The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Posts Tagged ‘New York

Absurdity Du Jour

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After years of economy-strangling regulations, absurdly high tax rates, and public unions’ taxpayer-funded benefits, the policies of the far left have killed the golden goose in California.

The state is broke.

Now elected officials are scrambling to solve a self-inflicted crisis.

One school district in Sacramento must cut $43 million from their budget so they face the unfortunate task of laying off teachers. You would think the best teachers would be kept. However, one of the casualties of this school district’s round of layoffs was Sacramento Teacher-of-the-Year Michelle Apperson.

The Sacramento Teacher-of-the-Year got fired?

Yep. State law mandates that layoffs be dictated by union seniority. She is a victim of her own union’s requirements. She wasn’t “senior” enough regardless of her qualifications or merits. You don’t have to be a good teacher to keep your job you just have to “hang around’ long enough to gain Tenure.

About 80% of all public school teachers have tenure. That’s why teachers who drink alcohol before class, or even during class; teachers who deal drugs; teachers who can’t read or do basic math (all real examples by the way) can’t be fired while Teachers-of-the-year can.

Estimates of the number of incompetent teachers range from a low of 5% to as many as 18% of the 2.6 million total, or between 135,000 and 468,000 bad teachers. All states and the District of Columbia have tenure laws that were negotiated by the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Unions insist these laws are in place to protect good teachers by giving them due process rights. Critics claim tenure and the unions are the problem.

The evidence across the country seems to back the critics.

A Kansas state representative in an interview with Investors Business Daily said, “Tenure is a very hot issue. If a legislator brings it up, it’s a battle royal. Unless you’re molesting children or robbing banks, you can’t be fired.” She adds that allowing poor teachers to remain in the classroom means more remedial teachers will be needed, which puts more dues money in union coffers. “The unions want as many teachers as possible, making as much money as possible. Their mission is teachers, not children.”

Children don’t pay union dues.

New York state Assemblywoman Debra Mazzarelli told Investors Business Daily: “Our tenure laws protect ineffective and unmotivated teachers and administrators. Removing a tenured employee from his or her position is so difficult, expensive and time-consuming that, for all intents, it is impossible.”

Public unions and Big Government resist any and all free market reforms to education because it would mean the end of their monopoly and their Big Money.

I do not wish to paint ALL union members with the same broad brush, but too many of the good ones stand silent about the corrupt practices of their leadership. I understand their resistance to speaking up. A quick review of unions and how they treat whistle blowers on their own leadership will make their hesitance to say anything publicly very clear, but how is not speaking out about something obviously wrong any different than actual endorsement?

Perhaps the renewed public outcry being heard here and there in the media and public forums will embolden honest union members to help clean up their professions and clean out the bad eggs who ruin it for everyone.

An Example The Occupiers Could Learn From

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The squatters in New York (they call themselves occupiers or the 99%) say life isn’t fair, it’s too hard, the big banks are ruining their lives, they can’t pay their loans, and it’s not their fault!

There are some people over in the Philippines they all need to meet.  Such a meeting would give them both perspective and an education.  They’d learn that squatting, whining, complaining, blaming doesn’t get anything done while rolling up your sleeves, putting on your thinking cap, and putting others before yourself can solve a lot of problems.

See for yourself.

If that doesn’t inspire you, you don’t have a pulse. Or perhaps a conscience…

Written by DCL

October 11, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Wall Street Protester Caught Fibbing…Just a Tad.

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You may have heard about the protests on Wall Street in New York over the weekend. Then again, maybe you didn’t. Turns out they weren’t that big of a deal, until that is, this guy popped up on video. Robert Stephens’ (with a PH) story sounds terrible, even heart breaking. At first glance and on face value, it makes you feel sympathy for the cause he is advocating and his reasons to protest the “Big Banks”.

But Mr. Stephens wasn’t using the intelligence that helped him graduate from Carlton College and got him into the George Washington University law school while shouting out his serious allegations.  He didn’t stop to think whether anyone listening would check into his heart-rending claims and reasons for doing what he did.

Oh dear…

Someone was listening and someone did some fact checking.  Merideth Jessup of The looked into the public records and found this:

“Phone inquiries into the county property records & taxpayer services office reveal that the Stephens family home is not and never has been in foreclosure, that property taxes had been paid in full this year and the remaining balance on their mortgage for the half-million dollar home [$500,000] is less than one year’s worth of tuition+fees at their son’s law school.”  Jessup then called Stephens’ mother, Marquita, where she admitted Chase Bank indeed was not “taking” their home from them. Instead, due to a recent “reduction in income,” they’ve decided to hold a “short sale.”

Mr. Stephens has since responded to the reports with a blog post where he tried to justify his antics and his dishonesty, calling the report, “a smear campaign by the right wing.”

Sorry Mr. Stephens, but you smeared yourself and your cause when you decided to resort to untruths, to manipulate the media, and public opinion.  You are wrong.  It’s too bad you can’t admit it, apologize for it, and learn from it.  Then, you’d really be putting those brains to work in a productive manner.

Written by DCL

September 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm