Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ignorance Ain't Cheap

Politicians are campaigning to slash education budgets, and even refusing to spend federal money allocated for education.

NEA researcher Michael Petko says the reason lies in “faulty economics.”

“Many people don’t realize that, dollar per dollar, education funds are going to increase state income and produce more jobs than money spent in any other sector in the economy.”

In 2004, NEA conducted two studies on the economic impact of education spending, “K-12 Education in the U.S. Economy” and “The Effects of State Public K-12 Education Expenditures on Income Distribution.”

These studies revealed a statistically significant correlation between education spending and economic development. Study authors argued that increasing education spending would decrease poverty and promote economic growth, and that decreasing education spending would do the opposite.

For each dollar a state saved per student, 0.4% fewer small businesses would come to the state and bring jobs, the researchers found.

Economic stagnation is just one of the many negative consequences of cutting education budgets. Reducing classroom spending will also make it harder for Americans to compete in the international job market against the Chinese and others who are increasing how much they invest in their children’s education.

The United States now spends less than many peer nations on primary and secondary education. In 2009, the United States only spent 25% of its per capita GDP on secondary education, while Austria spent 30% and Italy spent 29%, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Teachers aren’t causing our economic problems. Why are they the scapegoat? We have to stop cutting their salaries!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


If you’ve been following my blog, you know nothing bugs me more than the ease with which politicians (mostly Republicans) rewrite history.

When Palin answered that “gotcha” question about Paul Revere’s ride, she said he rode to warn the British that we were armed and ready for them. When questioned about it later, she said she knew her history. She had stumbled across the fact that after his capture, Revere told the British we had 500 armed men there to meet them.

Poor Sarah says, "In a shout-out, gotcha type of question that was asked of me, I answered candidly. And I know my American history."

The ambush question was, “What have you seen so far today, and what are you going to take away from your visit?”

Her explanation doesn’t work because he had no intention of riding out into the night to warn the British in the first place. His mission was a secret. He was to riding to Lexington to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams.

He was a courier. Coincidentally, that’s how I make my living.

Revere was captured almost immediately.

I guess we need fact checking with every statement made publicly (obviously an impossible job). I’ve heard historical revisionists have changed the Paul Revere Wikipedia pages.

Wikipedia is great for science and technology, but we have to make sure everyone knows the information there can be modified by anyone. Unfortunately a lot of people believe history is opinion. I will concede, in a lot of cases, there is more than one point of view but I’m really worried about agenda driven history.

How can anyone think opinions manipulated by lies can be positive?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Beck on Obama

Glenn Beck’s star has faded, finally. He’s just about gone. For years his dis-information campaign has gone unchallenged. His claim that NAZIs and fascists were lefties is taken for granted by people I’ve personally spoken to. Beck likes to pull facts out of his butt.

Last February he claimed Michelle Obama had 43 staffers working for her.
"I think Nancy Reagan may have been the one who had the most people on the staff. She had three. Three!"

"The first lady's office needs 43 people? For what? These people are out of control. It is really Marie Antoinette."
In 2009, and debunked the claim circulated in a chain e-mail that Michelle Obama had an "unprecedented" number of staffers, with 22.

"First lady Michelle Obama’s staff is no different in size than that of her predecessor, Laura Bush -- around 25 people -- and is based on a similar staffing model," according to
Catherine McCormick-Lelyveld, a spokeswoman for Michelle Obama.

While every first lady approaches the job differently, the responsibilities of the office of the first lady have grown over the years to include planning and hosting hundreds of events at the White House and across the city of D.C., planning and supporting domestic and foreign travel with and without President Obama, receiving, cataloging and responding to thousands of pieces of mail, and supporting the first lady’s active schedule in support of the President -- hence the staff size for both Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Obama."

The size of a first lady's staff fluctuates year to year. First ladies typically have several staff members each handling correspondence, press, social engagements and projects. At 25, Michelle Obama's staff is similar in size to her immediate predecessors.

