Thursday, April 29, 2010


On Tax Day this year, President Obama was on the road again.  This time he was in Quincy, IL to speak about financial reform.  Tea Party protesters were out for the occasion, and apparently they were so frightening that the local riot police/SWAT team was called out. 

The Huffington Post's coverage attempts to make the whole incident as sinister as possible, of course.  The evidence is pretty slim, though.  Their mention of a lady calling Obama "the annointed one" repeatedly and a man questioning why SWAT were called on them but not on the "rioting" protesters in Arizona attempts to make these people out to be violent dissidents out to create havok.  The horror!  She called him a name!!  Shh...don't mention that it's a name used by pundits and regular Americans alike....

Apparently there were  *gasp*  catcalls and one lady shouted "This is communism".  Doesn't she know that communist leaders would never bring out elite forces against their own peaceful countrymen?  Besides, don't they know the accepted behavior towards police during protests is throwing water bottles at them, not grumbling and catcalls?   It's obvious the excessive police force was a measured, necessary step to take with that unruly, practically out of control mob of right-wing extremists.  How dare those Tea Party ingrates grumble at the fact that the state obviously overreacted by calling out such an intimidating force for so little reason? 

One wonders what was going through the officers' minds as they were marching down the street, sizing up their little blue-haired opponents.   A few eye rolls, perhaps?  No doubt there were those on both sides who were bemoaning the waste of taxpayer funded resources for such a silly exercise.

As for the catcalls, one would hope that the crowd understood that the team had no choice in the matter - they were just following orders and doing their jobs - it's the morons who sent them out there in the first place who deserve the jeers.  It's is a tough job, and our riot police deserve respect and admiration, even when we don't agree with their orders.  They also deserve to be used in the most effective way possible against threats that are beyond the capabilities of ordinary police.  That was definitely not the case in Quincy.

The police had things in hand, but, according to Fox Nation:

Who gave the order to call in the riot police on protesters? Word is that Secret Service from inside the venue and the presidential team pressured local law enforcement, who were against the idea. Local cops were overruled, I’m told by various sources, including a few members of local press. Moore reported that she overheard Secret Service telling the riot squad to “push them back, out of sight.“

Hmmmm.....It seems our Community Organizer in Chief suddenly doesn't like protesting.  Go figure.  The administration has now set a pattern for attempting to cover up and/or squelch any dissent.   Intimidation tactics - the only path to peace, unity and "post-partisan politics".

The SWAT team was officially called on a tea party so now the democrats can finally claim that the tea parties are so out of control that an elite riot control group had to be called in to handle the situation.  Expect to see that argument start popping up on the left very soon.  They've all been waiting for this as illustration for their little narrative.  They've got quite the little fairy tale going on, don't they?

Remember the progressive motto - smear your opposition, by whatever means necessary.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Back in October, I wrote a post in The Ripley Report about the Value Added Tax.  I'm reposting it, because it is still relevant, seven months later.  There is an addition to the post, though.

According to the trial balloon the administration is floating lately about the VAT, it would be set at about 5%.  Don't expect it to stay that way very long.  Let's not forget that the federal Income Tax started at 1%.  European countries have VATs of about 20% or more. 

The fact that Nancy Pelosi is enthusiastic about the idea - and has been for a while - is nothing short of frightening.  Public opinion and the good of the country mean nothing to that woman.  If she wants the tax, she will move heaven and earth, break arms, bribe, threaten and browbeat to get what she wants.  Anyone who doubts that need look no further than the health care "debate". 

Without further ado, here's the Ripley Report on the VAT:

Thursday, October 8, 2009


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on PBS's 'The Charlie Rose Show' Monday, said, "Somewhere along the way, a Value Added Tax plays into the - of course we want to take down the health care cost, that's one part of it, but in the scheme of things, I think it's fair to look at a Value Added Tax as well."

So what is a value added tax, anyway?

Well, the short answer is that it is a consumption tax that is added at each stage of production according to the value added to the product and included in the cost to the consumer.

The long answer? VAT is common around the world, and ranges from 5% all the way up to 25%, and would effect every good purchased. According to the Washington Post,

"a 25 percent VAT could do it all: Pay for health-care reform, balance the federal budget and exempt millions of families from the income tax while slashing the top rate to 25 percent. A gallon of milk would jump from $3.69 to $4.61, and a $5,000 bathroom renovation would suddenly cost $6,250, but the nation's debt would stabilize and everybody could see a doctor."

