Chris Christie missed the point. During his RNC speech, he said, and I’m paraphrasing here, Republicans are for teachers, while Democracts are for teachers’ unions. I’m not sure that’s the issue. Instead, it’s whether public school teachers care more about the kids than their union, and whether our opinion matters. Now, they’ll tell you the answer is obviously the kids. They’ll tell you that they simply need the proper support to be able to adequtely teach our children. And as they’re telling you this, your right eye will be gouged by their growing noses.
The Chicago Public School Teachers went on strike today, leaving 400,000 students to do whatever it is students do when they have nothing to do. Sounds like a great idea. Why did the teachers go on strike? I’m not entirely sure, but I think it has something to do with a longer school day or larger class sizes, or something. Their little “On Strike” signs say they’re looking for a fair contract though. Hmmm…fair. Dems LUV that word. What is fair? Well, CPS teachers already earn an average of $76,000/year, not counting benefits. What is the city offering in the new deal that is so “unfair?” A friggin’ 16% increase in pay! CPS teachers can say whatever they want, but they can’t legitimately claim this is about “fairness” or students.
We here at Why Not Nashville? don’t hate many things, but we do hate public schools. We hate that they get so much government money, while failing to succeed in educating kids. We hate that we have no school choice, unless we want to pay extra for a private school. We hate the ridiculous amount of money public school teachers make (plus benefits), considering they don’t work roughly four months of the year. We hate that that they’ve taken God and values out of education, and then whine that the kids simply don’t listen. Public schools are a gigantic drain on our society and yet they continue.
Not to get off-track here, but you know what amazes me? The fact that private unions support public employee unions like teachers’ unions. The private unions were against Scott Walker just as much as the public unions. Why? Contrary to what you might think, we like private employee unions, and support a worker’s right to join a union. That’s called freedom. Private employee unions have a presumed interest in not bleeding their employers dry, because then their employers go bye-bye. Employers have an interest in hiring employees from private unions, especially in the construction sector, because the employees are trained. We also support a private company’s right to hire whomever it wants to though, at whatever salary, because that’s, you guessed it, freedom.
Public employee unions are not private employee unions. In reality, the two have virtually nothing in common except the word “union.” In fact, if I were a member of a private union, I’d run away from supporting a public union. Public employees are paid by the taxpayer, although the taxpayer never has a seat at the negotiation table. Also, public employees are supposed to be performing “essential services,” which we can’t go without, right? If that’s true, why can they simply stop working? Should the entire police force get to take some time off to strike? The very thought of it is absurd. But yet it happens. Public employee unions also pay the politicians they’re negotiating with in the form of campaign contributions. How hard to do you think a politician is going to negotiate with the union that just financed his election?
Don’t believe me about that last part? You think the politician has the best interests of the people in mind? Just look at the CPS negotiations. Illinois is in massive debt. The City of Chicago is in massive debt; the City negotiators admit it. So what do they do to satiate the greed, er, demand for fairness on the part of the teachers? Offer a 16% raise, which will have to either be borrowed or stolen from the taxpayer.
A few months ago, the Illinois legislature was trying to figure out how to deal with Illinois’s debt, which has been caused, almost in its entirety, by unfunded public employee pensions. The Dems’ suggestion? Force all counties, other than Cook, to raise property taxes. That’s their answer. Not, hey, let’s reform the system…or simply face the reality that we can’t pay for everything. Nope. It’s “Let’s take more from the people.” It’s insane. And you know what? A majority of this state agrees with the friggin’ teachers! Is everyone retarded (and I mean that literally)?
Fyi…Charter schools and private schools are open for business though. ‘Nuf said.
Well, now I’m truly astonished. It seems that the teachers are striking primarily because they don’t want their job performance evaluated, in part, by the results of standardized testing.
Chicago public school teachers went on strike on Monday and one of the major issues behind the strike is a new system Chicago plans to use for evaluating public school teachers in which student improvement on standardized tests will count for 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. Until now, the evaluations of Chicago public school teachers have been based on what a Chicago Sun Times editorial called a “’meaningless checklist.’”
