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Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Maybe we should give half props to FOX News.  For a long time now, they have been crying that there is a war on religion in America.  They are half right.  Of course, they claim it is a war on Christianity.  That is the part they have wrong.  The real war on religion is being waged by the Conservative Christian Cult against everyone else.

The Cult is truly amazing in cherry-picking the parts of religious beliefs that they will accept.  They then denounce everyone else as heretics because their religious beliefs don’t jive with the Cult’s.  There are lots of examples which we will discuss.  The main point is that in their zeal to “convert” the world to their way of thinking, they are willing to shred the right to practice your religious beliefs as guaranteed in the First Amendment.  Some have even gone so far as to say the First Amendment only applies to Christian beliefs.  Even if that were true, which it is not, they are still violating the First Amendment because they continue to persecute other Christians.

This year the Supreme Court ruled that “buffer zones” established by states in front of abortion clinics were not legal.  They believe that if a woman wants to get an abortion, the Cult has the right to attempt to interfere with that process, even going so far as to accost women and employees of the clinic to even get inside in peace.  I suppose that means that if a group of people show up in front of a Cult church and started accosting those attending services, that would also be legal.  I would love to see a group try that angle.

Imagine a group of protesters standing in front of a Cult church screaming to the attendees that they are devil worshipers, or other such nonsense.  Even going so far as to trying to block their entrance into the church “for their own good”.  I don’t think it would be too long before the police were summoned to get rid of the protesters.  The Cult believe they can do whatever they want, but no one else can use their tactics.

The fight over abortion is purely a religious fight.  Whether you believe abortion is “right or wrong” is totally down to religious belief.  The Cult says life begins and therefore the fetus is a person upon fertilization.  Other people with religious beliefs don’t think that way.  That is what the abortion fight is all about.  One narrow view of life against other views of life.

The Cult doesn’t want you to know this.  They try to make it out to be “protecting the unborn person”.  That is what all of these “personhood amendments” they keep trying to get passed is all about.  They are trying to force their religious belief on everyone else.  That in a word is “religious persecution”.

There are a lot of people who consider themselves to be good Christians who favor the right to have an abortion.  But the Cult has labeled them as Christians in Name only.  A favorite catch phrase of theirs.  If a woman’s religious beliefs tells her it is okay to have an abortion, denying her that right is religious persecution.  There is simply no other way to look at it.

There are several states with laws and/or State Constitutional Amendments banning same-sex marriage.  Yet, many churches and religions recognize same-sex marriage.  The Cult says “NO, that is the same as bestiality”.  What nonsense.  The whole premise of the Cult’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriage, is again wrapped up in their narrow view of what is in their beloved bible.  Other Christians and other faiths, don’t subscribe to that narrow view.

Therefore, if two people of the same-sex decide they want to get married, and their religious beliefs say that is okay, denying them the right to be married is religious persecution.  Sorry, but the Cult’s argument that the others are “simply wrong” doesn’t cut it.  They are persecuting other beliefs only because they differ from theirs.  The Cult even tried to get legislation passed that would allow them to discriminate against gay couples in normal business affairs.  Again, religious persecution.

Not only that, the Cult is famous for its hypocrisy.  Take the case of  Tennessee. Rep. Scott DesJarlais who is running for his third term for Congress as a “family values” guy.  He recently won his primary for reelection despite the fact that DesJarlais has a long history showing that while he firmly believes women should have to lose their basic human rights in the name of family values, he, as a man, has never shown any interest in making even the tiniest sacrifice for those same values.

It seems that he believes women who are facing an unwanted pregnancy that could derail their lives should suck it up and be made to suffer in the name of “life.” But when faced with the prospect of an unintended pregnancy that could hurt him, he suddenly became a big fan of abortion. It has been reported that DesJarlais encouraged, some would even say badgered his mistress to get an abortion during his first marriage. He also supported his first wife’s abortions.  Yet, he believes that he can run on a pro-life platform.  Apparently the Cult members in Tennessee agree with him.