So a VAT would pay for our many entitlements, but we would feel it every time we purchased something. Don't forget, that VAT is in addition to whatever state sales taxes might be applicable. This is a hefty tax, and, although it technically is levied on manufacturers, the purchasing public will really be paying the price.

This is also a major redistributive mechanism, because a VAT of between 10-14% would generate enough revenue that families making under $100,000/year (about 90% of households) would be exempt from paying income tax, and even those in high tax brackets would enjoy a slight reduction in tax rates. Provided, of course, that the greedy little piggies at the Washington trough allow exemptions and reductions. I don't recommend you hold your breath on that one.

They will most likely attempt to spin it as a tax on all those mean old corporations who are - gasp - profiting from their endeavors. How dare they?! Businesses aren't supposed to make dirty old money, they're supposed to take care of us and give us stuff and be really, really nice and...hey, is that a unicorn peeping out from behind that pretty rainbow?

Back in the real world that all of us outside of D.C. have to live in, a VAT means that, while they can technically say with a straight face that this isn't a tax on the middle class, this is a tax on the middle class, and a big one, at that.


Friday, April 23, 2010


From NewsBusters, here's a little something that should bring a smile:

On Monday, the Christian Science Monitor bucked its mainstream peers by reporting something truthful about the TEA party movement: police officials have begun to relax security requirements at conservative rallies because of the remarkable absence of violence.

Uh-oh!  Well that sure kills the narrative!  (I love the 'remarkable' part - perhaps if they had actually attended a tea party, they might not be so surprised).

Did the Christian Science Monitor not get the talking points on the Tea Parties?  No doubt the White House will be in touch if the story gets legs.  Please note the report came out Monday, and here it is, Friday, and it's barely
 getting noticed.  The article is about how unfair it is that the Tea Partyers are allowed to carry full sized flag poles, signs on wooden sticks and even guns to their rallies, but the left-wing's anti-war protests, for example, are not. 

Hmmmm....I wonder why.....There is even a 2005 blog post from the Democratic Underground about why the blogger hates liberal protests.  It's refreshing to hear a liberal complain about getting blamed for some fringe idiot's sign, and how the media are inevitably drawn to it.    Although this seems to have been meant more as a "don't change the subject" complaint, not a "whoa, don't you think 'kill Bush' is a little too radical" issue.  Glenn Beck has a great rundown of the difference between conservative and liberal rallies.

It seems that at a liberal protest, the police are more likely to be spat upon, whereas at a tea party, they are more likely to be thanked for their service.

 Liberal protests seem like an excuse to a certain faction who attend to destroy and denigrate.  Perhaps because the protesters of the 1960's made it okay to be arrested for protesting - it was patriotic, after all.  Not to mention non-violent.  The kids of today are told by their liberal professors that being arrested at a protest is a badge of honor.  And so, the callowness of youth being what it is, destruction is sure to follow.

The big difference these days is that back in the '60's they were arrested for holding peaceful sit-ins, which brought things to a halt in a non-violent way.  Nowadays, they are getting arrested for smashing windows, burning cars (often at climate rallies - 'cause nothing says caring for the environment like torching a car.) and attacking police.

Ultimately what it comes down to is that the grown-ups know who and what the real opponent is and understand  that more is accomplished by being passionately peaceful than forceful and violent.  Meanwhile, the callow youth are showing how thoughtless, shortsighted and violent rhey are.

It's too bad they've never learned what respect and integrity are.  Perhaps if they had, the police wouldn't have taken their sticks away.



The Obama Administration and GM announced the full repayment of bailout funds, with GM crowing about how they paid off the bailout five years early.  There are also tv commercials with the CEO proudly talking about the repayment, emphasizing it was paid with their own profits. 

Interestly enough, there are reports that the 'profits' that were used were actually from the TARP escrow account.  They used TARP money to pay back TARP money (plus interest - does that even count?).  And then bragged about it:

The bottom line seems to be that the TARP loans were “repaid” with other TARP funds in a Treasury escrow account. The TARP loans were not repaid from money GM is earning selling cars, as GM and the Administration have claimed in their speeches, press releases and television commercials. When these criticisms were put to GM’s Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky in a television interview yesterday, he admitted that the criticisms were valid:

Question: Are you just paying the government back with government money?

Mr. Girsky: Well listen, that is in effect true, but a year ago nobody thought we’d be able to pay this back.

