Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Saving the Party - Part I

Ok, this is going to sound really simple. My solution for all the problems we face as a nation and as a Party:

1. Have all the Republicans vote like Republicans.
2. Elect more REAL Republicans. If you are not sure what a real Republican is, chances are you are in the wrong party, like Wayne Gilchrest's top advisers.

None of the measures you can dream up will do any good unless you start showing that YOU are SERIOUS. You, me, Newt, can all think of a million policies that would benefit this nation. But none of them has a snowball's chance with Wayne Gilchrest and his ilk still voting and our minority leader campaigning for them! No, the solutions need to start with a baseline of party principle. We need to show the party faithful and the American people that we are serious. Dead serious. Here are three things Congress can do NOW:

1. John Boehner needs to step down or be forced out, sent packing, etc.
2. The new minority leader needs to put Jeff Flake and other real Republicans on the Appropriations Committee and otherwise "reward bad behavior."
3. The NRCC needs to BUTT OUT of Primary campaigns. You people do not have what it takes to back the right horse. Send your money to the Club for Growth instead. DO it. Do it Here. Do it Now! Anything less and you are just blowing smoke.

For all those conservatives of all ages, in and out of office; business "leaders;" Chambers of Commerce and bloggers deluded into thinking they are leading a conservative "movement" that is vulnerable to attack by the liberals:

STOP using the Politically Correct lexicon of the Left. There is nothing more sickening than to hear conservative commentators tripping all over their Political Correctness. The sad part is that as each generation is indoctrinated by the liberal "teaching" institutions, the more difficult it becomes. The Left invented the multicultural pap and we should eschew it.

For example, I have never read a column by Thomas Sowell, whose writing and opinions are highly respected among conservatives and liberals alike, in which he uses the term "African American." Until I and my family are referred to as Serbo-Arab-Irish-German-Americans, I will continue to refer to blacks as blacks when and if a racial qualifier is required. And I expect my political leaders, especially those who call themselves conservatives to do likewise.
And what does African American mean? The last time I checked, Africa was a huge continent made of hundreds of different countries. Can white people from South Africa and Zimbabwe be called African Americans? Can Arabs from Egypt to Morocco be called African Americans? Get back to me on this one.

Similarly, the Left has all but succeded in eliminating the differences between the sexes. There are no more firemen or spokesmen, or chairmen (At least the men and woman in blue have managed to keep their sexual identities. I have yet to hear "policeperson." This is another unintended benefit of being an armed force.) I can't wait to hear the PC term for Alderman. Alderperson? There are no more stewardesses, or waitresses or actresses. What happended? Well there are books and books on this matter. The point is we can and we should bring them back. I listened to Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee tonight in the same breath, refer to Rep. Henry Waxman as "the Chairperson" and then, after realizing Waxman is a man, decided it was PC to refer to him as the Chairman of a committee.

Now comes Enviro-speak. I am shocked at how quickly so-called conservatives have succumbed to this latest fad of liberalism. "Greenhouse Gas" is now a term of science. Soon it will take its place on the Periodic Table of elements. I just saw a science documentary on the formation of the Earth. The planet was periodically a ball of ice and a tropical paradise, for billions of years, when the most sophisticated creature on earth had one cell and a little tail that it used to go after littler creatures! The scientists interviewed for the program lectured us that periodic warming and cooling was a natural process! Yet these same scientists, after the interview, went back to painting their "Stop Global Warming, Now" placards to wave in protest of plans to build an oil refinery or feed an oil commodity speculator.

STOP with the running side-show of alternate energy sources: "bio-fuels, solar, wind, geothermal." You don't have to show that you know at least four of the most-hyped alternate energy sources. You don't need a sexual-orientation-style disclaimer (everytine I see that litanny I always think: gay, lesbian, bi, transsexual, both, neither and, all of the above). You're not going to hurt anyone's feelings if you leave them out or just call them "other."

The prescriptions in this post are easy to follow for those with brains and spines and courage. Take two and call me in the morning.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Is it Enough for What?

I've been looking all weekend for a way to mention the recent bit of bad news for the teacher unions in the Wall Street Journal. The Weekend Edition's editorial page highlighted a program called Teach for America, the 1990 brainchild of Princeton undergrad Wendy Kopp who thought inner-city public school students deserved a chance to learn from the best and brightest, rather than from the shift-working teacher-mill grads.