The Hobby Lobby case proves this point even further.  The Cult member owners of the company claim to have “deeply held religious” beliefs about certain forms of contraception.  They argued in court that they shouldn’t be required to provide those forms of contraception in their health plans for employees.  SCOTUS said absolutely right.

Yet, there are many women who work at Hobby Lobby who believe all forms of contraception are perfectly fine.  Their religious beliefs do not forbid them from using them.  As a result, these woman are being persecuted for their religious beliefs by a company that claims to have deeply held religious beliefs.  Problem is their religious beliefs trump those of their employees.  What else can you call it but religious persecution?

These are just a few examples of religious persecution that is ongoing in America.  FOX was correct in pointing out that it exists.  They were just wrong in who is actually perpetrating this persecution.  In my view, the fanaticism of the Cult’s persecution of the “non-believers” is very similar to other fanatical groups.  So, the next time you hear the Cult scream about religious persecution, remember it is them waging war against your religious beliefs, not the other way around.

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School’s out for the summer!  Our wonderful Congress has taken their usual August recess.  That is a normal thing this time of year.  These politicians will go back to their districts and hold town hall meetings and espouse their wonderful achievements.  Problem is, they don’t have any wonderful achievements to espouse.

The previous two Congresses were the least productive in modern history.  The current Congress is on track to even beat those two in futility.  I know it is hard to believe, but that is the fact.  Congress has left town in a rush to get “reelected” to their meaningless position.  There was a time when holding public office was an honorable endeavor held by people who wanted to make the country better.  The current crop of legislators are anything but honorable.

As the children take their usual recess, huge problems still face this country.  We still have a mess on the border.  There are still thousands of undocumented children waiting for their “cases to be heard” as the 2008 law says they must.  What has Congress done about this humanitarian problem?  Nothing!  Yes, the House passed a bill, but they added so many inhumane elements to it that it will never get through the Senate.  That is once the Senate comes back in September.

Some of these elements do not even include anything to do with the humanitarian problem at the border.  They deal with things that are best covered in a comprehensive immigration reform bill.  But since the House has no intention of even talking about comprehensive immigration reform, they tack on objectionable amendments to laws just so those laws can be killed.

There are still millions of people working 40 hour work weeks for below poverty pay.  There is still an attack on any religious beliefs that to not follow the “white” Christian beliefs.  There is still no immigration reform.  There is still no national marriage equality.  There are still voter suppression laws on the books in several states.  There are still millions of people without health care because Republican states refuse to expand Medicaid.  There are still way too many people out of work.  Our infrastructure is still falling down around our ears.

They did manage to pass a bill that will allow the VA help our veterans better.  But, as usual, they have nothing in it that will address the over 1 million homeless veterans.  Nothing that will address the fact that millions of veterans need food stamps just to survive, which the Republicans want to cut even deeper.  They have basically put a band-aide on a gaping wound our veterans suffer from every day.  They authorized about half of the money the VA really needs.  They say they will address the rest in the “normal budget process”.  Which means the VA won’t get any additional money they need because the Republicans will insist on cutting other safety nets to “pay” for any additional money for the VA.

The one piece of legislation the House is very proud of is the one authorizing the Speaker to sue the President.  That is one bill that every Republican in Congress could get behind.  Wasting millions of tax dollars on suing the President as a political stunt is something they are very proud of doing.

It has been often said that allowing the inmates to run the asylum is a bad idea.  Yet, Mr. Boehner has allowed just that to happen.  The inmates in the GOP are now running the asylum.  Thanks in large part to Mr. Boehner’s inability to actually “lead”.  As a result, a “junior Senator from Texas” has become the de facto Speaker of the House.  Way to stand up to the inmates, Mr. Boehner!

If it was just the inmates in Washington that were running the asylum, I wouldn’t be so worried about it.  But, the inmates are running the asylum in many of the states as well.