Yes, Mr. Girsky, nobody thought you'd be able to pay it back, and YOU STILL HAVEN'T.

This is sheer insanity.  More importantly, it is a stunning example of the smoke and mirror techniques this administration is relying on to dupe the American people. 

When do you think they will pull the ads?  I'd say pretty soon...

If this little scheme is successful, GM and the administration will look like they closed out the bailout issue, and thus can distance themselves from the stigma.  GM would have the added benefit of presenting a facade of success.  After the poll that came out this week showing that Americans prefer American cars, this would make it look like GM is a force in the industry again.  They are alluding that the payoff money came from booming sales - a complete fallacy.

The best metaphor I've heard is that this is like paying off your visa bill with your mastercard and bragging about your financial condition. 

But wait, there's more.  According to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), any remaining funds in the escrow account would be paid to GM upon 'repayment' of the bailout funds.  Using the same metaphor as before, that's like Mastercard now forgiving the balance and, additionally, loading up the card with a few billion in funds as a thank you gift because you are just so awesome. 

In a classic case of "Who left the irony on", the administration is going after Goldman Sachs for shady bookkeeping.  Whose case, by the way, might be similar to GM's.  Much like the smoke and mirrors of the GM 'repayment", the financial reform bill is smoke and mirrors for Government Sachs.   It is also cover for the adminnistration, to give the appearance of cracking down on the evil fat cats of the financial sector while in reality giving them practically unlimited bailout capabilities.  Goldman Sachs is willing to take the heat because in the end they will have a multi-billion dollar slush fund to draw from.

This administration is nothing but double dealing and deception. Call it what you will - shell game, bait and switch, or business as usual - GM is just another example of it.

Remember in November.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


The far left in this country have been waging a war of words for decades, and their favorite tactic is changing meanings of words to suit their needs.  They are also fond of assigning labels, whether they are applicable or not.  They love to disparage their opponents by using the "scary words" - racist, fascist, extremist.  They know that people back down when they are called certain names, whether they apply to the situation or not. 

The most common example is, of course, the claims that the Tea Parties are racist.  There is no proof of this, but repetition brings on a sense of truth.  If they scream it loud enough and long enough, people will believe it.  Alan Colmes said today that just because there wasn't video of the alleged racial and homophobic slurs doesn't mean they didn't happen.  Actually, Mr. Colmes, that's exactly what it means.  With hundreds of cameras, several in the hands of the alleged "victims" themselves, the fact that there is no video proof whatsoever is in reality proof that the incident never occurred.  And yet the narrative continues.

Today on Fox and Friends, actress Aisha Tyler was part of a panel discussing political topics.  She is obviously an intelligent, informed woman (she has a degree in political science), but she said something that really irritated me, and it's something that definitely needs to be addressed.

One of the other guests commented that the current administration was fascistic.  Ms. Tyler took offense to that term, and stated that fascism is a strictly right-wing policy and so cannot be used to describe the current left-wing administration.

Let's take a look at what Merriam Webster has to say about the definition of  "fascism":

1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

I have checked other dictionaries, but have not seen a single entry that states that fascism is a right-wing only term. The premise that the Nazi's were right-wingers has sprung up in acedemic circles and is being taught in our universities - Ms. Tyler's thought process is most likely due to her poli-sci degree.  Why has fascism (and nazism) been assigned to the right?  (via Free Republic):

According to a popular misconception, the Nazis must have been on the political right because they persecuted communists and fought a war with the communists in Russia. This specious logic has gone largely unchallenged because it serves as useful propaganda for the left, which needs ``right-wing'' atrocities to divert attention from the horrific communist atrocities of the past century. Hence, communist atrocities have received much less publicity than Nazi war crimes, even though they were greater in magnitude by any objective measure.

One also wonders if this attempt to demonize Nazism and make it a right-wing contrivance is because, unlike the atrocities perpetrated in the name of communism, the effects of nazism were photographed and documented for posterity.  It is difficult to whitewash the horrors of the Nazi socialist state because the entire world was inundated with those horrific images.  If that photographic evidence had not existed, would fascism still be considered a bad thing today?  Communism, on the other hand, has remained in the shadows, because the communist dictatorships never allowed such information to be disseminated.  Western cameras were not allowed into the gulags and firing lines.  Documentation was destroyed, redacted or remains classified to this day.