So, in other words, the teachers don’t want an objective way to be evaluated; they’d rather have the wink and nod method. This just keeps getting better – or worse – depending on how you look at it. Of course, if the Chicago Public Schools were actually graduating people that could, you know, read, then maybe we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
With these NAEP test results, only 19 percent of Chicago public school 8th graders rated proficient in reading while another 2 percent rated advanced—for a total of 21 percent who rated proficient or better.
Let’s face it. The public school system, especially in the inner city, is so broke, it simply isn’t salvageable. Here we have teachers striking, while their students are wandering the already crime-riddled streets of Chicago, after they turned down a 16% raise that isn’t “fair”…all because they don’t want to be evaluated. And yes, I hear you my in-the-closet-liberal friends…”but it isn’t fair to the teachers to be evaluated like this…the kids have such poor home lives…etc.” Look, these teachers voluntarily sent their resumes to inner city schools. So no, I don’t care that they have a harder job than a teacher at a public school in the leafy suburbs north of Chicago.
Here’s what should happen. All of the teachers who are currently on strike should lose their jobs, and then have to apply for them along with all the other teachers that the libs tell me are unemployed because of Scott Walker. But they won’t. Because everyone involved in this fiasco is being paid with tax dollars, so they don’t actually have to get anything constructive done.
Well, apparently some homicidal maniac shot up a movie theater in Colorado last night, for the opening of the new Batman movie. Looks like 13 people are dead, with something like 50 others injured. Those effected should be in our prayers. And as usual, everyone is trying to find someone/thing to blame. Honestly, this shouldn’t be that hard. It’s the guy who did the shooting (and reportedly booby-trapped his apartment with bombs). He’s been arrested. He’ll be tried; probably convicted; and because our justice system is imperfect, not executed. But nowadays, it seems that the last guy who gets blamed is the guy who did the killing (unless the victim happens to be Trayvon Martin). Already, and as expected, you have the left claiming that too many guns are the problem. Some are talking about cuts in mental health. Others are talking about our culture that worships violence in movies and video games and comic books. Hell, ABC News even claimed the shooter belonged to a Colorado Tea Party…until it retracted it.
Are guns too easy for people to get? Unquestionably yes…and I’m sure we’ll find out where the shooter picked up the shotgun, assault rifle, and two handguns he had with him. But is additional gun control going to solve the problem? It certainly hasn’t worked in Chicago, where gangs are shooting up neighborhoods literally everyday. And the reports from the shooting indicate the gunman threw a canister of tear gas in the theater initially. I’m not sure if a canister of tear gas is legal for a civilian to own, but I strongly doubt it…especially in a left of center state like Colorado. Despite its likely illegality, the shooter still got his hands on the gas.
Should we put more money into state mental health hospitals? Without question. In fact, you’ll clean up a lot of homeless by doing so. But we don’t even know if the guy was off his nut…so mental health comments are a little premature. How about censoring movies and video games and books? How would it work? Who decides what’s “too violent?” Movies/TV/video games already have rating systems. That doesn’t seem to stop parents from bringing their seven year old to see Jurassic Park.
Here’s the point. You want to blame something? Blame life. It doesn’t suck, but it’s full of bad stuff that isn’t fair. There’s nothing anyone can do to keep bad things from happening. The best we can do is teach our kids values…and pray it works out. Some will ask if our culture is broken. In a theological sense, it absolutely is. In a practical sense, maybe. Fact is, values simply aren’t valued much. Moral relativism is the law of the land. Personal accountability is a relic. Society talks about guns when commenting on shootings in the ghetto, but no one seems to correlate its lawlessness with a lack of fathers in the home. We’ve legalized the murder of millions in the name of choice, and the purveyors of infanticide don’t seem to think it has any impact on how we, as a people, value life in general. Hell, atheists even complained because Obama prayed for rain.
So why did it happen? It happened because it happened. It happened because bad stuff happens sometimes. It happened because the world is imperfect. That’s all. That may not be satisfying…or fixable…but it’s the truth.