The party that says it wants “government out of our lives” are very willing to put government into our lives if it will force everyone to think as they do.  They want “government in of the lives” of the poor by killing social safety nets and making sure they can’t vote because they believe the poor are just not smart enough to trust to vote Republican.  They want “government in the lives” of women and their reproductive choices because they don’t think women are smart enough to make their own decisions.  They want “government in the lives” of LGBT community because they must make sure they don’t have equal rights as the rest of the “normal” world as they see it.  They want “government in science” so they can foster the myth of creationism as the “real” science simply because it doesn’t interfere with profit-making for their big donors.   They want “government in the lives” of the working poor by saying that a Federal Minimum Wage is “hurting” their chances to move ahead.  They want “government in children’s lives” by making sure they don’t learn anything while allowing for profit school companies to make millions in profits without having to actually teach anything viable.

In a time when the country faces many challenges, we are stuck with school children who cannot make decisions.  We are stuck with a group  whose only real concern is hate for anything that doesn’t look or think like they do.  We are stuck with the inmates running the asylum.  I have always been an optimist when it comes to the future of our country.  I must admit, that with the current crop of school children in Congress, my optimism is shaky.

There is one bright side.  With school out for the summer, they can’t pass anymore bills that harm the country.  But, then, they don’t pass bills at all, so maybe that is a good thing too.

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The practice of the use of fracking is continuing to move along.  However, the practice is so new, we don’t know all of the side effects of the practice.  The oil and gas companies use high pressure water mixed with various chemicals, not all of which are even known by the public, to break-up shale and release the gas and/or oil trapped inside.

There have been a few law suites filed over the practice with some large compensation awarded.  Unfortunately, for the purpose of researching the practice and its effects on the environment, most come with a court mandated “gag order” so the winner cannot talk about the case.  The oil and gas companies say fracking is necessary to release more energy for the U.S.  However, as I wrote a couple of months ago, when fracking was planned on a property adjacent to the property owned by the CEO of Exxon, that was a totally different story.  He actually joined a law suite trying to stop the process.

It is important that the public be given all of the facts about fracking and its effects.  We cannot make a real determination if the practice is necessary enough to risk health and pollution issues.  But, if every state that allows fracking to take place follows Pennsylvania’s example, we may never get to the bottom of any problems.  You see, two retired members of the Pennsylvania Department of Health claim that they were forbidden to talk the drilling.

According to a damning report from NPR State Impact, the state has dealt with that lack of information about the health risks of fracking not by studying the health risks of fracking, but by ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away.  The two retired workers with the state Health Department, said employees who received phone calls from residents concerned about health risks were ordered to ignore them:

“There was a list of buzzwords we had gotten,” [Tammi Stuck, who retired from the Department of Health two years ago] said. “There were some obvious ones like fracking, gas, soil contamination. There were probably 15 to 20 words and short phrases that were on this list. If anybody from the public called in and that was part of the conversation, we were not allowed to talk to them.”

Normally, when fielding calls, Stuck would discuss the caller’s problem, ask about symptoms, and explain what services the department or other agencies could offer.

However, for drilling-related calls, Stuck said she and her fellow employees were told just to take the caller’s name and number and forward the information to a supervisor.

“And somebody was supposed to call them back and address their concerns,” she said, adding that she never knew whether these callbacks occurred.

Sometimes, Stuck said, people would call again, angry they had not heard back from anyone from the department.

…“People were saying: Where’s the Department of Health on all this?” Stuck said. “The bottom line was we weren’t allowed to say anything. It’s not that we weren’t interested.”

Marshall Deasy, who retired last June after putting in 20 years of service at the Bureau of Epidemiology in Harrisburg, said that in his office, talking about natural gas development was considered “taboo.”

reviewed research linking  air and water pollution from oil and gas drilling to a bevy of health concerns.

Of course the department spokesman denies that these call are being ignored,  and said that all complaints related to fracking are sent to the Bureau of Epidemiology. Only 51 cases have been logged, she added, and the agency has yet to find a link between drilling and illness.

This is an emerging field and requires more study to be done about health concerns.  But, since the oil and gas companies need this to be kept quiet, it seems to be working for them perfectly well.  if no health impacts have been documented in Pennsylvania, that could be because the state has yet to conduct even one study dedicated to this purpose. Of the over $630 million the state has raised through its impact fee, which is distributed among agencies involved in regulating drilling, one expert interviewed said that “not one penny” has been allocated to the Department of Health.

