Ten Most Wanted

“President Obama alludes to the budget/union fight in Wisconsin and other states, telling governors at the White House that public workers shouldn’t be “denigrated” or “vilified.” He says workers’ rights shouldn’t be “infringed upon.”

A criminal’s on the lamb, and the FBI posts his name on The Most Wanted List, common conjecture says he’s in deep doo-doo as the FBI knows who he is, where he is, and its agents are probably down his street, handcuffs at the ready.  The theory goes that the FBI pragmatically places imminent captures on its Wanted List; it helps the statistics and image.

Today, after 10 days of silence, our President issued  a pretty strong statement  of support for public sector unionized workers. See the news below:

“President Obama alludes to the budget/union fight in Wisconsin and other states, telling governors at the White House that public workers shouldn’t be “denigrated” or “vilified.” He says workers’ rights shouldn’t be “infringed upon.”

“We need to attract the best and the brightest,” he says. “We’re not going to attract the best teachers for our kids … if they only make a fraction” of what others make. He adds: “Yes, we need a conversation about pensions and Medicare and Medicaid and other promises we’ve made as a nation.

But: “As we make these decisions about our budget going forward, though, I believe that everyone should be at the table. That the concept of shared sacrifice should prevail.” He adds that “all the pains” shouldn’t be “felt by one group … “while the wealthiest among us get to keep — or get more tax breaks.” If so, he says, “we’re not doing the right thing.” (11:33 a.m.) Politico 44

http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/0211/obama_and_biden_to_governors_6027f178-b959-4f9d-ace2-4e8172cc700f.html

Perhaps the President has demonstrated that he is capable of taking a stand.  If so,  I applaud him and will refrain from saying, “It’s about time”  even though I just said it.

Secondly,  it appears to me that it is now likely that the crisis is nearng resolution.  News sources are reporting that behind closed doors some Republican State Senators may switch their vote or support a new compormise bill not wiping out collective bargaining.

Either way I am delighted… if the President has shown some courage,  I congratulate him.

If collective bargaining survives in Wisconsin, joy to the middle class.

My guess is both are related.  President Obama most likely has reliable information that the crisis is coming to an end so he can safely support the winning side. He is again being pragmatic.  Kinda like the FBI waiting until they have a slam-dunk before placing the next Dillinger on their Most Wanted List.  But, this slam-dunk feels good, so why quash those good feelings by being cynical.

Congrats to the demonstrators and a President who speaks for the little guy.

Olbermann is Back

Kieth Olbermann launched his new website: http://foknewschannel.com/ below is an excerpt that I found especially strong.

Kieth Olbermann launched his new website: http://foknewschannel.com/ below is an excerpt that I found especially strong.

” ‘The Union’ is the only protection you have when the drunken boss comes in to fire you because he doesn’t like you, or because he got elected on a promise to his puppet-masters that he’d fire you and everybody else like you so as to soften this country up to pit the urban middle class against the rural middle class so nobody’s paying attention as the corporations reduce everybody they can to subsistence levels while they take the collected drops-in-the-bucket of the mere thousands of bucks stolen from the fired or the de-unionized or the retirement-delayed, and turn them into more millions to stuff into their own pockets.”

Obamapologists

Pragmatism involves choosing an action with the least risk ; this usually makes sense. An empty building is burning; stand outside; call the fire dept and let it burn. If your child is in the building the choice of action involves a tougher question, and you don’t always chose the pragmatic action of waiting for the fire engines to pull up. Our building is burning, and little Johnny is screaming for help.

leadership
Leadership

I, like so many others,  gave  time, money and heart to get President Obama elected.   Regrettably, I have been greatly disappointed.  It is not due to his lack of legislative accomplishment.  Given the contentious and intransigent opposition faced, I sincerely believe he has been adept at getting some good legislation passed.

But, I have been waiting to see his moment of courage.   From my friends, I  hear that he  is pragmatic; he has always been in the middle;  he is a man of compromise.   In most situations being pragmatic and a man of compromise is wise.  If you have a crowded room and more guests come than there are seats, you compromise; you are pragmatic; you let a few people in, and ask some to stand. But, if the same situation applies to a crowded lifeboat, being pragmatic and compromising is not a viable solution.  Our lifeboat is full.

Pragmatism involves choosing an action with the least risk ;  this usually makes sense.   An empty building is burning; stand outside; call the fire dept and let it burn.   If your child is in the building the choice of action involves a tougher question, and you don’t always chose the pragmatic action of waiting for the fire engines to pull up. Our building is burning, and little Johnny is screaming for help.

Then there is the issue of honesty.    I have been through almost 50 years of elections yet I remain naive enough to believe that the overall theme of a candidate’s doable promises should be kept.   To not keep doable, significant promises simply equates to lying.

In Madison, Wisconsin the labor movement is at risk of being obliterated by the GOP.   Our President says a few words of support at the beginning of the crisis and now, not a word.   His press secretary answers the question of whether the President will get involved with a non-answer.   Political pundits say the President is waiting to see how the public of Wisconsin poll.   Wisconsin will be critical in 2012…. He is just being pragmatic.

For those who have not seen President Obama’s 2007 stump speech in Spartanburg, I ask you to click

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA9KC8SMu3o

You will see our President issue  unequivocal words of support for the labor movement of our country.

I ask my Obamapologist friends: Do our unions not deserve a few word of support from our President?   Perhaps,  he chooses not to “walk the picket line”  but how much courage does it show to ignore the situtation?   Yes, showing support might have negative consequences.  But acting in the face of risk is what courage is.

All I have seen out of this President is pragmatism. I hopefully await courage and honesty.  Hopefully, by the time you read this blog entry, it is no longer relevant because Barak Obama did the courageous thing.

Allowing Guns on Campus

More than half the members of the Texas House have signed on as co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns

Concealed guns on campus
Back off!!

Associated Press

AUSTIN — Texas may be preparing to give college students and professors the right to carry guns on campus, adding momentum to a national campaign to open this part of society to firearms.

More than half the members of the Texas House have signed on as co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns. The Senate passed a similar bill in 2009 and is expected to do so again. Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who sometimes packs a pistol when he jogs, has said he’s in favor of the idea.
Bills are still in committee so nothing has come up for a House or Senate vote yet.
Texas has become a prime battleground for the issue because of its gun culture and its size, with 38 public universities and more than 500,000 students. It would become the second state, following Utah, to pass such a broad-based law. Colorado gives colleges the option and several have allowed handguns.
“There is no scenario where allowing concealed weapons on college campuses will do anything other than create a more dangerous environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors,” Oklahoma Chancellor of Higher Education Glen Johnson said in January.
University of Texas President William Powers has opposed concealed handguns on campus, saying the mix of students, guns and campus parties is too volatile.
The majority of adult Texans, 70 percent, surveyed in a poll in December and January opposed allowing guns on campus. The poll for The Dallas Morning News and other large newspapers in the state had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
Guns on campus bills have been rejected in 23 states since 2007, but gun control activists acknowledge it will be difficult to stop the Texas bill from passing this year.
Guns for all
Texas college

Matt suggests:

As for guns on campuses in Texas,  I think they really should start with guns in preschool, it is never too early to shoot straight, I also think cars and buses should be replaced with horses and stage coaches…. let us truly go back to the wild west.

On Wisconsin

I hear the Governor of Wisconsin saying these are desperate times that demand desperate action. We have no choice. Unionized public service employees must be reasonable; they must lower demands for increased wages, forgo promised pensions, pay a greater portion for health care.

First They came… – Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me

I hear the Governor of Wisconsin saying these are desperate times that demand desperate action.  We have no choice. Unionized public service employees must be reasonable; they must lower  demands for increased wages, forgo promised pensions, pay a greater portion for health care. Tough demands on people, but these are tough times. Even if these unions accede to these draconian demands;  it is not enough. These are desperate times; we need desperate action. To ensure public service employees don’t make future demands we need to silence them. These are desperate times we must silence their collective voice.

The public, my good Wisconsin neighbors, they shake their head and say, “these are desperate times we need desperate action.” These teachers, fire fighters, librarians they have it too good… they are breaking the system… my tax dollars are being stolen… screw em’.  I ain’t got no union and never needed one.

What the hell did unions ever do for me? Screw the AF of L/CIO.  All I need is the NRA.

Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, health Insurance benefits, pensions, workman’s comp, occupational safety laws, child labor laws…. All those would have been enacted out of sheer altruism by business and our benevolent government without the collective voice of the workers of this country.

