Thursday, September 27, 2012

Seasonal Hiring

First Kohl's and then Walmart announced that they are planning to hire huge numbers of people.  This news was treated as being an indicator that the economy is turning around because it is a bigger number than last year.  Nothing could be further from the truth, this was not news.  These companies are taking on seasonal staff.  The number is bigger because they are hoping for better business nothing more but we need to look at the kinds of jobs they are hiring.  They are part-time and minimum wage and many who work them already have other jobs.  In other words they have very little effect on the unemployment number.  What they do is help the 47% and those nearly in the 47% pay bills.  These are jobs that the 1% and the media really don't understand.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Act 10

Now that an activist judge has overturned part of act 10 the right is circulating a petition in favor of it.  Goody for you, aside from one of your core beliefs being against petitions what is the point?  Thinking back to my school days I vaguely remember that if a law is ruled unconstitutional the legislative branch could make changes to the law so that it meets the constitutional concerns that the courts had.  In this case all that would have to be done is extend act 10 to cover police and fire, which should have been done in the first place.  Maybe the energy that is being used to circulate meaningless petitions could be better spent educating people on the right how exactly the US system of government works because there seems to be some confusion.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We are the 47%

When Mitt Romney talks about the 47% of Americans who don't pay income taxes everyone immediately conjures up a view of some poor, lazy, good for nothing and know that he is not talking about them.  Unfortunately this is not the reality as countless people have pointed out.  I'm not going there instead I would link what Romney said to what our own Diane Hendricks had to say about right to work.  She was knowingly on camera, Romney wasn't but the two displayed what can only be characterized as contempt for the non-rich (the people who help make them the maker class).  What has shocked people is that this is out in the open and no one is backing away.  Sure there were cracks before, Leona Helmsley famously said that only the little people pay taxes, which I believe led to her conviction on tax evasion charges.

What is truly amazing is that this is the same group of people who would eliminate the minimum wage which will create even more people who don't pay income taxes.  They are either ignoring the income disparity or are really trying to create a peasant class where we are grateful for the scraps that fall from the table of the rich.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mitt the Mexican

I want to focus on Mitt Romney's comment about how his father was born in Mexico but that he is not Hispanic but if he were the race would be going better.  Mitt how are you not Mexican?  Is it because you don't look like the Mexicans crossing the border?  You know Mitt the ruling class in Mexico is pretty white, but if are referring to appearance that is a pretty racist statement.  Is it because your family never really embraced the culture of their adopted homeland?   I sure hope that the current Romney's in Mexico have assimilated.  Or is it because you don't want to bring attention to the fact that your family moved to Mexico to escape US law on Polygamy?   And you with no sense of irony going around the country saying that marriage is between one man and one woman when that isn't even true within your own family.

Friday, September 14, 2012

We've Been Played

By we I mean the United States and by being played I mean the Middle East.  This occurred to me listening to the radio the other and I think that it was Alan Combs who was talking about how the United States is for Democracy and self determination.  He was saying that we overthrew a secular dictator and then there was an election and the Muslim parties won in Iraq.  We have been seeing this repeated all over the Middle East.  I believe that both Presidents Bush and Obama believed that the religious parties would not win.  That was naive on their part.  Not unlike the United States where the fact that if someone is seen as a good Christian is going to get you votes, it should have been expected that seeing someone as a good Muslim would get votes.  The problem comes with political parties that have a radical element in them that want to establish a theocracy.  Again, not unlike today's Republican party (look at the buzz that was generated when the Democrats failed to mention God in their platform).  What these former secular leaders did and I'm not condoning their brutality was keep these elements in check within their countries.  Unfortunately once they fell the United States and others demanded that elections be held and the Islamist parties were the best organized and the won.  Then you get idiots in this country producing propaganda films which drive the people towards these Islamist groups because they are seen as the defenders of a way of life that appeals to them.  A romanticized view of a simpler time where everyone knew their place, where church and state were together, where society was just,...  Now we are stuck with an increasingly radical Middle East that will be increasingly difficult for the West to deal with because we are seen as the infidels in this holy war and as the Western countries try to counter Islam in their own countries have done nothing to dispel this view.  In short we were played by people who want the power and now that they have it (thanks to us) want to export their revolution throughout the world.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

School accountability

In response to the strike by the Chicago teachers the Wisconsin State Journal came out with an editorial position that basically says that it is here stay so get used to it.  They agree that 40% of teachers evaluations should include how their students did on standardized tests.  I don't think that test scores are the end all be all in education.  Why don't we look at the intangibles?  Things like the make-up of the class.  Let's admit that not all kids are capable of the same performance.  If that were true there would be a lot more perfect ACT and SAT results.  These tests are tests that don't really measure what you know.  If that were the case your score couldn't be improved by "teaching to the test".  No, I think that we need a multifaceted approach, we should use test scores but combine it with parent evaluations, student evaluations, and independent evaluations.  For the last one a school district would hire an independent company to evaluate their teachers over the course of the year.  This would work by sending teams of trained educators unannounced into each classroom several times over the course of the year.  They would look at such things as the quality of the students, the quality of the lesson plan, the ability of the teacher to engage the students, the ability of the teacher to manage the classroom, the ability of the teacher to deliver an effective lesson.  This won't be cheap but I really don't see a fairer more effective way to get this done.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sad and Disgusting

Is the Republican party incapable of not making stuff up!  In response to the tragic terrorist attack in Libya, Reince Priebus and Mitt Romney issued statements condemning President Obama for apologizing to the Muslims.  Unfortunately like so many statements in this campaign this statement wasn't true.  It is not even close to what the President said.  "
I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.
I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward."