I even know of a situation where secrecy is so rampant, residents aren’t being told the whole truth.  A friend of mine lives in another state where fracking is taking place.  He lives in an area where drilling is ongoing.  He told me that if his neighbor’s well gets contaminated from the drilling, neither the neighbor nor the company involved in the drilling are allowed to tell him so he can test his well water.  As a result, he is forced to pay for water quality testing out-of-pocket to ensure his family is safe.

The secrecy surrounding fracking needs to stop.  Yes, it is a new practice.  Yes, the oil and gas companies call it “safe”.  Yet they are paying out millions of dollars in claims against them.  For example, in Dallas, a jury recently awarded a family $3 million for damage caused by drilling near their property, including “physical pain and suffering.”  So, like everything else, there are consequences and harmful effects caused by fracking.  Shouldn’t we have the full story on this?

The Republican Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Corbett likes to talk about transparency.  Shouldn’t that transparency include the practice of fracking?  Apparently, in his state the answer is no.  People’s health should never be a political football to be punted.

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The Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety focused on new EPA standards for reducing emissions from power plants.  During the hearing four Republican former EPA Chiefs testified at the hearing.  These four all served under Republican Presidents Nixon, Reagan, and both Bush’s.

“We believe there is legitimate scientific debate over the pace and effects of climate change, but no legitimate debate over the facts of the earth’s warming or over man’s contribution,” said William Ruckelshaus, who served as the EPA administrator under both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

When it came to discussing the issue as to whether or not the EPA has the authority to act on greenhouse gas emissions, Christine Todd Whitman said “The issue has been settled. EPA does have the authority.  The law says so, and the Supreme Court has said so twice. The matter should be put to rest. … My hope is the primary focus will be on the substance of the proposed rule and not EPA’s broad authority to promulgate it.”

Lee Thomas, who served as administrator during Reagan’s second term, and William Reilly, who served under George H.W. Bush, also testified at Wednesday’s hearing.  All four former Directors expressed support for the action taken by the EPA.  “They’ve been as creative as I’ve ever seen them be,” Whitman said in a meeting with reporters just before the hearing. “They’ve really made an effort. They’ve really gone out of their way to try to make it a workable rule.”  “My sense is they’ve built in as much flexibility as possible,” Thomas said in the meeting.

But, of course the testimony of these four former Directors of the EPA fell on the deaf ears of the Republicans on the sub-committee.  It even brought out the usual denials and claims of economic doom if the rules hold.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) argued that the rules would have “serious economic consequences” while providing “no measurable impact on climate change.” He also said he’s “frustrated” by the “cartoonish” and “outlandish” claims that proponents of climate action make to dismiss critics of the science. Vitter has previously called evidence cited to support climate change “ridiculous pseudo-science garbage.”

Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) criticized “expensive, big-government, left-wing climate policies.” Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) accused the EPA of trying to “force Americans to live out the president’s green dream.”   But Jeff Sessions (R-Ala) topped them all when he declared that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.  “I would say CO2 is a different kettle of fish,” said Sessions. “It’s plant food. It’s not a pollutant in any normal definition.”  Well, when there is too much of it, plants can’t eat it all, so what does the rest do?  It becomes a greenhouse gas and warms the planet.

So, who did the Republicans listen to during the hearing?  Their witnesses of course.  The Republicans called three witnesses for the hearing: a biologist who argues that climate change is not significantly affected by human activity; the attorney general of Alabama, who has fought other EPA actions in court; and an economist who criticized cap-and-trade (a policy previously debated in Congress to address climate change, but not, in fact, the policy that the EPA has put in place).

Following the hearing, Reilly appeared to have expected the Republican response.

“I wasn’t surprised by their positions. I am surprised at the continued refusal to believe that the science is as it is claimed to be by 11 national academies of science,” said Reilly. “If you don’t like the IPCC, there are many other choices for authoritative science. … When I was in office I made it a rule to follow the science. Well, the science is pretty clear.”

