Friday, June 26, 2009

E D U C A T I O N ? (No!)

These posts will concern education.

Democrats are certainly on the side of the students their union workers teach. Of course, that's why in Democratic-controlled New York City hundreds of public school teachers accused of myriad offenses from insubordination to sexual misconduct are being paid to...sit around or do whatever they want...because their union contract makes it almost impossible to fire them. They are sent to, not the hall, but off-school-site offices to wait for disciplinary hearings which take months even years. 700 or so of them get their pay of $70,000 or more, holidays, weekends and summer vacations. Union boss Ron Davis of the United Federation of (228,000) Teachers says teachers cannot be neglected on their due process. Indeed. New York's 1,100,000 students don't pay union dues or vote.

Since government has become fully involved in higher education, costs have blown up. The law of supply and demand. Pour government money in and prices go up. Total college costs are up 67% over the last decade at private colleges and 84% at public 4-year universities, that's 6.6% a year, 2.4 times U. S. consumer price increases. Did that money go to better teaching? Not at all. With administrators in charge of all this money, administration costs have skyrocketed twice that of teaching costs: the money went to empire building, bureaucrats' salary increases, student services (non-classroom), but not teachers. Actually most of the new instructor jobs created have been part-timers, "adjunct" faculty.

Especially the declining achievement in the United States and the vehement opposition to "reform" in the sense of chartering non-public schools ("charter sachools") in competition to public schools. Teachers unions bosses who, it seems, care first about retaining union-dues-payers by getting them public money and easier working conditions, and remotely about the success of the students themselves. All this speaks to the abuse of money and power by the unions and the Democratic Party, which depends on union bosses obtaining workers' dues to "invest" in the election of Democrats to enable union bosses to keep their cushy jobs.

While there are some isolated support of charter schools by Democrats, when that happens the unions do their best to shut them up. The mayor of Democratic forever Boston, Tom Menino actually changed and now supports "what works" -- privately chartered schools which accomplish increased achievement of students. Yes, predictably the union bosses went beserk. But for now Mayor Menino is firm, in part because of instances of abuse by crippling union-boss monopoly control over public schools. When ExxonMobil gave a struggling school a grant to reward teachers for their students' excelling, the union bosses sued and effectively killed the bonuses and the grant. This might put pressure and Democrat Governor Deval Patrick who, like President Obama, throws out words of support for charter schools with no mandates, no money to actually perform. Polls say his re-election in 2010 could be in jeopardy...THAT'S the only thing that could get a Democrat to act.

California has the highest teaching salaries in the U. S. And the second-LOWEST math and reading scores. Answer: (from the unions) get rid of testing. Answer: (from rational human beings) get rid of unions.

Most states have educational-union monopolies.

How does America stand up to its foreign competitors? Great, it's number 20 of 30 other countries, lagging Finland, Japan, Germany, Belguim and 19 others. But it's better in math, scoring 25 of 30...meaning only 4 are worse. Oops, I mean worse.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Members of Congress and employees of government should have the same healthcare as we do, not better. They work for us. Write, call or email your Congress members and 5 of your friends and demand equivalent healthcare for all of us Americans. It's an outrage, Congress is not royalty.
Well, now that I've started, I've noticed that Congress and federal agencies are expected to spent upwards of $60,000,000 on a little-known perk unavailable to us common Americans. Old student loans taken out by Congressional staff people, and other government employees, can be paid off, the taxpayers, disguised as "the government". It started as a little perk costing $1,000,000 in 2002. Steadily increasing, staff people working for Congress now get a maximum of $10,000 a year repayment of their student loans (primarily, of course, for law school) with a lifetime maximum of $40,000. This is, of course, in addition to "educational" programs paid for by us taxpayers for...Pilates and yoga and...the Senate's Vice-Presidential Bust Collection, whatever that is and haven't all the Veeps been men? Their busts are collected? Huh?
Congressman Jim McDermott (U. S. Rep, Dem, WA) earmarked $250,000 of "Obama's Stimulus money (oops, strike that, it's not Obama's money it's ours, the taxpayers!) to fix up the Rainier Club, exclusive enclave for the rich and famous because its rich members didn't want to...Jimmy Congressman, get real you bozo!
Well let's add perks. Congress' taxpayer-funded junkets rose ten times (1,000%) since 1995, with the Democrats taking control of Congress in 2007 and increasing them 50%. And spouses fly free but only on government planes, if they fly commerical spouses pay. You might wonder why the government has planes for Congress when airlines fly the same places. PERKS is the answer, cushy jobs that contribute to them fighting tooth and nail to keep the jobs. All with taxpayer money. Sixteen U. S. Airforce planes are dedicated to the lawmakers, and apparently one for Speaker Pelosi alone!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Wall Street Critic Inspired New Consumer-'Protection' Agency"

President Obama's idea for a new consumer-protection agency came from this one woman, Elizabeth Warren. She's another Harvard Law School professor who seem to have impregnated the Obama administration. But part of what she wants is to force banks and other financial institutions to offer simple, understandable instruments to the public. These would be "plain vanilla" and easily compared as to price and terms. It is a great idea. I would support something that is simple and understandable to the common person, unlike Medicare and the Federal Income Tax Code. And if Congress could keep their nit-picking, dirty hands off adding incremental items to grab campaign contributions. I am certain that is impossible for Congress to do, given history.