It’s been a long, hot week, and I’m a bit testy. With that in mind, let’s discuss where we are.
Saying that our president is doing a bad job is like saying the citizens of Pompei experienced traffic congestion the morning Mount Vesuvius blew. It’s true, but it’s also an incredible understatement. 100% of Barry’s presidency has resided somewhere between doing nothing or making things worse. Honestly, I’ll have a major award for anyone that can point to one good thing this man has done since he’s gotten into office. We’re still sitting just shy of 10% national unemployment…and that doesn’t count the people who are no longer even looking for work. Our debt and deficits literally make history ever single day, and all B.O. thinks we should do is spend more. In fact, his own freakin’ debt commission stated the debt will destroy this country. Not possible? Look at Greece, or Spain, or Portugal.
His Department of Justice is choosing to sue Arizona for enforcing federal law, while refusing to prosecute sanctuary cities for explicitly violating federal law. How about a lawsuit against Chicago for its new gun restrictions? Don’t understand my point Mr. President? How about we put the restrictions in terms you can understand. It would be similar to Illinois telling a young pregnant girl she can have an abortion, but only after she pays $1,000.00 cash to watch a video of an abortion procedure, with her parents and grandparents, after which she takes a test consisting entirely of identifying still images from the video, and then, after the abortion, being forced to keep the dead baby in a jar under her pillow for nine months after the abortion. Oh, and she’d need to go to Wisconsin to get the abortion. Now, I bet a law like that would receive a lawsuit. Guns and abortion are both “fundamental rights” that are protected by the constitution, right?
How ’bout that financial overhaul bill that everyone on the left is so damn excited about? While it doesn’t do anything about fixing what actually went wrong with the economy in the first place, Fannie Mae is out there offering first time home-buyers loans with a little as $1,000.00 down. And now I get to go sit in traffic on the highway because the idiots hired by the state of Illinois, with federal funds I’m sure, decided to strike after tearing up the damn road. They apparently didn’t get the memo that the economy sucks while health care costs and premiums are still going up, as a result of despite Obamacare. And on January 1, 2011, those of us who actually pay income tax can look forward to it skyrocketing.
And what is our esteemed president’s response:
The president said in the interview he believes voters “are going to say the policies that got us into this mess, we can’t go back to.” He also said Washington “has spent an inordinate amount of time on politics — who’s up and who’s down — and not enough on what we’re doing for the American people.”
It’s official. We didn’t elect a President. We didn’t even elect a petty dictator. We elected a buffoon. And by “we” I mean somebody else because I didn’t vote for him. The liberal policies that got us into this mess are still out there, alive and well. “What we’re doing for the American people?” Are you serious? How about what you’re doing to the American people? Here’s what Barry’s done to the American people since he’s become president: increased unemployment. increased deficits and debt. increased health care costs and premiums. increased economic uncertainty. increased claims of racism. increased divisiveness. increased entitlements. increased taxes. Here’s what he’s done for the people of America: been a really active (and bad) golfer.
Why does every stupid socialist law implemented by liberals have to have the word “fair” in it? Do they think it will actually make us think there’s something “fair” about it? Do they not realize that “fair” is code for bigger government? Now, the internet sales tax is yesterday’s, well, more like five days ago’s, news, but I didn’t catch the name of the bill at the time. It’s called the “Main Street Fairness Act.” I love it. In fact, this is actually a double-whammy, because it also squeezes “Main Street” in the title. No surprisingly, its co-sponsors are all raving lunatics liberals like John Conyers.
I actually discussed this Act with a fellow conservative on Facebook other day. He was, to my surprise, a fan of the bill because it would help local business. Not necessarily untrue, but my response is better (bias?): Instead of increasing the sales tax on merchandise purchased on the internet, why not decrease local sales taxes? The City of Chicago , for example, drives shoppers into the open arms of the surrounding communities due to its ridiculous sales taxes. The liberal’s answer is always to raise taxes…wouldn’t lowering them achieve the same “fairness” while actually helping consumers? Aren’t consumers the people that drive our economy? Do any of you reading my posts actually respond to these rhetorical questions out loud? If so, good for you.