And, just to be clear, they also broke their own complaint about using people as a “back-drop” against the President.  The room was filled with coal miners from Alpha Natural Resources and Murray Energy, who had been bussed into town overnight from West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania for the hearing.

We have four former Republican Directors of the EPA who are arguing that climate change is real.  They all say that man is contributing to it.  And, that something needs to be done before it is too late.  They also agree that the EPA, under current laws and two previous Supreme Court Rulings, does have the authority to impose restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions.  And, finally, who actually brought the EPA into existence?  Richard Nixon!

Yet the EPA has been a favorite punching bag for the Republican Party.  The major difference now is that they are ignoring all of the scientific facts to fight what the EPA is doing.  They ignore the facts, because they don’t fit the Republican’s brand of reality.  To the Republicans reality is something that the “little people” have to deal with.  If anything might affect the Republican pocketbook, then it isn’t reality to them.

The American people have spoken again.  The majority of the American people, in recent polls, say something needs to be done about climate change.  The majority of Americans are willing, again according to recent polls, to pay a little more for electricity in order to reduce carbon dioxide and pollution emissions.

Rather than using the situation for real good, the Republicans are stuck supporting their big donors, namely the fossil fuel industries.  Rather than taking the matter seriously and looking to create more renewable, clean energy which could create possibly millions of new, non-outsourceable jobs, they stick to their fantasy world.  Why bother about climate change that will make the planet extremely tough to live on in the future?  These Republicans will be dead.  They are not responsible for our children or grandchildren.  They are only responsible to the fossil fuel industries who fund their coffers.

I wish that Sen. Sessions would be around when Mobile, Al. disappears because of rising seas.  I would love to hear him explain to the people of Mobile how that was all an illusion caused by false science.  The seas really didn’t flood out their homes and businesses, fake science did.  But, then when you consider that parts of Miami, Fl. already floods during times of a full moon and high tide together because of rising sea levels you see that it doesn’t matter to the Republicans.  They still argue that isn’t happening.

As I watch Republican lawmakers try to make science the real enemy, I keep being reminded of the three monkeys.  You see, to the Republicans, science is evil.  It flies in the face of their fantasies and money donors.  As a result, whenever they need to talk about science they simply sit and put their hands over their eyes, ears, and mouths and mumble, “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”  All the while their puppet masters are pulling their strings.

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Sometimes I have joked that it seems like the whole world has taken a “stupid pill”.  I know, it is probably wrong of me to criticize people for their beliefs, which I try not to do.  However, when people start acting “stupid”, I think it is fair to point out their mistakes.  That isn’t criticizing their beliefs, it is calling them out for their errors.

We have a myriad of problems facing our country today.  Yet, there are some people who simply want to whitewash them.  They seem to long for the “good ole days” or “glory days”.  They seem to not want to face reality.  That is “stupid” no matter what your political slant may be.  If we do not face our problems, we are doomed to live in mediocrity at best.  Maybe that is what these people want.

Yes, I am referring to the “conservative movement” on the other side of the political spectrum.  It isn’t hard to see why they refuse to look reality in the eye and make changes that are needed.  By definition, conservatism is stuck in the past.  That is what conservatism is all about, and what is wrong with it.  It wants to return to the “glory days” they remember.  Problem is when you look back on the “glory days”, they weren’t always so glorious.

I realize that I have a slanted view of the world.  In my youth, I was actually called a “radical”.  My son now calls me slightly left of center.  It just goes to show how much the scale can move over time.  Or, rather how much the definitions of words can change over time.  And, that is the real problem today.  That is what is at the heart of the stagnation in Washington and all across the country.  That and the fact that conservatives live in a fantasy world that can be called “stupid”.

The real irony in all of this is that the “glory days” these conservatives claim they want to return to were actually anything but conservative.  They were times when America was reaching for the stars both figuratively and literally.  They were times of innovation.  They were times of creative thought.  They were times of change for the better.

In those days, the labor movement was strong.  Approximately 40% of the workforce belonged to a union.  The middle-class was thriving and most people were happy, more or less.  It was also the times of the Civil Rights Movement and the start of the Woman’s Movement.  It was when President Kennedy said we should put a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth before the end of the decade.  And, we did.