Butmy mantra: "Educate, don't regulate" could apply here if they weren't Democrats.

Ms. Warren's idea of simplicity should be extended to the healthcare industry. Medicare has over 150,000 pages of regulations. No wonder healthcare is so high priced (and growing 35% faster than other healthcare) and oblique. No one can understand its rules and regulations, most of which are wrong-headed attempts to legislate honesty, which in the end is impossible. Dishonest people will steal. Laws need to be clear and understandable unlike Medicare and the IRS). And punishment must be certain and tough. But Congress cannot stop putting in changes to benefit those who give them campaign contributions. Each change perverts the marketplace. ObamaCare or KennedyCare will simply add to all this gobblygook and continue increasingly expensive and increasingly unavailable healthcare. Their idea of cutting costs is cutting physicians' income and revenue from hospitals...certainly that's "reform".

Simplicity. Education not regulation. Important philosophies of rational beings.

Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat from Oregon has a markedly better idea for healthcare than either Obama's or Kennedy's. Read about it here: If you care about the upcoming healthcare clusterfxxk read this article carefully.

And Safeway has used a market-based approach to make its non-union employees more healthy and keep their healthcare costs flat. An important strategy that our politicians will not read. Don't bother the Democrats with facts... and

Judge Sonia Sotomayor...Justice? Spineless Republicans

An article in the Wall Street Journal On-line, June 29, 2009: "The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race. The ruling reverses a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals-court judge." So much for her "unbiased" racial decision making. Thrown out!


A newspaper article Saturday, June 20, 2009 indicated that Republicans were going to let the fact that Judge Sotomayer belongs to an all-influential-women's group pass and slide her nomination along. My response was a letter to the (unnamed) editor:

"So Republicans don't plan to object to Judge Sotomayor because she's a member of a discriminatory group which is apparently against the Judicial Code of Ethics. Judge Sotomayor cleverly described the group, Belizean Grove, as not being "invidious" in its discrimination. However the code apparently doesn't mention "invidious" but simply being discriminatotory, which an all-influential-women's club certainly is. It discriminates against men and un-influential women. By passing on this important issue, Republicans are approving of the double standard where Republican members of the Bohemian Club would be rejected out of hand. Republicans, if you want to get elected ever again, stand up for principles. Too many times you are apparently afraid of left-leaning media criticism (which comes anyway). You allow liberals to get away with chipping away at the rule of law, when they don't give conservatives an inch. That is why Barack Obama is president and Democrats controll Congress. Reject the judge and do it loudly. Americans want leaders!"

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. President Obama, with his selection of "empathy", "compassion" and "understanding" over, or at a par with, the Rule of Law in nominating Judge Sotomayer is showing an ignorance in abstract thinking. It is easy to sympathize with the downtrodden, the victim, the innocent and make a decision based on those emotions. But that directly leads to the destruction of the rule of law, under which the success of the United States of America has in part been based. Emotion equates to arbitrariness, and the rule of law was embraced to rid the newly-formed United States of America of the arbitrary decision-making of kings, nobility and bureaucrats. I feel sorry for a home-owner who can't make his mortgage payments. But the contract he signed under the rule of law is more important than his sad loss. Without the rule of law, one bureaucrat could feel sorry for the person and change his contract, another might not. Arbitrary. A company cannot make a contract not knowing if it will be held to be valid or not. Obama's ignorance, or, more charitably, naivety in not understanding the unintended consequence of this arbitrariness stunning.

Well what did you expect? President Obama is 100% a political animal, power is his life. Of course he'd politicize the Supreme Court. More troubling to me is the thought…the possibility that Judge Sonia Sotomayor might get there in order to shake things up. Meaning, perhaps that she'd use her apparently well-known temper and sometimes-scattered thought to disrupt, scramble, confuse, obstruct the workings of the court. Emotionalize it. Might she cause conservative justices to consider retirement as a result? Just a thought. But no doubt she'll be confirmed. Republicans are running scared that liberals will criticize them. Paint them as anti-Hispanic. Geeze, maybe the New York Times won't like them for thinking she's a non-Constitutional activist. But they'll shrink turtle-like into their shells and after she's confirmed, they'll spout out. Same old, same old losers! Where's the "Party of No!" Remember the Cheney. HE got Obama on the run. Go for it or stop complaining.

And Judge Sotomayer believes women, especially minorities, especially especially Hispanic women can make better decisions than white males. Roe v. Wade anyone? Brown v. Board of Education anyone?

While President Obama poses as a post-racial, race-neutral president, his actions -- Judge Sotomayer being case in point -- speak with forked tongue. (See that post for more.) She represents racism at its worst. It is her race and gender which make her attractive to Liberals. And that alone. See:

Here we come, the rule of emotion.

Oh, yes, she is a member of an elite all-women's club: the Belizean Grove. Federal judges pledged a code not to join any organization that descriminates by race, sex, religion or nationality. Of course SHE get a pass because she's empathetic. Be she a conservative, it would be all over for her nomination! But Democrats are above the law.