Well, I've found my angle. In the Charles County Cafe blog post wondering whether a 3.5 percent raise is "enough." To regular readers of my blog, the answer to this rhetorical question is clear. No, it is never enough. No matter how high the increase, the teacher unions will always find a way to demand more. It's what a union does.

Well, now it seems that for nearly 20 years many thousands of young, idealistic graduates of America's top colleges have been flocking to Teach for America and I am just hearing about it now. It seems to be the new Peace Corps. They, like their counterparts of decades past, see a way to make a real difference by bringing their newly minted expertise in a variety of fields of learning to disadvantaged public school kids. Like the Peace Corps, they spend a few years usually two or three, then move on to careers in their various professions carrying with them special knowledge and experience gained from such service.

What I couldn't figure out, after scanning about seven pages of Google hits on the subject, is whether they are forced to join the union. From what I could tell, they perform their service at BELOW cost; that is, they are an attractive option for school districts because they do not earn union scale. And recent studies show they are doing a damn good job. It's something about wanting to teach and to reform the education system, without being forced into some featureless, vat of homogeneous Union glop and extruded into the standard public school teacher mold.

The difference is that these people are professionals who happen to want to teach. Their counterparts meanwhile are simply trained union members. Even those who really want to teach are ill-prepared to do so; their training being in the interpretation of arcane school curricula, laws, regulations and yes, politics. Teach for America candidates are giving a few weeks of training and are turned loose to teach.

Well the stories I've been missing have do mention the challenge TFA poses to union power however, no one can seem to get the NEA or the American Federation of Teachers to go on the record. You know NEA's motto: If you can't say something bad about an obvious threat to your existence, don't say anything at all.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Getting Under Their Skin

I think I'm starting to get to them. In response to this post on my Newt.org blog:

This is rich. The Hill on June 8th featured remarks by our Dear Leader on the House floor following the latest record price per gallon:
“Boehner touted the GOP’s plan to reduce the burden at the pump and blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for not bringing it to a vote.”
But Boehner himself campaigned for an incumbent Republican who would vote AGAINST drilling for oil anywhere. He and Newt Gringrich came to MD’s District 1 to campaign for Wayne Gilchrest, whose record on drilling and other attempts to increase the supply of energy to Americans is clear.
Thank God, his and Newt’s attempts were unsuccessful. No thanks to them, Dear Leader Boehner now has another vote he can count on (assuming, of course, that Andy Harris wins in November)..... Oh, hey, Newt, the Club for Growth is targeting Don Young of Alaska. Did you hear? Are you going to stump for him as well? I am sure he was a loyal member of the team when you were Speaker! Yeah, so we need to keep jerk like him in office. And are you stumping for Jeff Flake's primary opponent? I know, you can't be a hypocrite everywhere at the same time, alas.
One of my commenters had this to say:
Please! Enough with the Gilchrest Crud. This must be your 40th Gilchrest post. You are in "By God Socialist Maryland" for God's Sake. Snowe and Collins are Cult Heros there - as well as McCain. Save Yourself - Give it a Break. ********************************************** Feel Free to come to Southwest Ohio and try to find a REAL Conservative challenger to Boehner. Shows How goofy You Really Can Be. Its time you sell that broken record. Save Yourself! Get some professional help.
I'm thinking he's from Ohio. Must've touched a nerve there when I mentioned I was urging Andy Harris to travel to Boehner's district and campaign for his primary opponent, you know, as a way of saying "Thanks, pal."

So? Are we all Socialists here in MD? Are Sens. Snowe and Collins cult heroes for us Republicans? Are you going to take this lying down? Why don't you visit my Newt-blog and offer some friendly advice...here's a link.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Government by Ox-Goring

Recent fallout from the County budget for the next FY would be funny if it weren't so sad. For me it started when (another) former friend thought to include me in plea to help save funds to keep our public libraries open and fully staffed. She wanted us to write to our County Council representatives and express shock and dismay that they would let a little thing like a budget dictate which services can and cannot be funded.

After noticing at least one Anne Arundel County Public School system domain among the e-mail addresses, I knew my response would be easy. The gist was,"You are writing to the wrong people. You should address your concerns to the Teachers Unions of this county because it is they who are in control of the County budget despite what the Charter says." I was referring to the "extra" $13 million the Union extorted from county taxpayers. Call me crazy but I just assumed that some of that money was "found" in the public library budget.

So here we have another panicked parent who faced not only the loss of her son's "favorite" teacher but also of her own job at the library. Was she one of panicky few demanding that the Council save the teachers? Probably. Did it occur to her that by saving the teachers she was dooming her own job? Probably not. And that is the sad part.