They were also very troubling times.  We were suffering through the Vietnam war.  Young people were rebelling against the establishment.  African-Americans gained most civil rights but at a dear price.  There was a lot of backlash against the Woman’s Movement.  There were protests in the streets.  A President was assassinated.  Another President resigned from office in disgrace.

We went through very rough economic times starting with the oil embargo.  We witnessed long lines at the gas station.  People began to think that the future could not possibly be better than the past.  Yes, those were the so-called “glory days” that conservatives claim they want to return to.

The problem they face is that they don’t want to return to the good aspects of those times.  They don’t want to return to the times of innovation and creative thought.  They don’t want to return to the times when we fought for civil rights of everyone.  They don’t want to return to a thriving middle-class or to unions.  They, apparently want to return to their “good ole days” of Jim Crowe.  They would rather see corporations hiring thugs to bust unions than allow the working class a fair wage for their labor.

They claim that they want to return to the Reagan Years.  They are still hawking the discredited theory that lowing taxes on the rich “trickles down” to the masses.  They are still hawking the theory that unions are the root cause of economic problems.  They are still hawking the old ideas that whites are superior to other races but with much “softer” language.  They are still hawking the adage that a woman’s place is in the kitchen.

Their “base”, led by the Conservative Christian Cult, denies climate change, or at least that man is contributing to it.  They deny evolution. Hell, they deny science.  They deny creative thought.  They prefer to raise a generation that “listens to what they are told” instead of formulating their own ideas.  They are against civil rights.  They are against women’s rights.  They are against gay rights.  They want to live in a world where everyone does exactly what they “tell” them to do.  If you go against their ideals, you are un-American.

Yes, the far right thinks that we should not be able to think for ourselves.  They are led by the Canadian Senator Ted Cruz, the faux Libertarian Rand Paul, and the Xenophobic Congresswoman Michelle Bachman and the Heritage Foundation.  These are their heroes.  These are the people who want to fundamentally take away civil rights.  Who want to stop education in its tracks and raise a “stupid” generation.  Why else would they defund public education as they have if that was not their goal?

They are the people who say they are fighting for “liberty” and then vote to take away those “liberties” from anyone who is different from them.  They are the ones who say they want a “bigger tent” and accept minorities yet continue to stall immigration reform and pass voter suppression laws.  These “small government” people want to dictate what a woman can choose or not choose when it comes to their health decisions.  Instead of relying on the woman’s decision after consultation with her doctor, they want the state to determine the course of action she is allowed.  Of course they justify all of this by claiming they are doing “god’s will”.

They claim to be “fighting for what the American People want”, yet they continuously vote against bills that the vast majority of the American People want passed.  Their solution to fair pay is not to raise the Federal Minimum Wage, but to eliminate it.  They want to deny millions of Americans proper health insurance.  They are quick to blame the victim in cases of rape and incest.

In essence, what these people are doing is taking their daily dose of “stupid pills”.  In and by itself, that doesn’t bother me too much.  What does bother me is that they want the rest of America to take “stupid pills” with them.  Unfortunately, the far right and their allies the Conservative Christian Cult have renewed their prescriptions.  Maybe it is time to see them for what they really are.  Stupid!

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We have heard it time-after-time.  John Boehner standing in front of the cameras stating very emphatically, “we are trying to do what the American People want!”  It doesn’t matter what the topic of the day is either.  He insists that his party is only trying to do what the people want them to do.

We have seen just how much he is willing to do what the people want.  First, there are the many polls that show up to 80% of the American People want universal background checks when purchasing a firearm.  So, do we have it?  Nope.  John Boehner won’t bring it up on the floor for a vote.  Then poll-after-poll show that the over 70% of the American People want Immigration Reform.  Again, we don’t have it.  Why?  Because John Boehner won’t bring up the Senate passed “Gang of Eight” legislation for a vote.  Other bills that the American People “want” according to the polls are things like the Transportation and Infrastructure Bill, Raising the Federal Minimum Wage, and Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

His latest “we are only trying to do what the American People want” is the new EPA Rules that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal powered power plants.  He called them “a sucker punch to the American People.”  Mitch McConnell called them “a stab into the chest of the middle-class”.  Well, John, since 2008 the polls indicate that 70% of the American People favor such regulations.  It seems that the American People want a reduction in greenhouse gasses.