But the history of the past century has been grossly distorted by the predominantly left-wing media and academic elite. The Nazis have been universally condemned -- as they obviously should be -- but they have also been repositioned clear across the political spectrum and propped up as false representatives of the far right -- even though Hitler railed frantically against capitalism in his infamous demagogic speeches. At the same time, heinous crimes of larger magnitude by communist regimes have been ignored or downplayed, and the general public is largely unaware of them. Hence, communism is still widely regarded as a fundamentally good idea that has just not yet been properly ``implemented.'' Santayana said, ``Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.'' God help us if we forget the horrors of communism and get the historical lessons of Nazism backwards.

The left is revising history yet again in their attempt to portray the Nazis as right-wingers, but if you check out the real history, you will find that they were socialists - the term "nazi" stands for National Socialist Workers Party.  Socialism is most definitely NOT a right-wing ideology.  The Nazis ruled from a strong central government that regulated both the economy and society with an iron fist, and they were assuredly in firm control of the press.  One need look no further than the death camps and all of the accounts of dissenters disappearing in the night to verify the "forcible suppression of opposition", and Hitler easily comes to mind when the topic of brutal dictators comes up.

The left also uses corporatism in their argument that the Nazis and Mussolini were right-wingers, but, again, this doesn't fly.  Our past few administrations are perfect examples of corporations benefitting from both sides of the political spectrum, but with this administration there might be a little buyer's remorse happening.  The left is just as arm-in-arm with corporations as the right, but there are one or two major differences between them.  The republicans are pro free market capitalism, and aren't really interested in government control of corporations - Bush-era bailouts didn't come with the strings of governmental control.   The left's bailouts come with strings so thick and unbreakable that they could be used as cables on the Golden Gate bridge.  Under Obama, Pelosi and Reid, the federal government is becoming more and more entwined with and calling the shots more and more often for corporate America.  The left also has something the right does not - the "power of persuasion" of it's union minions.  Power they have been wielding quite effectively over the past year or so.

Hitler was vehemently anti-capitalism, because he felt that the capitalist system favored the Jews.  Our current administration is anti-capitalism because of their quest for the perfect socialist utopia.  The reasons may be different, but the end result is the same - the destruction of the free market economy and the slide into socialism.

For those who scoff at the socialist label, I offer this definition of state socialism, which could also be considered "european-style" socialism:

an economic system with limited socialist characteristics that is effected by gradual state action and typically includes public ownership of major industries and remedial measures to benefit the working class

We have allowed the left to hijack our history and turn it on it's head.  Up is down, left is right, and disinformation rules.  We must take back the narrative and set the record straight.  So the next time you hear someone call you a fascist because you lean right, set them straight.    Keeping silent allows their version to become the accepted reality.  Standing up to them will be a hard fight, but it's one worth winning, and it's one that most definitely CAN be won. 

Our quest over the next few years isn't just to take our country back politically, it's to restore our history, and teach it to our kids.  We must restore the true meaning of names and labels and thus strip the liberals of their power.  Always remember - "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."


Monday, April 19, 2010


God bless the victims and families of the Oklahoma City bombing. Today is the 15th anniversary of that dark day.

There are those who are politicizing this tragic event and using it to smear others. They should be ashamed.

Is this really what we've come to? Is a former American president really using the senseless deaths of 168 fellow Americans, 19 of whom were children, as political fodder to further party talking points?

Perhaps someone should remind Mr. Clinton that OKC was in response to his administration's seige in Waco, TX.


Cross posted at The Ripley Report


Saturday, April 17, 2010


I went to the Fair Tax Tea Party on Thursday.  It was a smallish crowd, but there was plenty of passion.  The lowlight of the day was a gentleman who was passing out "Grayson for Congress" stickers.  I was with a friend who happens to be a reformed Hollywood Democrat, and his only comment on her sign was, "Are you really from Hollywood?"  She said yes and he just shrugged and moved on.  I guess a reformed Hollywood democrat is more than he wanted to deal with.  If she managed to see the light of reason even in the ultimate liberal bubble, there's probably no way in hell he's going be able to talk her back in!  You have to give him credit, I suppose, for braving the crazy extremist mob, right?  Perhaps Grayson was hoping the guy would get attacked or something and illustrate his narrative that the tea party is an unhinged fringe group.  Aside from the guy who used his sticker to blow his nose, things remained civil.  Here are some pictures from the event:


Here's the guy passing out Grayson stickers:

The guest speaker was Katy Abrams, who was the PA lady who spoke at Arlen Specter's town hall back in August:

She was a sincerely concerned citizen speaking from the heart.  In her speech, she described her ordeal with the press after her confrontation with Specter.  She went on MSNBC's Hardball with Larry O'Donnell, who made an example of her with his ruthless attacks - Beware, all ye who would stand up to the administration and it's minions.  He ripped her to pieces and spit her out in his quest to paint all tea partyers as know-nothings who have no right to speak their own minds.  Her speech was heartfelt and moving.