Since my short "debate" with her I have read letter after letter in the Annapolis Kapital crying about the inequity of funding the teachers union at the expense of the Libraries. The last one I read was from the chairman of the library association (I guess that's the union) itself!

Now, what moral, what lesson can we draw from all of this? You tell me.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Panicked-Parents Profile #1

The first profile in panicked parents of public school children describes a member of the Anne Arundel County Council. Since the profile is based on an e-mail message not expressly meant for the blog I will make it anonymous.

Panicked Parent No. 1: Anonymous
Occupation: County Coucilmember

This time you are wrong. We moved money around in the budget to see that the construction and renovation projects that Leopold refused to fund were funded. I am always disturbed when I am told my [child] will have 40 kids in a class that physically and educationally can only handle about 25. Maybe that is OK with you, but not me. Your [Councilmember] held the line on taxes. Your [Councilmember] worked to bring the state in on the conversation so as to better leverage our county dollars and get more construction dollars. The day after the budget amendments made by the council, the state awarded an additional 10k to the County based on their spending commitment.

What would you have rather I did? The students were left out of this budget and the council put them back. I won't apologize for that. Neither should you condemn us for doing what was right. Why is it that if education gets funded, you automatically go on the offensive and seem to indict the council and suggest we are beholding to the teachers. They are mad at us just as often as they are pleased. As it was, they did not get their negotiated 6% raise, they got 5%, but I guess that does not matter.
Issue: Seems to believe that 25 is the magic class size number for teaching. Also seems to believe that tax dollars coming from the State are not also coming from County tax-payers.

Conclusion: Has swallowed hook, line and sinker the Union's single-most effective line of propaganda, that class-size is scientifically linked to effective teaching.

Notes: PP#1, you must disabuse yourself of the notion that TAAAC and the TAAAC-fed public school bureaucracy have your child's education at heart in negotiating for anything. What it has is a body of education law within which it must work to increase its ranks. Basta. That's it.

Did you read my letter to John Leopold? Are you not concerned that what you are saying is exactly what your 4th-grade teacher (and 5th and 6th, etc.) told you was true? And you have done exactly what they have counted on: you have risen to power and influence under the belief that bigger classes are bad and more teachers are good. You probably even wrote to your County Executive, a heartless miser who lived only to see teachers, your teacher, suffer!

But Mike, I believed in Santa Clause, too, and I grew out of that, didn't I? Perhaps. But there is something very tangible about your 4th-grade teacher, more tangible than Santa Clause.

What would I have you do? Make them prove it. Make them work for their $13 million! For that much cash I want to see hard evidence that 26 or 40 students are impossible to teach. I want you to make the hard choices like Baking Class versus Reading; to explain to the panicked parents, that they can't have it all. And If they can't have it all at least they'll have kids who can read and write in English, better than kids from any other County in Maryland.

I DON'T want that money spent on teachers to indoctrinate MY kids in liberal theology! YOU can't guarantee that, now. That means I have to work harder.

I want you to STOP giving these blood-suckers another second of stage time for the Union hacks down at the Annapolis Fish Wrap. Stop giving these public school prima donnas more reasons to keep coming back for more. Stop giving them, on a silver platter, another Democratic campaign slogan they'll use in county and State races: A Vote for a Democrat is a Vote for the Kids!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Politics of Panic

This is mainly for the edification of our political leaders on the County Council. I read recently where $13 million or so was "found" to add to the teacher union budget for the next fiscal year. The report in the Kapital said the Council "scrounged" for the millions in reaction to "panicked teachers and parents."

Now as many of you know, I am a parent. I was not in a state of panic at the prospect of "losing" 100 union members. Nor was I concerned that the remaining rank and file might have to work harder as a result. In fact, I was positively cheered by the idea. But where is MY representation? Who speaks for those parents who are not panicked and who approve of their County Government's responsible handling of their taxes?

Who are these ready-made gaggle of panicked parents? Even if they do exist, tell me why, for the love of Pete, should I pay more so that their son's "favorite" teacher can be kept on the payroll? Again and again, it seems that a handful of residents whose interests seem to be lovingly tied to the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County, hold sway over the expenditure of millions of taxpayer dollars. These must be powerful people. I should think that a real newspaper with real reporters would want to know more about such power-players among us.

So I will do the job that the Annapolis Union Press Release won't do: I will publish profiles from all the panicked parents who care to visit my blog at: http://mikenetherland.blogspot.com/ and leave a comment.