Some call it an attempt to distract us from the economy…as if that’s possible. Others call it a noble attempt to stop racism…tell that to J. Christian Adams. I simply call it a monumental waste of my tax dollars. As many of you probably know by now, Obama’s DOJ filed suit against the State of Arizona yesterday for its immigration law. You know, the one that requires Arizona cops to make an effort to identify criminals and then arresting them…novel concept. According to our esteemed government attorneys, any and all aspects of immigration are within the exclusive purview of the federal government. Thus, in legal terms, Arizona’s law violates the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution…or so the argument goes. I haven’t read the complaint, and I’m not sure I will, but the Wall Street Journal apparently has, so that’s got to count for something right?
The suit, filed in Phoenix, said that the state had ‘crossed a constitutional line’ that interferes with the federal authority over immigration. It alleges that the state law would burden federal agencies, diverting resources from such higher priorities as tracking illegal immigrants implicated in terrorism cases, drug smuggling or other crimes.
If this is the best the federal government’s got, then I want my money back. Now, courts can do all kinds of strange things, like deny unopposed motions for example, so I guess anything’s possible. That being said, how the hell can enforcing federal law interfere with federal law? In fact, the feds are doing more interfering than Arizona, due to their refusal to enforce their own law. Oh, and when did the Supremacy Clause include a section about not diverting resources from higher priorities? That’s called the “let’s throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” argument.
‘Setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility,’ Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. ‘Seeking to address the issue through a patchwork of state laws will only create more problems than it solves.’
As an initial point, this is the equivalent of the Chicago police department sitting outside my front door and watching my family be attacked by an intruder, and then arresting me when I kill him. But Holder’s right. Setting immigration policy is within the exclusive purview of the federal government. I’m not so sure about enforcement though. After all, what constitutes “enforcement?” The State of Arizona certainly can’t deport the illegals. But can they arrest them for being here illegally and hold them until I.N.S. deports them? My gut tells me they can…but that may just be the Chipotle I ate last night…which was awesome by the way. The learned, ivory tower types have thrown in their two cents as well:
‘I think the federal government is going to win and the Arizona law is going to be shown to be unconstitutional,’ said Karl M. Manheim, professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. ‘States don’t have any power to regulate immigration.’
This opinion begs the question though: does the Arizona law “regulate” immigration? I think the federal govt. would have a difficult time arguing that the law does any regulating. It’s simply a criminal statute piggy-backing on a federal statute which already defined who is here illegally. Arizona’s law hasn’t made being here illegally more illegal than it was before.
As usual though, Gov. Jan Brewer hits the nail on the head with respect to the practicalities of the lawsuit:
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer called the federal lawsuit ‘a massive waste of taxpayer funds’ and said the money ‘could be better used against the violent Mexican cartels than the people of Arizona.’
She said that the Obama administration, if worried about a patchwork of laws, could have chosen to sue local governments that adopted ‘sanctuary” policies instructing police not to cooperate with federal immigration officials.
She is absolutely correct. The Obama Administration doesn’t give a rat’s ass about a “patchwork of laws.” Controlling the border is right in the wheelhouse of the federal government, and its failure to do the controllin’ is the sole reason why states are being forced to pick up the slack. In fact, the DOJ’s complaint constitutes an admission of this.
Of course, as the article goes on to point out, this is all about politics. Obama doesn’t care about immigration. If he did, he would have pushed a bill through Congress before he lost his filibuster-proof majority. Instead, he has continued to dither on the issue, now hoping that the lawsuit will bring the democrats the hispanic vote in November. I personally doubt that the immigration law is going to bring the Dems any more votes then they already have…but we’ll see.
In the meantime, be sure to send a little love note to your Congressman, thanking him or her for the wise use of your tax dollars. After all, the only reason the Arizona law was enacted in the first place was because they have failed to do their jobs…again.