As obviously shaken as she was by the press ordeal, she refuses to let them get her down or make her quit.  She's just a stay at home mom, sure, but she is also a mama bear protecting her cubs' futures.  They can knock her down, but she will just get back up, dust herself off, and start all over again.  She is living proof that we can all stand up to "the man" and survive.  They are trying to intimidate us, make us doubt ourselves and give up hope, but we are made of sterner stuff than that.

We are, after all, Americans.  We should never, never be underestimated.

UPDATE:  Here is a great roundup of Tea Party crashers in San Francisco from Pajamas Media.  Check it out for some laughs.


Thursday, April 15, 2010


Happy Tax Day.  Today, across the country, people are gathering to protest the taxation and radical left tilt of the current administration.  The tea parties, despite all of the media furor over alleged racism and violence, are exciting, energetic, downright friendly events.  It is always surprising that they are portrayed in the press as angry, hostile mobs. 

But are they a violent, fringe mob?  All evidence so far points to no. This, however, is the narrative the neoPravda media, good lapdogs that they are, have decided to go with, whether due to personal bias or adherence to party talking points.  The democrats' Alinsky based tactics require the demonization of opposition, and so, good radicals that they are, they are following the instructions to the letter.  It's a sad  illustration of their lack of creativity that they are resorting to the usual old, tired accusations of racism and stupidity.  People, you really need to freshen it up a little bit.  Recheck your Alinsky Rule #7 - "A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag."  Even radical activists get bored.

After eight years of Bush is stoooopid and the past two years of any dissent from the current radical agenda being called racist, it is definitely time for them to try something else.  It is a sad day when being called a racist is a joke or, God forbid, a badge of honor due to it's absurdity.  These days you just aren't a tea partyer worth your salt if you haven't been called a racist at least once.  Their overplayed, tattered race card is disintegrating before their eyes, but what else have they got?  They certainly can't argue the merits of their plans - if they could, their master-orator-in-chief would have managed to make the health care bill one of the most popular pieces of legislation in recent history, given that he has been desperately trying to sell it for well over a year now. 

The blatant lies about taxation that they have been attempting to disseminate are literally laughable.  They are now dealing with an electorate that is wide awake and paying attention to every little thing they are trying to do.  The usual lies just don't seem to work anymore.  The electorate are also managing to put all of the disparate pieces of the agenda together and thus envision the entire scope of the "transformation" Pelosi, Reid and Obama are attempting.  As with most arrogant foes who buy their own press, the lefties have completely underestimated their opposition and so are continuously being caught off guard by them and their grasp of what is happening.  Tea partyers have even managed to turn around the "teabagger" epithet:

The radical left have now found themselves in quite a dilemma.  They have carefully nurtured a narrative, but those rotten teabaggers have failed to prove their theory.  No matter how they goad, poke, and provoke conservatives, they refuse to sink to the level they are being accused of.  So now the left find themselves having to funlfill the narrative themselves and then blame the tea party for their antics.  An interesting idea, but one that always seems to backfire.  The recent blatant advertising for anarchists and other liberal allies to "crash" the tea parties is a perfect illustration of their desperation.  A putz named Jason Levin set up a website calling for radicals to infiltrate and subvert the tea party.  Apparently those stoooopid teabaggers are refusing to show their true racist, homophobic, mouthbreather sides, so the lefties are determined to do it for them.  Levin, however, is experiencing a bit of blowback.  He is a middle school teacher, and he is being investigated by the school board for using school computers to create and monitor his website.  He is also being investigated for possible attempts at identity theft (via Fox News):

“Some other thoughts are to ask people at the rally to sign a petition renouncing socialism. See just how much info you can get from these folks (name address, DOB, Social Security #). The more data we can mine from the Tea Partiers, the more mayhem we can cause with it!!!!” he wrote.

