation plz

        how many kdis woudl read witout govt

        1. IK,R?

    4. y’know what? My fucking parents taught me how to read! Some of my teachers taught me some valuable stuff, but many of them taught me fuckall and some of them taught me lies.

  3. The government is going to collapse from within anyway and needs no help from without.

    Silly Person.

  4. so rhee is for outsourcing education, devos is for outsourcing defense, the libtarians for outsourcing govt, & im for outsourcing faux noise. soon we’ll be outsourcing the outsourcing.

    1. Devos? Are we not men?

    2. Now “outsourcing” means any employment outside of the government? Awesome.

  5. Step 1. Destroy public education and government as a whole
    Step 2. ???
    Step 3. Profit!

    1. Step 2: Organizations based upon peaceful means of exchange and contract rise up to replace the gap that the government once filled.

      1. You, sir, are worse than than (get ready to drink) HITLER !

    2. 2 let poor poeple die

    3. Step 2: Hire people to work in your monocle sweatshop for a pittance since they’re illiterate and thus unqualified for other work.

  6. Oooh, I get to be alert reader Sparky.

    1. Still not as good as ‘beloved commenter’

      1. One man’s beloved commentator is another man’s thread terrorist.

        1. HEY NOW!

  7. Teachers want to improve our nation’s public education system. Big business and people like Michelle Rhee want to destroy public education and government as a whole and reap greater profits for themselves.

    You would think that the same teachers who allegedly introduced Ms. Kohn to her critical thinking skills would have also taught her to avoid begging the question.

    1. Public schools don’t teach critical thinking.

      1. Ms. Kohn disagrees:

        I can’t help but think that our teachers, who worked so hard to instill critical thinking skills, must be very disappointed in all of us.

        Student, I am disappoint.

        Now excuse me while I go picket on a schoolday.

  8. WTF is “our national wealth”?

    1. Teachers!

    2. All property is public property in this lady’s diseased mind, apparently.

      1. Quite a few of them think this way. And thus it’s easy to refer to “expenditures in the tax code” and other nonsense, such as this.

        1. Yeah, a mindset in which a deduction in the tax code is a “subsidy.”

    3. Duh. You didn’t think it was yours, did you?

    4. The Children if I recall my Swift correctly.

  9. Nothing says, “We want to make schools better,” than vehemently opposing every substantive change to public education ever voiced.

    1. no these corprate school just want to make prophet on our children. this is just an other case of wall st taking over mane st

      1. Please tell me it’s your speech recognition software that’s doing this.

        1. thats par for the coarse a round here. u reply with ad homo and nothin with any subbstance

          1. HOMOPHOBE!!!!

            1. Actually coarse – course is a homophone.

              1. “Actually coarse – course is a homophone.”
                And OO has got to be a sock. Too much of an archetype.

        2. that’s the outsourced me sparky.

          1. stop spooofing me, ahole

            1. If it was prolefeed, haole would be the better spelling.

  10. Teachers want to improve our nation’s public education system.

    I believe that is somewhere around number 1,341 on their list of goals.

    1. 1. Guaranteed pension
      2. Tenure
      3. Summers off
      999999999. Provide a good education

      1. There are plenty of teachers who care primarily about education. Mostly the ones who could be making more in a different career. Not all teachers like the teachers’ unions.

  11. The first rule of Teacher Club is: you teach the importance of Teacher Club.

    1. That is awesome.

    2. The best part of being a teacher is the eternal martyr complex.

      1. Don’t steal my schtick.

  12. Is it just me, or does it seem that every liberal-(insert name of most hated conservative pundit) is worse than the conservative counterpart?

    1. nah just you

    2. Like coffee/beer shit and vegetarian shit, they stink all the same.

      1. Subtlety is lost on you.

        1. Who needs subtlety when you’ve got a sledgehammer?

          I happen to own seven. True story.

    3. I dunno; Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity are pretty bad.

      But yeah, I suppose they don’t make me want to hurl and punch something as much as Keith Olberman.

