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Wed Nov 27, 2013, 05:11 PM


Frank Bruni-The Plutocrats' Pundit

Why in the Ed Forum? Because Bruni's thundered ( one might say "blundered) into the Common Core debate via his twice weekly NY Times OP-ED.

So. Who is this guy, really?

I spent some time trying to find what fancy private prep school Frank attended . You *know* he could not possibly have had personal experience with public education and still produced a column as utterly clueless as "Are Kids too Coddled?" http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/24/opinion/sunday/bruni-are-kids-too-coddled.html?_r=1& .

Well... it wasn't EZ. His bio is stripped down on Wiki. It starts w. college. Other internet bios are similarly mute on the question: "Where did he go to secondary school." For a minute.... since Frank Bruni grew up in White Plains, NY .....I thought that he just MIGHT have walked the very same HS halls as Smarmie Doofus.

But no. When google failed me, I had to sit thru an excruciating Frank Bruni-Charlie Rose interview about .... ugh.... restaurants. Mother of jesus. ( Our hero... in case you don't know.... was NYT food critic before he became an authority on CCSS, public education and child rearing). Still nothing. Finally I found a youtube video of an FB interview with his college alma mater ( Duke? UNC? I'm not sure.) No .... Frank did not name the school but did confirm that he attended " a private school outside of Hartford." ( That's a prep school folks. White Plains is two hours by car from Hartford. No one commutes four hours everyday for HS.)

So... the surprise here is .... there IS NO surprise: Bruni joins the overeducated ranks of the reform prep school glitteratti: they know about public schools because they've never set foot in one. He joins the company of Obama, Duncan, Gates, Rhee, Cathy Black, David Brooks, Jonathan Alter...... and the list , alas, goes on and on and on.

Anyway... I didn't realize that Eric Alterman had already done the rest of the work on Bruni, so I'll let him take you the rest of the way.

From Eric Alterman in The Nation


>>>>Bruni’s gift for plutocratic empathy emerged again in his next column—this one a heartfelt defense of the feelings of billionaire Michael Bloomberg. That poor fellow has been the victim of “a clutch of would-be successors appraising you with the kind of warmth accorded the Wicked Witch of the West. Ding-dong.” (You read that right: “Ding-dong.”) Now nasty “Bill de Blasio is here to wipe clean the civic memory of you.”

True, Bloomberg accused de Blasio of running a “class-warfare and racist” campaign. But what do you expect? De Blasio let the people of New York see his biracial family. And, yes, while ”income inequality in New York City has worsened during the Bloomberg years, to an extent that’s morally unacceptable and perhaps socially untenable,” and while the mayor did happen to worship “at the altar of Wall Street” during this period, so what? So did Charles Schumer and Cory Booker, and you don’t see de Blasio being such a meanie about them. This may have something to do with the fact that de Blasio happened to be running to replace Bloomberg, but that’s apparently no excuse. So maybe “more passion about the gap between rich and poor is a virtuous thing,” Bruni allows, but damn it, “making Bloomberg the heavy isn’t.” Has de Blasio no sense of decency after all?

Of course, it is perhaps a mistake to blame Bruni for doing what he was presumably hired to do. The real question is, what is the Times telling its readers by allowing him to do so?

Nicholas Kristof, also of The New York Times, is still pressing for US military intervention in Syria, as Greg Mitchell reported earlier this week.>>>>>>>>


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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply Frank Bruni-The Plutocrats' Pundit (Original post)
Smarmie Doofus Nov 2013 OP
proverbialwisdom Apr 2014 #1
proverbialwisdom Apr 2014 #5
proverbialwisdom May 2014 #7
proverbialwisdom Apr 2014 #2
Smarmie Doofus Apr 2014 #3
proverbialwisdom Apr 2014 #4
proverbialwisdom Apr 2014 #6

Response to Smarmie Doofus (Original post)

Thu Apr 24, 2014, 10:36 AM

1. Information from the U.S. Dept. of HHS: HEALTH RESOURCES AND SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (HRSA) website.


National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

On October 1, 1988, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-660) created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). The VICP was established to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines, stabilize vaccine costs, and establish and maintain an accessible and efficient forum for individuals found to be injured by certain vaccines. The VICP is a no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system for resolving vaccine injury claims that provides compensation to people found to be injured by certain vaccines. The U. S. Court of Federal Claims decides who will be paid. Three Federal government offices have a role in the VICP:

* the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS);
* the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ); and
* the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (the Court).

The VICP is located in the HHS, Health Resources and Services Administration, Healthcare Systems Bureau, Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation.

Authorizing Legislation (PDF- 497 KB)

Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund

The Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund provides funding for the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to compensate vaccine-related injury or death claims for covered vaccines administered on or after October 1, 1988.

Funded by a $0.75 excise tax on vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for routine administration to children. The excise tax is imposed on each dose (disease that is prevented) of a vaccine. Trivalent influenza vaccine for example, is taxed $0.75 because it prevents one disease; measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, which prevents three diseases, is taxed $2.25.

The Department of Treasury collects the excise taxes and manages the Fund’s investments. Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund Monthly Reports


CAREFULLY NOTE: encephalitis mentioned twice; autism not mentioned at all.


Data & Statistics

Statistics Report - April 2, 2014

* Claims (Petitions) Filed: Listed by Fiscal Year
* Claims Compensated or Dismissed with Number and Amount of Award Payment: Listed by Fiscal Year
* Claims Filed and Compensated or Dismissed: Listed by Vaccine
* National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) Adjudication Categories by Vaccine for Claims Filed Calendar Year 2006 to Present

Since the first National Vaccine Injury Compensation (VICP) claims were filed in 1989, 3,554 compensation awards have been made. Over $2.7 billion in compensation awards have been paid to petitioners, and over $110.3 million have been paid to cover attorneys' fees and other legal costs.