The state agency is investigating whether this is a hint at identity theft, and whether it is appropriate behavior for a public school teacher. It also will investigate charges that Levin used school computers during school hours to work on his Web site. Levin works at Conestoga Middle School's media lab and teaches 6th, 7th and 8th graders about computers and technology.

Do they really not realize how their tactics hurt their own cause?  Is this man really willing to steal people's identities in order to ruin their lives simply because they hold a different political philosophy?   Have we really sunk so low in this country?  When did the tenets of free speech and tolerance get stricken from the left's list of ideals?  These people are having conniptions about tea partyers metaphorically putting Nancy Pelosi on the firing line, as in, getting fired, not incitements to violence as the left attempts to paint it, but they have no problems with trying to destroy the lives of common Americans, whether it be through violence, threats or identity theft and exploitation. 

It almost seems that the anger directed at the movement is because of their refusal to live up (down?) to the expectations of the left.  Let's not forget, too, that lefties expect screaming invective and violence at rallies because that is the norm for them.  The fact that the tea parties, with crowds numbering in the thousands, are peaceful must just boggle the progressive mind.  How is it that they are managing to get their point across without burning flags, smashing windows and torching cars?

And so the lefties continue to push their narrative as best they can.  Unfortunately for them, camera phones are everywhere, and there is just no proof to back up their argument.  They are still trying to milk the allegations that the n-word was hurled not once, not twice, but fifteen times during the Congressional Black Caucus' symbolic march through the protesters the day health care passed.  Rep. Jessie Jackson, Jr. had not one but two video cameras panning the crowd as he walked, as well as numerous mainstream media cameras and the literally hundreds of camera phones in the audience, and yet there is not even a single instance of racist invective caught on film.  There is no doubt whatsoever that if such footage existed, it would be all over the news, even now, nearly a month later.

Tea partyers, be careful out there today.  Keep an eye out for protesters, and don't sign any petitions today - Jason Levin has made every petition suspect now.  But don't let these attempts to discredit and intimidate keep you from assembling.  Continue to prove the left's narrative wrong - be passionate but respectful, enthusiastic but controlled.  Isolate the infiltrators and show them for what they are.

If you go to an event, please send me your pictures and stories. Let's show the world that democracy in action can be peaceful.


Monday, April 12, 2010


This is just totally awesome.  It turns out our legislative taskmasters, who are so very much smarter than we (just ask them), have painted themselves into one heck of a corner. 

In a surprising turn of events, it seems Congress has managed to screw itself for a change. 

Yes, the brainiacs up on Capitol Hill have managed to take away their own health coverage. According to the health care legislation, Capitol Hill staffers and members of Congress will be losing their current coverage in order to be shunted into the new "health care exchange" the legislation sets up.  The problem comes because the writers of the bill neglected to put in a start date on when they are supposed to switch to the exchange.  This means that the start date automatically becomes the day the bill is signed into law.  Which was three weeks ago.  So why is this a problem?  Well, the much touted "exchanges" are not due to be implemented until 2014.   A date that is specified in the bill.   So the old coverage ended three weeks ago and the new coverage isn't due to be created until 2014.

Oooopsie!  It just boggles the mind, doesn't it?   Honestly, this administration is beginning to resemble one of those ridiculous screwball comedies of the 1930's - except this particular comedy just isn't very funnny.  Granted, Pelosi plays irrational and crazy even better than Carole Lombard, but she just doesn't have even an iota of the charm and class that made Lombard's loony characters so endearing. Ruthless conniving just doesn't play well in Peoria.  Harry Reid, the bumbling fool, is trying to do his part, even hilariously voting no twice on his own bill.  The man is the Harpo Marx of the Senate - I keep waiting for him to pull a horn out of his pocket to honk whenever Joe Biden opens his mouth and inserts his foot.   In case you were wondering, Obama is the straight man with no sense of humor who ends up with a pie in the kisser at the end of the movie.  With any luck, votes will be tossing that pie come 2012.

Hopefully this little fiasco will teach them a much needed lesson.  Always read the bill.  Got it?  Always. Read. The. Bill. 

The New York Times has the quote of the day:

“If they did not know exactly what they were doing to themselves, did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?

What?  This Congress, out of touch and clueless?  Nooooooo.....!   How nice of the Times to finally catch up with the rest of us.  Better late than never, right?  \

HotAir's Allahpundit has a fun rundown of the situation.  Be sure to check it out!