So with such a track record of “doing what the American People want”, just who is Mr. Boehner speaking about when he says “the American People?”  I believe it is obvious that he is not speaking about the “average” American.  They support all of these measures but he still won’t bring them to the floor for a vote.

He is not alone in this either.  The right-wing is in a total tizzy about the new regulations.  The Republicans have dusted off the old “war on coal” slogan.  They have dusted of the “fascist EPA” brand again.  So, if 70% of the American People want a reduction in greenhouse gasses, why is John Boehner and the Republican Party so upset by these new regulations?

All you have to do is look at the donor lists of the Republican Party and the Conservative PACs to find the answer.  The “American People” Mr. Boehner keeps wanting to please is the top 1%.  More specifically in the EPA Rules, billionaire owners of fossil fuel corporations like the Koch Brothers.  These people make their fortunes in fossil fuels.  Anything that affects their profits is a bad thing, and Mr. Boehner is willing to risk the entire climate of the globe in order to make them happy.

Republicans keep saying that Climate Change is a myth.  They continue to deny that burning fossil fuels increases CO2 emissions which is causing the climate to warm up.  Even though there are streets in Miami that suffer flooding every time there is a full moon at the same time of a high tide.  See, the sea levels are already rising, and when there is a full moon and high tide at the same time, some streets in Miami flood so bad people can’t get out of their houses.  But, that is all part of the environmentalists “agenda”, not something real that affects real people.

They even have come up with a new twist to their denials.  First they talk very pointedly about how climate change is a myth, then when questioned about their claims, they simply respond by saying “I am not a scientist”.  Well, if you are not a scientist, wouldn’t it be a good idea to listen to the people who are?  Despite their claims otherwise, over 97% of scientists believe and state emphatically that burning fossil fuels is changing our climate!  If these Republicans are not scientists, shouldn’t they listen to the 97% of “scientists” who are giving them the facts?

But then, if they did listen to the experts or the American People, they might have to change their mind.  They might have to actually support limiting greenhouse gasses and help save our planet.  They can’t do that.  That would mean the Kochs would be very angry with them.  That means they may not get the millions of dollars in contributions from fossil fuel supporters.  That means they might actually stand for something real.  Since they aren’t throwing snowballs in hell yet, I don’t see that happening anytime soon!

No, John Boehner and the Republican Party do not believe that the average American is part of the “American People”.  If they did, we would have passed bills like Universal Background Checks, Transportation and Infrastructure, ENDA, Raising the Federal Minimum Wage, and even support for the new EPA Regulations.  But, since only the people from the top 1% who contribute to their campaigns are “the American People” these bills have no chance of coming up for a vote.

No, the Republican Party has proven over the last six years that they do not care what “the American People want.”  They only care about what the 1% want.  I really feel sorry for anyone who still believes their hype about “just trying to do what the American People want.”  For a major American Political Party to fall so low into hypocrisy and falsehoods is truly tragic.  But, that is what happens when money is allowed to openly “buy elections”.  And, the Republicans have been “for sale” for quite a while now.

 

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Okay, let’s forget for just a minute all of the arguments about climate change.  Yes, the WMO announced that CO2 levels are above 400 PPM in April.  The first time that has happened in millions of years.  Of course, those climate deniers will find an excuse for it.  Probably that god intended it to happen.

But, I am tired of listening to their arguments about climate change.  I am tired of hearing both sides wring their hands and still nothing is done about it.  It is time for another tactic to facing our climate change problems.  At first I thought about showing a map of what the coast will look like in 2050.  Maybe if we show the 1 per centers that their multi-million vacation homes will be underwater by then, they may change their mind.  But, that is also a fantasy.  They probably won’t be around to lose the use of them.