    4. I generally watch Fox news because I can pretty much judge their slant and correct for it. One night I tried watching Ed Shultz just to get the other side’s POV, I think I lasted 10 minutes before I gave up. That shit is so far over the top you can’t adjust it down to normal.

    5. I don’t understand why, if liberals think conservatives commentators are such insane idiots, they feel such an intense need to make their own equivalent versions of them.

  13. I’ve never once glimpsed Michelle Rhee (or Erik Prince, for that matter) in the foliage plotting an all-out assault on government.

    Just proving you are part of the KKKonspiracy! Amirite? Amirite?

  14. “Teachers want to improve our nation’s public education system.”

    Their revealed preference, given their support for teacher’s unions, is that they want to improve their pay and work fewer hours.

    1. Their revealed preference, given their support for teacher’s unions, is that they want to improve their pay and “work” fewer hours.

      There, FIFY.

  15. I feel bad because I have a 16 year old and a 10 year old working their way through the public school system. I only wish I could afford to send them to private schools but that sort of thing can’t be allowed around here.

    1. athletic, err – make that an academic scholarship

    2. You feel bad? I hear they are schooling two year olds now.

    3. Homeschool.

      I send my child to private school. But if I couldn’t, I wouldn’t hesitate to homeschool them.

      Anything is better than subjecting them to the public propaganda school system.

      1. Kinda hard if you don’t work from home.

        However, you can also school them in the evening such that they get ahead of the class.

        “Quality family time” = “teaching your kid math and science”

  16. Shrieking BS like the example from the linked story is pretty much the norm among my lefty friends on FB.

    1. Tell me about it.

      (off-topic I know…)



      Me: How so?


      Me: “That guy shot himself and was carrying his gun illegally. If he wanted to shoot your kids, he would have done it and this law would have made no difference. How would allowing licensed individuals to have handguns made it worse?”


      Me: “When was the last time a concealed carrier started a shootout?”


      ME: “In Arizona, there are no licenses. Anyone can carry a gun at any time. This is Texas. The law you refer to is about easing restrictions on *licensed* carriers who have passed a safety course and background checks.”

      Them: “SAME THING!”

      Me: “No, it’s not.”


      … and on and on…

      1. The whole gun debate resonates with me because I did, if not a 180, about 135 degree turn. In a mushy way i sort of bought the guns are icky, the 2nd amendment is for militias stuff. Then I moved to Maine, bought my first .22 handgun (Ruger Mark II), learned about the 2nd Amendment and what it means to freedom, joined the NRA…and now I cannot stand the “guns are icky” people.

        1. The day the “icky” crowd takes power, you can count on being lined up at the wall before me. The zealots hate no one more than a heretic.

          1. What do they do to you once you’re on the wall?

            1. I heard STEVE SMITH also thinks guns are icky…

            2. No one said anything about flamethrowers being “icky”, did they?

          2. To be fair, the ones who make lists of people who will be first against the wall tend to favor gun rights.
            You have to give Marxist nutjobs credit for at least being consistent on that point.

            1. Really? I must not have gotten the memo to submit my entries.

              You-know-who didn’t compile a list, he just used the ones from the “guns are icky” Weimar govt.

    2. I feel your pain. I haven’t checked yet today, but I imagine at least 2 or 3 such friends have posted links to the HuffPo piece, along with some enthusiastic expressions of agreement.

      1. Personally, my Facebook people often link to Tom Friedman and EJ Dionne and nod approvingly, too.

        1. Krugman. The Facebook hordes love Paul Krugman.

          1. Oh hell yeah. I forgot about him, but they sure do.

            1. For some reason, I imagine most self-described hipsters worship at altars of Krugman hidden in their closets that are full of trendy expensive bullshit while listening to whatever godawful horseshit these kids dare classify as some sort of music these days…

              Damn….couldn’t figure out a way to shoehorn Donkeyshit into that tirade.

              1. You forgot to add “get off my lawn” too.

              2. Sorry, Drax, but the correct word, as you should have learned, if your teachers were doing their jobs, is ‘Krugshit’.

            2. Looks like y’all need a better selection of FB “friends”.

              Mine usually post pics of their kids, or links to Onion articles, or write about what they did that day – “Mexican and margaritas! Yessss!”