It would be shocking if it weren’t so typical. Seriously, what is going on with the politicians in Chicago? In a 45-0 vote, the Chicago City Council enacted the toughest gun laws in the country yesterday.
The new ordinance bans gun shops in Chicago and prohibits gun owners from stepping outside their homes, even onto their porches or in their garages, with a handgun. It becomes law in 10 days, Corporation Counsel Mara Georges said.
In its vote, those representing the good people of the City of Chicago reveal why they should all be placed in a loony bin.
‘I wish that we weren’t in the position where we’re struggling to figure out a way in which we can limit the guns on our streets and still meet the test that our Supreme Court has set for us,’ said Alderman Toni Preckwinkle, minutes before the council voted 45-0 to approve the ordinance.
I’m convinced that every single Alderman is suffering from acid flashbacks all day, every day. The Supreme Court decision didn’t do anything to affect your “struggle.” Why? Because the people shooting each other already have the guns and probably don’t even know what the Supreme Court is. It’s not just the Aldermen who are nuts though; it’s also Mayor Daley.
‘You have to get the tools to the police,’ Daley said.
What tools? How does requiring law-abiding citizens to leave the city to purchase a hand-gun, and then jump through ridiculous hoops to own one, constitute law-enforcement “tools?” It’s nice to see though, that those voting for the Alderman are just as confused:
Some residents applauded the vote.
‘There’s just too much killing going on (and) we need protection,’ said Mary Fitts, a retiree who came from her home on the South Side to watch the vote. ‘You can’t even sit on your front porch.’
Ms. Fitts, the people doing the killing, and keeping you off your porch, aren’t those carrying their firearms card. And it should be pretty apparent at this point that the police aren’t protecting you. All Chicago’s ill-conceived law does is keep you from setting your gun next to you on your porch…where you stand a reasonably good chance of being hit with a stray bullet on a nice day. Other restrictions:
• Limits the number of handguns residents can register to one per month and prohibits residents from having more than one handgun in operating order at any given time.
• Requires residents in homes with children to keep handguns in lock boxes or equipped with trigger locks and requires residents convicted of a gun offense to register with the police department, much as sex offenders are now required to do.
• Prohibits people from owning a gun if they were convicted of a violent crime, domestic violence or two or more convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
• Requires prospective gun owners to be fingerprinted, take a four-hour class and one-hour training at a gun range.
• Calls for the police department to maintain a registry of every registered handgun owner in the city, with the names and addresses to be made available to police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders.
I wonder if the Supreme Court will analyze these restrictions in the same manner it reviews restrictions to abortion. If it does (and it should), I have a feeling the overwhelming majority of the restrictions will be shot down…at least if the current make-up of the Court remains. The most humorous part about the law (at least to me):
Those who have handguns, illegal under the ban, would have 90 days from the day the ordinance is enacted to register those weapons.
I’m not holding my breath that any of those gang-bangers, who had guns before the ban was deemed unconstitutional, will rush in to register them now…and get fingerprinted.
The thing that I find even more unconscionable than the new restrictions is the fact that cash-strapped Chicago is going to spend millions in tax-payer money over the next several years to defend them…and then raise taxes on its citizens to support the effort. The Chicago government is, without question, the worst government in the country.
Maybe I should amend my home page about why I became a conservative. See, I was born and raised in Michigan, and its economy has been in the toilet even when the rest of the country was doing well. Then I moved to California, which is now practically bankrupt. Now I live in Illinois, which is even worse than California when it comes to fiscal discipline. All three of these states are democratic hell-holes, and, not coincidentally, entitlement black-holes. Spending on every human interest story and after-school special that held out its hand was able to be ignored when the economy was good. Now that the economy continues to lag, the lunacy of the left is revealed.
A New York Times article today provides a revealing look at just how dependent we have apparently become on those government entitlements. Illinois is currently $5.01 billion in the red. Comptroller Dan Hynes states,
‘This is not some esoteric budget issue; we are not paying bills for absolutely essential services,’ he says. ‘That is obscene.’