According to the Clinton Presidential Library, the size of Hillary Rodham Clinton's staff fluctuated from 13 in October 1993 to 19 by March 2000.

Beck singled out Nancy Reagan, and claimed she had just three employees on her staff. Sheila Tate, vice chair of the Washington, D.C., communications firm Powell Tate, who was Nancy's Reagan's press secretary, said there were 15 people on First Lady Nancy Reagan's staff. That includes four on the press team (including Tate); two in the projects office; two in the advance office; three in the social office; a personal secretary and her assistant; and the chief of staff and his assistant.

Stacy A. Cordery, a history professor at Monmouth College who serves as bibliographer for the National First Ladies' Library in Ohio, said the role of first ladies has expanded over the decades, and so has the size of the staffs.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


What is it about the Constitution? People carry their copies around like it’s the Bible and chastise the rest of us for not reading it. I’ve ranted before about its interpretation but has anyone actually read it? I admit it’s a bit dry, not to mention, deliberately vague.

Herman Cain announced his presidential bid last Saturday. There’s always been something odd about black republicans to me, especially when they wear cowboy hats. I know there were actually a lot of real black cowboys, but you sure don’t see them in the John Wayne movies these yahoos are referencing.

"We don’t need to rewrite the Constitution of the United States," Cain said. "We need to reread the Constitution and enforce the Constitution."
"And I know that there’s some people that are not going to do that. So, for the benefit for those that are not going to read it because they don’t want us to go by the Constitution, there’s a little section in there that talks about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
"You know, those ideals that we live by, we believe in, your parents believe in, they instilled in you. When you get to the part about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, don’t stop right there, keep reading.
"’Cause that’s when it says that when any form of government becomes destructive of those ideals, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it. We’ve got some altering and some abolishing to do."

Those words were in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence.


Sunday, May 15, 2011


It’s really hard for me to read the comments section of political blogs. There are a lot of people who are incredibly ignorant about history. I can’t believe how many people equate Fascism with Socialism. Fascism was a response to the left in spite of the word Socialist in NAZI. It really seems pointless to believe social justice is possible given our lowest common denominator awareness of the world around us.

The biggest fallacy perpetuated by the right is that Obama is a lefty.

Before the gulf oil spill, President Obama pushed to expand offshore drilling. His Interior Department gave British Petroleum's rig a "categorical exclusion" from environmental scrutiny and, according to the New York Times, "gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf without first getting required permits. After the spill, the same Interior Department kept issuing "categorical exclusions" for new Gulf oil operations, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar still refuses "to rule out continued use of categorical exclusions," the Denver Post reported.

Salazar, who oversaw this disaster and who, before that, took $323,000 in campaign contributions from energy interests and backed more offshore drilling as a U.S. senator.

Obama’s corporate support has always been right out of the Republican playbook.

Obama has continued George W. Bush’s detention and domestic wiretap policies. He won’t end the federal ban on gay marriage. Immigrant activists are frustrated by the administration’s failure to push for immigration reform.

He has taken some good ideas from the right.

The first Cap and Trade plan was from George H. W. Bush It was about acid rain. Newt Gingrich voted for that plan. He actually said Cap and Trade for carbon would be a great idea.

An individual mandate health care bill was a republican idea. It was the republican alternative to Clinton’s single payer plan. Mitt Romney was doing an individual mandate plan as late as 2009. Chuck Grassley even said individual mandates had bipartisan support.

A budget deal to cut the deficit with both spending cuts and tax hikes was a George H. W. Bush plan. He said it was necessary. He did it, and it worked.

Now these are considered crazy Liberal ideas.

Republicans have abandoned ideas that actually worked. Cap and Trade improved the acid rain problem. An individual mandate worked in Massachusetts and George H. W. Bush did set the stage for balance budget in the ‘90s.

Why have Republicans given up on their successful policies? I guess polarizing American voters and winning elections is more important. Does Obama believe this as well?