              I post my libertarian political rants and I get the occasional “like” from maybe one, maybe two people, no comments.

              I’m sure they’re all sort of rolling their eyes and pretending they don’t see it. “Oh, there goes ol’ crazy so and so ranting about socialism again…”

      2. I tend to block or even delete friends who get overtly political. There are more important things to discuss – beer, music and er…

    3. I feel your pain. I haven’t checked yet today, but I imagine at least 2 or 3 such friends have posted links to the HuffPo piece, along with some enthusiastic expressions of agreement.

      1. **obligatory condemnation of fucking squirrels**

        1. heh heh heh

      2. The crazy thing is – it’s not a HuffPo piece. It’s a Fox News piece. Fox News PAID this woman to write those words.

        1. That’s not crazy, that’s smart. “Here, to present the opposing perspective, is a self-propelled strawwoman.”

  17. the progressive answer to Glenn Beck

    A kinder, gentler, *leftist* screaming-idiot?

    1. Glenn Beck isn’t a screaming idiot. I can’t recall a time I’ve ever heard him scream at all.

      1. Crying idiot then

  18. “Can You Read This? Thank a Teacher.”

    Um, my parents taught me to read. I could read rather well before I ever went to school for book larnin.

    1. My 9 year old sister taught me how to read and do 4th grade math when I was 3. Basically, you don’t even need an adult to do the job.

      The only thing an adult teacher can do than a child can’t is this: get someone to believe in the patently untrue.

      1. Yeah, my five year old sister taught me to read when I was three. One way or another all four of my siblings and all three of my kids also could read before they started school. OTOH, my husband’s parents left it for the public schools to do; somehow, family and teachers managed not to notice that he didn’t learn. He says he finally figured it out on his own at 14, when he got a job doing banquet set-up at the local Hilton and had to follow diagrams that included some written instructions.

        1. This is why I always say that the quality of schools and teachers is secondary at best in educational outcome. Parents are what really matters. If you have parents that care about education and aren’t stupid themselves, you can go to the shittiest school in the world and come out just fine.

          1. Agreed. I mean, my husband was never even read to as a child, which is unimaginable to me; most of my earliest memories involve books. It takes a level of apathy and indifference that I really can’t fathom to deprive yourself and your children of that experience.

            1. My parents taught me to read around three years old. To this day I am a voracious reader, and pretty good writer. My wife didn’t have the same experience with reading in her childhood. Although now her reading comprehension is good, her writing is attrocious. As far as what public school taught me, it taught me that I hated fucking public school! Thats why I flunked out of college after my first year (I couldn’t stand going to class any more!) However, today I just submitted the final project for my final class, and I am graduating with a degree in Finance. It only took 21 years…

              1. I’m in the same boat. I made it to 11th grade before I stopped caring and flunked a few classes. Got yelled at by the parents and cleaned up my act as a senior then flunked a couple classes my second semester in college. I just started taking night classes two years ago and should be done with me AS in another two years (22 years after high school).

                1. *my AS*

                2. Good luck, Sparky!

                  1. Thanks for the well wishes. Even without a degree in anything I’m in a decent job making decent money which I guess just further proves that higher education isn’t really necessary. Just nice to have the piece of paper when someone higher up eventually asks for it.

                3. Well, seeing as how I had a verbally abusive mother, good grades were always kind of an affirmation of my self worth. Of course that made me into a big nerd, which subjected me to even more abuse from the other school kids. it’s all kind of a vicious cycle, isn’t it?

          2. The first couple weeks of every school year we get bombarded by handouts the kids bring home. The most common headline on them is “The most important part of your child’s education is you.” So I think to myself “No shit? Why am I sending them to school again?”

    2. I tried to learn to read before I started school, but my parents made me stop. I shit you not. My parents were public school teachers, by the way.

      1. I totally believe this. My oldest daughter had a kindergarten teacher who was distinctly unappreciative of her ability to read. It seems she’d learned to read phonetically, and this particular school believed that was the wrong way to read. I gently pointed out that since her reading comprehension was excellent the concern seemed unwarranted. She attended first grade elsewhere.

        1. My son’s grammar and literacy skills actually dropped after his first two years of public schooling. Because they tried to make him “re-learn” the “right way” to read.

          One of the reasons I got him out of the public schools.

    3. sure theydid

  19. ‘Sequitur’, KMW. What, spellcheck aint a do a no Latin? I blame poor public schooling.

    1. stulta, violavisti linguam Romanorum

      1. Yale is like Harvard for retards.

        1. Hear that, John Kerry and George W.?

          1. Were they into that whole “Yale thing?”

  20. “When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”

  21. Rachel Tabachnick over at the Talk 2 Action website has a running series of articles on DeVos and her efforts to destroy public education and bring about her grand evangelical theocracy here in America. According to her conspiracy the Libertarian think tanks and Rhee have been seduced into this plot. It seems that there is no point to charter schools, the children don’t do any better, there is no true grass roots effort to reform schools and this is all just DeVos, Kochtopus propoganda to privatize public education and/or send every child to evangelical schools so they all become moral, upstanding folks who think the Dinosaurs died in the Great Flood. By her telling all Libertarian policy analysts are either too stupid or too blinded by their zeal to realize the DeVos agenda and are helping bring this about because the just hate government. Whoever this clown is at HuffPo it seems she took it almost all from this Tabachnick, who is pretty hardcore on this notion that there is nothing to school reform but the DeVos money.

    1. It’s much easier to believe that your side is without question on the side of the little people when all opposition comes from giant right-wing conspiracies.

      1. That’s a “no true Scottsman” argument as well. Any black leader who is for school choice is an uncle Tom. Any notable education officials favoring vouchers have been bought off by the big corporations. By definition you must be for compulsory public education run by the government if you are a true and decent human (and not a right-wing nut job).

    2. devos should be satisified w the home schooling option.

  22. What teachers should I blame for matriculating Sally Kohn?

  23. Can’t Read This? Thank a Teacher

  24. Few other professions feel the need to publicize how awesome they are.

    “Drank milk this morning? Thank a Dairy famer, and a veteranarian, and a truck driver, and a store clerk, and a grocery bagger. . . “

    1. I like it. For libertarians:

      “Caned a servant today? Thank a shillelagh maker.”

      1. no, no, no.

        “Can you read this? Thank your monoptometrist.”

        (“monopterer”? “monoclier”?)

        1. I’m thanking my harem of literate concubines.

          No, sadly, I’m not.

      2. I always thought a shillelagh was more like a club. Wouldn’t that make it:

        “Bludgeoned a servant today?…”

    2. If I were a teacher I would beg to privatize education, so I could spend my time teaching instead of protesting. Also so my salary and what I was allowed to teach wasn’t determined by politicians and people who vote for them (repeatedly demonstrated to be the two most loathsome, idiotic demographics in the country).

      1. Of course, that assumes that, as a teacher, I was interested in teaching.

        1. And that as a teacher you weren’t beholden to that nice, fat pension. Amazing how quickly ideals die when you only have 30 years to full salary defined benefit retirement. Unless married to someone of significant means, it would be very difficult to support any school reform that threatened that pension if you were on the job more than 5-10 years.

          1. I still cannot for the life of me understand why there aren’t Americans with torches and pitchforks outside of every statehouse demanding these defined benefit pensions come to an end immediately.

            1. Number of government employees in the US potentially eligible for government pension, including active and reserve military: ~7 million.

              Not including current retirees.

              ( very approximately: 4 million civilian, 1.5 million active military, 1.5 million reserves – Wikipedia)

              Next question?

              1. So, roughly 2% of the working adult population (my math may be a bit off) can financially hold the rest of the nation hostage?

                Shit, it’s less than that since there are no CBA’s for those in the military and the reserve. The civilian ones are managing to demolish virtually every state budget in the nation and almost all of the other 99% sit idly by and shrug their shoulders.