Unions are and have always been corrupt.  Jimmy Hoffa, featherbedding, organized crime that’s what unions are. They are blood-sucking leaches. They destroy free enterprise and the American Way .

Don’t you watch FOX?  Don’t you know unions are un-American?  Didn’t St. Reagan teach you anything?

Kenneth Lay, Bernie Madoff, Dennis Kozlowski, Bernie Ebbers. Enron, World Com … they were just aberrations in an otherwise moral and ethical corporate America. Hell, Walmart is paying its workers almost livable wages now. This has nothing to do with the Walton’s fear that employees might organize.

American business and America’s lobbyist financed elected officials always have had the workers best interest at heart. Our system is just too fragile now; we can’t allow disgruntled people to be heard. Don’t you know these are desperate times?

Did not 911 tell you anything?  That desperate time led us to lose 4000 lives and billions in a desperate war to protect America from a non-existent threat.  Those desperate times led us to suspend civil liberties and circumvent our constitution, but we are all so much safer now. And I still have my Glock with its 30 cartridge clip. Thank God for our Constitution.

To be honest I just wish this union shit would go away. I would just like to be at the tavern, drinking my Millers while watching  Green Bay beat the crap out of the Bears.  Uh, oh there may be no NFL next year because those millionaire, prima donna, unionized football players may get locked out by their billionaire corporate owner.  Now in Wisconsin those would be desperate times.

Arithmetic Second

I recently had about the best experience happen as a retired teacher could wish for. I was watching TV as a young, bright woman was being interviewed regarding President Obama’s Cost Containment Committee. She said something like, they are doing it backwards; they need to put social needs first and do the arithmetic second. The simplicity and the accuracy of that statement was, as my grandkids say, “awesome.”

I recently had about the best experience happen as a retired teacher could wish for.  I was watching TV as a young, bright woman was being interviewed regarding President Obama’s Cost Containment Committee.  She said something like, they are doing it backwards; they need to put social needs first and do the arithmetic second.  The simplicity and the accuracy of that statement was, as my grandkids say, “awesome.”

This elegant woman in her early thirties looked familiar.  Her name was the same as one of my former 7th grade students.  Could it be?  I Googled her name, found her email, and sent her a query, and immediately received an excited  response… yes, it was she.  Now I was twice delighted.  I had seen a bright young middleschooler become that future brilliant adult evident in that child  over 20 years ago.   Perhaps I had contributed a small part to that brilliance emerging; teachers always hope so.  Secondly, what she said has profoundly affected how I now view the constant economic chatter heard from both parties and their supporting cast of economists.

We need to cut the deficit;  we need free markets;  we need to cut taxes; we need less regulation; we should impose tariffs;  we need less military spending; we need to;  we need to,  and we need to.  And why do we need to?  We need to, so the economy will work, so the arithmetic will work, but no one seems to be asking, with the exception  of my former seventh grader, what is the purpose of the arithmetic.

Disregarding sociopaths, people want a clean world, a healthy world, a safe world;  we want a sustainable world; we don’t want to be blown up nor poisoned; we want freedom from pain, and we want our toys too.  Rational people are aware that we have limited resources, both natural and economic.

If I understand it correctly, the wealth used for trade and barter can only be derrived from human labor, so where do we put our labor?  Our business schools teach our best and brightest how to organize instituitons so those institutions can generate wealth,  but do they ask why are we generating this wealth?  These young people learn to do the arithmetic, and that arithmetic works.  Millions, billions, trillions of dollars, euros, yen are amassed and traded every day.  But why?  But why? What for?

Do we grow genetically modified corn and throw megatons of carbon into our atmosophere to make the balance sheet better, or to increase the quality of the human condition?  Do we have private insurance companies managing our healthcare because they can do a better job of lessening the pain of our population most efficiently or because we are tied to an economic concept.  A concept considered beneficial because the arithmetic says that  this system generates dollars for shareholders.  Shareholders then can spend their dollars to keep the economy going.  It is simple arithmetic.

Simply put,  it is time that we ask the why first, before we debate the how.  Let’s figure out the problem first, and then use our arithmetic as best we can to solve the problem, not have the arithmetic determine our actions.   Thank you Heather; it is a gift to learn from ones student.

Matt

Featuring Recent Posts WordPress Widget development by YD