Friday, April 9, 2010


I have a fourth grade child.  She's a great kid, and a lot like me in some interesting ways.  One way is her embracing of my newfound political identity and, as children are wont to do, her taking of my views as her own.  I took her to a Palin rally during the election, and we were privileged to speak (briefly, of course) with Todd, Piper and Willow. We all got autographs and it seems the whole experience really made a big impression on my daughter.  She has been politically savvy ever since.  Yes, she sometimes gets bored with all of the political talk in the house, but quite often she joins in, and she knows that all of the talk is because her father and I are concerned about her future.  So in my new life as an activist, I am guilty of politicizing my child.  I'm not concerned about this, though, because she is my child and I have every right to do so. 

However, I object strenuously when people try to use her as a political pawn.  This happened just today in, of all places, her school. 

The state of Florida has been hotly debating legislation to put teachers on a merit pay system that just passed our House this morning.  The legislation would require the testing of all children in grades K-12 at the end of the year.  This test is to evaluate the effectiveness of the teacher.  Opponents of the measure say that this means the teachers will be teaching to a test.  They are already doing that with our FCAT system, if critics of that program are to be believed.  Luckily the FCAT is a comprehensive test that is standard for the entire state.  Whatever the critics might claim, the FCAT program has boosted the literacy rates of Florida schools and closed the "minority gap" of educational success.

My daughter's teacher has spent the past three days up in Tallahassee protesting the legislation.  Her class had to make due with a substitute.  She returned to class today, so hoarse that she could barely lecture.  Most of the day was, apparently, spent with the kids writing letters to the governor asking him to veto the bill when it comes to his desk, so her hoarseness wasn't much of an issue.

What did the teacher tell the children in order to get them to write to a politician and demand he veto a bill?  She told them that if the bill passes, they will be forced to take lots of big scary tests.  She has told them that no one will benefit from the bill - in fact, children will be hurt by it because they will have those big scary tests to take.   She also told them to email and call the governor to tell him to veto the bill over the weekend. 

I am absolutely outraged.  How dare they use my child to push their agenda?  I support the merit bill, and I resent my child being used in an attempt to stop it from becoming law.  The teacher's unions are in panic mode because this bill will get rid of tenure and require all teachers to be on year-to-year contracts for the first three years.  After the three years, they can sign multi-year contracts, but, if their students perform poorly on the evaluation tests,  the schools will be able to fire them more easily because the tenure structure has been removed.  This program rewards good teachers and gives schools an opportunity to jettison bad ones.  Just as importantly, the union loses a lot of power.

As a parent, I have been extremely lucky in the teachers my children have had.  For the most part, we have had teachers who have a real, vested interest in "their" children and their careers as educators.  Unfortunately, we have also had the misfortune to have one or two teachers who see the job more as a way to get a paycheck and have summers off.  My child's grades have suffered and enthusiasm for school dropped dramatically.  When you end up with a teacher like that, it is nearly impossible to transfer your child to another class - suffering through until the next year or pulling the child out to home school are really the only options most parents have. 

I can understand why my child's current teacher is so opposed to this bill - quite frankly, I think she would be one of the first casualties of the new standards.  My daughter has gone from a straight A student last year with perfect attendance to a mixed bag ranging from A's to D's and a constant desire to stay home.  This is not due to missed homework or poor test grades (she averages 90's - 100 on tests) , it is entirely due to poor grades from in-class work. I have flirted with pulling her out to home school but, knowing what a little social butterfly she is, am hesitant to take her away from the structure and socialization of the school environment. 

Last year, on the other hand, she had a superb teacher.  All of her children excelled; even the more troubled students thrived under her.  Unfortunately, she is no longer at the school, as the principal did not offer her tenure or even assurances of work for the next year until after she had found another position.  Hopefully her new school will realize what a treasure they have and keep her happy.

Which brings me to an interesting story that she told me towards the end of last year.  She mentioned that the fourth grade teachers were complaining to her about how well her students were performing.  They told her to take it down a notch, because she was raising the bar too high for the next year's teachers.   This was appallling to me, and quite an eye opener.  It made it obvious that the unions tend to reward slacking and mediocrity, and our children are paying the price.

The FCAT program has endured a steady stream of criticism since it's inception, but the results don't lie.  No doubt this new legislation, if Crist signs it into law, will also be vilified for years to come.  If the FCAT issue is any indicator, criticism by unions who are only out to protect their status quo (how fun to use their favorite term against them!) have little bearing on facts.