    3. You ask me if I have a God complex? Let me tell you something. I AM GOD!!!

    4. “Masturbated to internet porn today? Thank an IT professional!”

      1. but who do I blame for my carpal?

  25. The woman’s guilt-by-association theme should probably be logically extended to all Amway representatives. They generate all the money for the DeVos family, whose relationship to the Blackwater mercenaries consequently makes every customer of private label skin cream or seaweed supplements or shitty detergent culpable for the murders of innocent brown people and the expansion of the Great Evil Corporate American Empire.

    I mean, I’m not totally against that reading. I don’t believe in the Devil, but if there is one, he is extremely fond of Multilevel Marketing companies. I am an ardent believer in the free market… but MLM must be the Dark Side of the force, or something… Bizarro Capitalism. And yet… they actually seem to provide real value in developing markets and promote/enable genuine entrepreneurialism, despite also bilking most people for up-front cash they never recoup. Amway might be SatanCorp, but for all their ickyness, there’s actually at least *some* sort of semi-redeeming/socially beneficial aspects to their quasi-cultish-corporatist-scam thing.

    Should this story have the disclosure that Amway donates to the Reason foundation? I don’t know if they do, but I assume they would. Don’t all Evil Billionaires do?

    1. The Bin Ladin family is one of the most successful building contractors in the middle east. So it is no accident that pretty much anyone who has built a high rise in the middle east over the last thirty years is linked to the century’s most notorious terrorist.

  26. Things teachers carer about|5.19.11 @ 2:45PM|#
    “1. Guaranteed pension
    2. Tenure
    3. Summers off

    And break-dancing. Don’t forget that!…..462251.jpg

  27. “Sav are teacher”

    Mangu i think is unappreciated as one of the best propagators of choice images and alt texts here at reason.

    Even without consideration for lobster girl, which she gave us, Katherine is consistently good.

    1. This is one thing that happened in one school. And does it really have anything to do with the school being public? I’m as opposed to government provided schools as anyone, but there are plenty of relevant criticisms of public education without reaching for tangentially related stories like this.

      1. I wasn’t criticizing public schools in general as much as I was just pointing out a stupid story. Insomuch as parents and students from the story talking about the principal using the hypnisis to calm students before finals and stress levels and all that bullshit, I say grow up and get used to stress, because unless you’re Terri Schiavo, you’re gonna have to deal with stress every day.

        1. nice writing

          lemme guess – private school

          1. Your rite, urine. That post was all most as bad as won of you’re postes. Thanks you four pointed it out too me. oh-and nice punkshooashun in you’re reply

            1. Even the parody hurt my mind. Thank god for reasonable.

          2. There exist an entire universe of stupid floating inside of your mind. None of which has obtained anything resembling self awareness as of yet and most likely never will.

    2. As a Californian, I must thank some deity for creating Florida – otherwise the stupid on this side of the country would just tip the whole thing over.

  28. I think it is funny (well, outrageous and depressing if I’m honest) that so many people like this woman think that big business is opposed to government in any significant way. Big business is, to a significant extent, as big as it is exactly because of government regulation and subsidies. Do they seriously think that big business doesn’t want it’s workforce educated at other people’s expense? How is it in any businesses interest to have a poorly educated workforce?

  29. The only thing an adult teacher can do than a child can’t is this: get someone to believe in the patently untrue.


  30. It is no accident that Al Gore is linked to unibomber Ted Kaczynski.

    Wow this game is fun

  31. muh nam iz wil shaksper an ay lyke two thanc mi ol publik schul marm fur lernin mi how too rite.

    1. Whatever, dude. We both know the truth.

  32. This must mean Kevin Bacon is the most dangerous single person on the planet.

    1. I lol’d

  33. “business “wants to hoard even larger shares of our national wealth”

    When someone starts off by yapping about “our national wealth”, they can be summarily dismissed as a socialist twit and ignored as such.

  34. Curiously enough, teachers didn’t teach me to read. My parents did. By the time i was four.

    1. Ah, but they taught, so they were teaching, which makes them teachers.

      1. Where’s my pension, then?

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