To date, 9,754 claims have been dismissed. Of those, 4,789 claimants were paid over $61.8 million to cover attorneys’ fees and other legal costs.


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Response to proverbialwisdom (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 29, 2014, 02:40 PM

5. Related.


John Stone writes:

At the time of Poling affair HHS HRSA officials admitted separately to Sharyl Attkisson and David Kirby:


and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr-and-david-kirby/vaccine-court-autism-deba_b_169673.html

"The government has never compensated, nor has it ever been ordered to
compensate, any case based on a determination that autism was actually
caused by vaccines. We have compensated cases in which children
exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy
may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms
including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures."

Which, of course, is bureaucratic doublespeak. And Julie Gerberding, at the time head of the CDC who moved with a barely a gap to being head of Merck's vaccine division, told CNN:


"….. if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it (vaccination) can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.”


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Response to proverbialwisdom (Reply #1)

Wed May 7, 2014, 11:57 AM

7. The timing of Bruni's article is quite the coincidence given this.

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Response to Smarmie Doofus (Original post)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 02:17 PM



The Living After the Dying


Published: March 17, 2012 (120 Comments)

I SAT down to watch “How to Survive a Plague,” a new documentary about the history of the AIDS epidemic, expecting to cry, and cry I did: at the hollowed faces of people whittled to almost nothing by a disease with an ugly arc; at the panicked voices of demonstrators who knew that no matter how quickly research progressed, it wouldn’t be fleet enough to save people they loved; at the breadth and beauty and horror of the AIDS quilt, spread out across the National Mall, a thread of grief for every blade of grass beneath it.

I expected to be angry. Here, too, I wasn’t disappointed. The words of a physician on the front lines in the early days reminded me that “when people died in the hospital, they used to put them in black trash bags.” Many politicians mustered little more than contempt for AIDS sufferers. “There’s nothing ‘gay’ about these people, engaging in incredibly offensive and revolting conduct,” snarled Senator Jesse Helms, a Republican from North Carolina, at the time. The documentary memorializes that rant and that mind-set, and also shows Helms saying that he wishes demonstrators would “get their mentality out of their crotches.”

What I didn’t expect was how much hope I would feel. How much comfort. While the movie vividly chronicles the wages of bigotry and neglect, it even more vividly chronicles how much society can budge when the people exhorting it to are united and determined and smart and right. The fight in us eclipses the sloth and surrender, and the good really does outweigh the bad. That’s a takeaway of “How to Survive a Plague,” and that’s a takeaway of the AIDS crisis as well.

I referred to the movie, which was produced and directed by the journalist David France, as a history of the epidemic, and it is. But it teases out a specific strand and tells a particular story, focusing on the protest group Act Up, which was set into motion by Larry Kramer 25 years ago this month. He had already sounded an alarm over the rapidly spreading epidemic with his landmark play “The Normal Heart,” and in March 1987, during remarks at the lesbian and gay community center in downtown Manhattan, he bluntly told a roomful of men that if they didn’t take bold steps to make America and its government care, two-thirds of them could be dead in five years.

That same month Act Up — the acronym by which the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power quickly came to be known — staged the first of its many protests, visiting New York’s financial nerve center and blocking traffic there. It occupied Wall Street long before the verb and address were welded together, in an era when ire over indiscriminate greed, manifest just last week by the viral sensation of a Goldman Sachs executive’s resignation, hadn’t been stoked to its current fury. And the group morphed from then and there into a model for the here and now of how social change occurs.



Peabody Winners Recap (4.28.2014): ABC, King 5 Television, and How to Survive a Plague LLC

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Response to proverbialwisdom (Reply #2)

Tue Apr 29, 2014, 08:35 AM

3. That's a *great* film.... but what does it have to do w. OP?


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Response to Smarmie Doofus (Reply #3)

Tue Apr 29, 2014, 02:29 PM

4. Well, here's an excerpt from the OP: "So. Who is this guy, really?"

First, it may be helpful to broaden the scope of Bruni's writing beyond education to include two other controversial public policy subjects (AIDS, autism) adding further detail to his profile.

Over the course of the last week and without actively looking,

4/22 - Bruni's junk NYT autism column
4/28 - Bruni's great blurb on Peabody Award winner, 'Survive a Plague' (via Twitter)

Although he's completely wrong on some issues (certainly autism and, apparently, education reform), he's correct on others (Survive A Plague) and has written with eloquence, insight, and clarity (despite failing to confront the CDC directly as did the activists in the film). The NYT's reporting on autism? Abysmal. Rely on it and you may be indoctrinated, but you are woefully misinformed including by Bruni. (Similarly, NYT's articles on GMOs are grossly inadequate and misleading, not just my independent observation, below).


But the main point, besides that New York Times readers may be the world’s most misinformed, is that golden rice is not alone, it is just one example among many of preliminary or doubtful research projects being inflated into positive global GMO news stories.

Second, I just wanted to stash his latest garbage somewhere on DU (PLUS key missing info) without starting a brainless flame-bait thread on a third-rail topic. Your OLD post came up on a DU search for 'Frank Bruni,' and I incorrectly assumed it was an inactive archived thread no one would see. Live and learn.

FRANK BRUNI: WRONG on autism activism, RIGHT on HIV activism. Is he actually oblivious to the parallels?

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