Hynes is right–it is obscene. But not because we aren’t paying for “essential services.” The amount of money this state has committed to paying for practically everything is what’s obscene. A goal of government has never been to become a major part of the economy. Many complain about companies being “too big to fail,” but few complain about the government being too big to fail. In addition to its own budgetary boondoggle, Illinois is also a microcosm of the federal government spending too much on too many so-called “essential services.” Make no mistake, there are legitimate governmental functions out there that should be receiving tax dollars…but we’ve moved far past them.
Someone needs to run for office and actually take a stand against run-away government spending, instead of just saying it. Someone needs to say no to the human interest stories. Someone needs to remind this country of what it is, not what it has become. Essential services don’t include public education. They don’t include endless unemployment benefits. They don’t include corporate subsidies. They don’t include housing subsidies. They don’t include this:
The Community Counseling Centers of Chicago is another of those workaday groups that are like the stitches on a baseball, holding together poor and working-class neighborhoods. With an annual budget of $16 million, the agency tends to families torn by crime and violence as well as people who are psychologically stressed and abusing drugs.
‘Two weeks ago, I had days to meet my $420,000 payroll and all I was looking at was a $200,000 line of credit from a bank,’ recalled [Chief Administrative Officer John] Troy.
$16 million a year? For community center? You don’t think that’s being mismanaged at all? There are entire cities that run on that budget. $420,000 in payroll? Again, for a community center? Now I know why our president was a community organizer. Instead of implementing some sort of fiscal restraint years ago on programs like this, Illinois citizens in towns like Carbondale, many of whom have never even been to Chicago, are now having money taken out of their pockets for this $16 million per year monstrosity. Why? Because no one has the guts to stand up to those who spit out the “these people need help” meme.
Legislators this year raised the retirement age and slashed benefits. Though changes apply only to future employees, the legislature claimed immediate savings.
“Savings upfront and reforms down the road,” said Mr. Hynes, the state comptroller. “It’s just bad habits and bad practices.”
I’m not exactly sure what Hynes is trying to say here, but Illinois’ problems go well beyond “bad habits and bad practices.” Illinois, like California and Michigan, has placed an overwhelmingly heavy burden on the majority of the population for the benefit of the “those in need of help” minority. Of course, since no one actually attempts to define who those people are, and what constitutes “need,” the government just throws more and more money at them. Illinois’ budget disaster is largely the result of arbitrary determinations of need, made by those running for office. That’s the exact opposite of good government.
More broadly, Illinois is caught between blue state convictions about social safety nets and a red state aversion to taxes. For years, the Democratic-controlled legislature has passed budgets that are, in effect, in deficit. Lawmakers routinely skip around the state’s balanced-budget law, with few consequences. (Republicans are near monolithic in voting against any tax increases and borrowings. When one broke ranks to try to keep the pension solvent, he was stripped of a committee position, reducing his pay and pension.)
This is where the New York Times goes from reporting the news to offering its opinions. Illinois isn’t “caught between blue state convictions about safety social safety nets and a red state aversion to taxes.” It’s caught between the corrupt political machine in Chicago, which is driven entirely by a small group of liberals, and the rest of the state. And those monolithic Republicans? The article fails to mention that they are in the perpetual minority in the Illinois legislature. The implication that Republicans have some hand in the budget crisis is laughable.
Of course, the response of Mr. Hynes, as it is with all liberals, isn’t to cut spending…it’s to raise taxes.
‘Only the most delusional people think you can solve this without raising taxes,’ he said.
Well Mr. Hynes, and by extension, Mr. Obama, you’re delusional to think that raising taxes will improve anything. We would still have government full of corrupt politicians who vote themselves raises and refuse to cut spending because it might cost them votes. How much in governmental salary are you making Mr. Hynes? How about Mayor Daley? Governor Quinn? Before government employees, who are paid with my taxes, stick their hands in my pockets again, why don’t they do their part?
On this Fourth of July, remember that we don’t depend on the government, but it does depend on us. Even better, remember it in November. In the meantime, I will continue to pressure my wife into a new move…to South Dakota.