If the sentence about rejecting efforts to denigrate religions is somehow apologizing I suggest that the Republicans read the constitution and think about the values that this country stands for.  Now the Republicans and their bloggers have escalated the rhetoric that the President will do nothing.  What do you want him to do attack Iran?  It would seem that these individuals are Libyan but that certainly won't stop the neo-con right from attacking the wrong country.  Maybe Mitt would have us turn a country that we just spent billions (and they talk about the deficit) "liberating" into a parking lot.  He has pledged to get those responsible and given his track record of ordering people killed I believe that it will happen.  I don't believe that we will see a trial, it will end like Bin Laden, the pirates, and Gaddafi.

I also think that it right to condemn this film.  The purported film maker apparently doesn't exist.  He was so brave that he used a fake name.  This movie was created with a sole purpose of provoking a war between the Muslim world and the United States and Israel.  Look at the facts as we know them.  The film was made by a right wing Israeli, funded by right wing American Christians, and carried what appeared to be an official endorsement of the US government.  Our embassy in Egypt issued the "apologetic" statement that Romney was speaking of where they condemned the film and said that we weren't associated with it.  The Israelis said the same thing about the film maker, that he wasn't working for them.  This film maker is hiding, we ought to be looking for him and if he is an Israeli citizen deport him to Israel.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Reflections on the Conventions

I didn't watch all of the convention coverage but what I did see was interesting.  The Republicans featured compelling personal stories that conveniently left out parts where they got government loans, grants, tax breaks,...  The Democrats featured the same kind of personal stories but they all gave government the credit for college loans and grants, business loans and grants, ...  Most telling were the speeches of Sen. Rubio and Mayor Castro.  Both men told the same story.  About how their parents worked, saved, and instilled a message that they would be better off than they were.  In fact they used similar tag lines.  Sen. Rubio, " my father was a banquet bartender so that instead of me standing behind the bar in the back of the room I could stand behind the podium in the front of the room".  Mayor Castro, "my mom worked so that I wouldn't be pushing a mop".  The difference was that the people in the Democratic convention seem to get it and the Republicans didn't.  That is the real difference between the parties.  One is a party of the working people the other is the party of the people who have theirs and either can't recall the struggles or were born on 3rd base.

Race Baiting

Jonah Goldberg was writing about how the Democrats see race when that is not really the issue.  He took the example of the Republicans saying that Obama uses the Chicago way of politics.  Two Democrats have said that this remark is racist.  I agree with Jonah it isn't racist.  Where I disagree with Jonah is that it is a statement that implies corruption.  The "Chicago Politics" comment harkens back to the machine politics of a past generation which doesn't exist anymore than saying that Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are disciplines of the Chicago School of economics.  Which may be true if you look at their policies.  But, I fail to see an equivalent for the corrupt politics charge against Obama.  Is the President and his minions working to suppress the vote to get elected? Appears to be Republicans.  Is the President working to create pro Democrat voting districts to deliver a majority in Congress?  Again it would appear to be the Republicans.  Is the President using stimulus to create loyal workers?  Yes, but in States led by Republicans they are turning the money down.  No the President is a shadow of the political bosses of old, but the Republicans are looking very much the part and they are looking like Chicago School of Economics disciples as well.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Isaac part 3

No shortage of hypocrisy in red state Louisiana.  Yesterday on the radio they interviewed a woman self identified as a Republican whose house was under 12 feet of water who said that President Obama had done nothing.  Why wasn't this person challenged?  Obama released Federal aid before the hurricane struck.  She hadn't seen anyone because her house was still under water.  Where was the question about why she didn't have flood/ hurricane insurance?  Where was the pointing out that being a Republican is all about providing for yourself?  Talk about creating a culture of dependency on the Federal government.  When I thought it couldn't get any worse it happened again.  In this morning's Wisconsin State Journal another Republican from Louisiana said that the President should spend whatever it takes to build a better levy system for the rest of the State.  What happened to "State rights and responsibilities"?  Why should the rest of the taxpaying citizen's of the United States who work hard, have homeowners insurance, and flood insurance, whose state and local governments build flood control structures, regulate building,... have to pay for the irresponsible management of Louisiana?  Where is tea party nation and the Republican party on this?  When the President agrees to rebuilding Louisiana we'll hear from both groups about the billions added to the deficit.  Although neither group came out against the spending before it was done.  Hypocrisy and nonsense and irresponsible spending of taxpayer money.