Friday, June 19, 2009

"This (Late) Bloomer Isn't Going To Apologize"

Ditto this (late) boomer, who isn't going to apologize:


JUNE 19, 2009

This Boomer Isn't Going to Apologize



"Last weekend I attended my niece's high-school graduation from an upscale prep school in Washington, D.C. These are supposed to be events filled with joy, optimism and anticipation of great achievements. But nearly all the kids who stepped to the podium dutifully moaned about how terrified they are of America's future -- yes, even though Barack Obama, whom they all worship and adore, has brought "change they can believe in." A federal judge gave the commencement address and proceeded to denounce the sorry state of the nation that will be handed off to them. The enemy, he said, is the collective narcissism of their parents' generation -- my generation. The judge said that we baby boomers have bequeathed to the "echo boomers," "millennials," or whatever they are to be called, a legacy of "greed, global warming, and growing income inequality."
And everyone of all age groups seemed to nod in agreement. One affluent 40-something woman with lots of jewelry told me she can barely look her teenagers in the eyes, so overcome is she with shame over the miseries we have bestowed upon our children.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that graduation ceremonies have become collective airings of guilt and grief. It's now chic for boomers to apologize for their generation's crimes. It's the only thing conservatives and liberals seem to agree on. Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana, told Butler University grads that our generation is "just plain selfish." At Grinnell College in Iowa, author Thomas Friedman compared boomers to "hungry locusts . . . eating through just about everything." Film maker Ken Burns told this year's Boston College grads that those born between 1946 and 1960 have "squandered the legacy handed to them by the generation from World War II."
I could go on, but you get the point. We partied like it was 1999, paid for it with Ponzi schemes and left the mess for our kids and grandkids to clean up. We're sorry -- so sorry.
Well, I'm not. I have two teenagers and an 8-year-old, and I can say firsthand that if boomer parents have anything for which to be sorry it's for rearing a generation of pampered kids who've been chauffeured around to soccer leagues since they were 6. This is a generation that has come to regard rising affluence as a basic human right, because that is all it has ever known -- until now. Today's high-school and college students think of iPods, designer cellphones and $599 lap tops as entitlements. They think their future should be as mapped out as unambiguously as the GPS system in their cars.
CBS News reported recently that echo boomers spend $170 billion a year -- more than most nations' GDPs -- and nearly every penny of that comes from the wallets of the very parents they now resent. My parents' generation lived in fear of getting polio; many boomers lived in fear of getting sent to the Vietnam War; this generation's notion of hardship is TiVo breaking down.
How bad can the legacy of the baby boomers really be? Let's see: We're the generation that spawned Microsoft, Intel, Apple, Google, ATMs and Gatorade. We defeated the evils of communism and delivered the world from the brink of global thermonuclear war. Now youngsters are telling pollsters that they think socialism may be better than capitalism after all. Do they expect us to apologize for winning the Cold War next?
College students gripe about the price of tuition, and it does cost way too much. But who do these 22-year-old scholars think has been footing the bill for their courses in transgender studies and Che Guevara? The echo boomers complain, rightly, that we have left them holding the federal government's $8 trillion national IOU. But try to cut government aid to colleges or raise tuitions and they act as if they have been forced to actually work for a living.
Yes, the members of this generation will inherit a lot of debts, but a much bigger storehouse of wealth will be theirs in the coming years. When I graduated from college in 1982, the net worth of America -- all our nation's assets minus all our liabilities -- was $16 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. Today, even after the meltdown in housing and stocks, the net worth of the country is $45 trillion -- a doubling after inflation. The boomers' children and their children will inherit more wealth and assets than any other in the history of the planet -- that is, unless Mr. Obama taxes it all away. So how about a little gratitude from these trust-fund babies for our multitrillion-dollar going-away gifts?
My generation is accused of being environmental criminals -- of having polluted the water and air and ruined the climate. But no generation in history has done more to clean the environment than mine. Since 1970 pollutants in the air and water have fallen sharply. Since 1960, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh have cut in half the number of days with unsafe levels of smog. The number of Americans who get sick or die from contaminants in our drinking water has plunged for 50 years straight.
Whenever kids ask me why we didn't do more to combat global warming, I explain that when I was young the "scientific consensus" warned of global cooling. Today's teenagers drive around in cars more than any previous generation. My kids have never once handed back the car keys because of some moral problem with their carbon footprint -- and I think they are fairly typical.
The most absurd complaint of all is that the health-care system has been ruined by our generation. Oh, really? Thanks to massive medical progress in the past 30 years, the chances of dying from heart disease and many types of cancer have been cut in half. We found effective treatments for AIDS within a decade. Life expectancy has risen and infant mortality fallen. That doesn't sound so "selfish" to me.
Yes, we are in a deep economic crisis today -- but it's no worse than what we boomers faced in the late 1970s after years of hyperinflation, sky-high tax rates and runaway government spending. We cursed our parents, too. But then we grew up and produced a big leap forward in health, wealth and scientific progress. Let's see what this next generation of over-educated ingrates can do."

Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page W13, Friday, June 19, 2009