I see nothing but benefits from this bill.  As for the threat of new testing, well, children have to take tests throughout the school year, culminating in the FCATs - isn't that the point, really? 

I've heard the test called unfair because minority kids don't have the same background as white kids when it comes to taking high-stakes standardized tests. Is the solution then to surrender to this weakness or to confront it and overcome it?

Life is about high-stakes testing.

You want to get in a good college, it's the SAT. There are tests for graduate school, law school and medical school. There is a test to become a police sergeant, a fire lieutenant, a general contractor and most every other skilled profession.

The FCAT is a primer for life.

Holding teachers accountable via testing only makes sense.  The importance of their job requires that there be strict standards, and those who excel should reap the benefits.  Those who do not should find another profession.  The Dept. of Education needs administrators, too.

A favorite argument is that sometimes children just don't test well - perhaps they are ill or have testing issues - so this program runs the risk of punishing good teachers whose good students have a bad day.  Most children who have testing issues are identified early and there are programs to help them and/or they are given extra time to take the tests.  Those who are sick are encouraged to stay home for the day and take the retest.  My daughter actually did that with the final day of the FCATs this year.  She took the remainder of the test the next week, no problem.  But even if the child goes to school feeling ill, one bad score in the classroom won't do much damage; the aggregate score of the rest of the class will make up for one or two bad testers.  There will probably be a few cases that fall through the cracks, but name me a profession where that doesn't happen. 

Have we really come to the point where the risk of losing a few good teachers demands we keep all of the bad ones with no question?  Is this what the progressives mean when they talk about fairness and social justice?  How is being saddled with a sub-par teacher "fair" to our children?

The teachers and their unions have no problem using their students as human shields to protect their own interests, but seem perversely indifferent to the real issues arising from unfirable bad teachers and their effect on the children in their dubious care. 

The odds are good that Crist will veto the bill - the opposition is on fire to kill it and the unions are highly organized. 

Crushed with calls on Friday afternoon, Crist's office voicemail said it could no longer accept messages. By 5 p.m., his office reported calls and emails from 25,701 opponents and 137 supporters since March 1. Another 3,107 organized e-mail campaigns poured in from critics, and 279 from proponents.

Please note in the above quote the term "organized e-mail campaigns".  Union dues at work, of course.  Unfortunately, many people, myself included, have been so consumed with national events that we have lost track of what is happening in our own backyards.  I and others I know are going to wage our own campaign over the next week to email and call in our support for the bill.    We can use all the help we can get. 

Bottom line, this bill is good for our schools and good for our kids.  The cream will rise to the top under this bill and our children will reap the rewards.

Governor Crist, do the right thing and sign this bill into law.  Forget, for a minute, the unions and their influence over elections, and do it for the kids.

UPDATE: Here's my email to Gov. Crist:

Dear Governor,

Please do not veto the merit pay bill that has passed the House today. I know that you are getting a lot of pressure to veto the measure, but the bill will improve our classrooms by weeding out underperforming teachers and rewarding those who excel. This in turn can have nothing but good results for our children.

As a parent, this issue affects me deeply. I have had the opportunity to see my children thrive under excellent teachers and wither under bad ones. Right now, it is a crapshoot as to what my child will get each year. Last year we were lucky, this year not. Unfortunately, there is little recourse for me or my child. We either stick it out and hope for something better next year or I pull her and home school.

When she came home today and told me how her teacher had taken 3 days off to protest and then spent today making the kids write letters to you asking you to veto the bill (my child is 10 and in 4th grade) instead of catching them up from her missed days, I am even closer to home schooling. I do not appreciate my child being used as a political pawn. Her teacher told her class that the bill would be bad for children because they will have to take another big, scary test. Excuse me, but I thought school was all about taking tests. Above and beyond that, I find it inappropriate for a teacher to be forcing her views (which I vehemently oppose) on a bunch of 9 and 10 year olds and manipulating them with scare tactics. Politics are appropriate for high school civics classes - NOT elementary school.

Considering what an important job teaching our next generation is, shouldn't our teachers be held accountable?

Please remember that the unions are driving the opposition because this bill will cripple them. Yes, the unions are powerful forces, especially in an election year, but the really important issue is what is best for the children, not the unions.

Please, Governor Crist, sign the bill. Merit pay works.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Here's a little something for your listening pleasure:

I hope you enjoy it.  I will be back on the job in the next day or two.  In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the musical stylings of Jonathan and David McWhite!


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