So, I think it is time to switch tactics.  Stop talking about climate change.  Stop talking about the cost of reducing CO2 emissions.  Let’s start arguing that switching from fossil fuels to renewable clean energy is an economic issue.  Let’s start pointing out that the fossil fuel we now depend on is finite.  It will run out.  We need to start converting to renewable energy as soon as possible to save our economy from total collapse!

Let the billionaires know that if they don’t start switching to renewable energy, they will face the real possibility that their factories, and therefore their money machines, will close down because there won’t be any energy for them to run.  Let’s tell the union leaders that switching to renewable energy will help their workers, because using renewable energy will be cheaper than future fossil fuel costs.  Let’s tell the workers that their very jobs depend on switching to renewable energy.

By attempting to make this an issue about the economy, as the deniers have already done by claiming that it will cost too much to reduce CO2 emissions, we can win this battle.  Yes, cleaning up CO2 emissions is expensive.  But, switching to renewable and cheaper energy is less expensive since they will actually see a “return on their investment”.  Those are the magic words needed to convince CEOs that they need to switch.

By switching to renewables, energy costs for manufacturing will go down.  Thereby, increasing the bottom line for every company.  It will also ensure there are millions of jobs created that cannot be outsourced.  That will increase spending and thus grow the economy.  That will cause demand for goods and services to grow which in turn will create more jobs.  Which in turn will increase profits.

The logic of all of this is really there.  We just need to make the point.  Trying to clean emissions is the wrong answer.  Switching to new renewable, clean energy is the only way we can reduce CO2 emissions and thus save the planet.  It is also a good idea since it will create new jobs and produce a thriving economy where everyone can win.  Start talking about tax incentives to switch to renewable energy.  Give them a way to survive today and grow in the future.

It has been a real puzzler for me as to why the oil companies are not the ones championing this idea.  They are the ones with the deep pockets that can more easily create and test the renewable energies we need.  They already have infrastructure in place.  Their leading the cause would also ensure their viability in a future without fossil fuels.

If we want to win the battle over climate change, we need to start arguing in a way that the deniers cannot refute.  I know, there will always be someone who refutes that the sky is blue and that night is dark.  But they are the minority when you start proving that companies will make more money by switching from fossil fuels.

Since fossil fuels are finite, the price of them will only continue to go up.  But making the switch means we need to gain business interests.  We need to convert CEOs to start thinking about the future of their company not the future of the planet.  They don’t care about the planet, they only care about their money!  Proving to them that it is in their best interest to switch is the best strategy to make them switch.

I learned that the words “return on investment” are the true gospel in business.  If you can show positive “return on investment”, you can convince CEOs to switch to renewable energy.  Stop arguing against their bottom line and show how you can help their bottom line.  That is the true answer to eliminating the need for fossil fuels.  Then we can all breathe a little easier.

 

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Paul Ryan keeps talking about the “root causes” of poverty.  He likes to say that there are “generations” of men who “don’t even think about getting a job or having a work ethic”.  According to Mr. Ryan, his heart goes out to poor people.  He proves just how much his heart goes out with his budget!  Things that will really help the poor.  Cutting food stamps.  Cutting Medicaid.  Cutting Pell Grants.  And, giving the multi-millionaires a tax cut averaging $200,000.

Mr. Ryan wants to help the poor.  He even says that his budget is based on his Catholic Teachings.  I must have gone to a different Catholic school system than he did because the Catholic Teaching, especially on social issues, that I learned are totally opposite of what he has been preaching.  We were taught that helping the poor was a social responsibility.

If Mr. Ryan really wants to get to the “root causes” of poverty there are some things that he can do.  He can actually write, or pass already existing legislation that will help the poor.  And, I am not talking about “government handouts” either.  There are lots of things that can help eliminate poverty in this country.  Yes, they will cost money as everything does and take time, but the return on investment will be tremendous.  These initiatives would create better prepared people to enter the workforce, ensure fair pay, and increase revenue to the government by billions of dollars every year.  Unfortunately, it will take guts and conviction to get them passed.  I am not sure Mr. Ryan has neither the guts nor the conviction necessary to do the work.

Here is what I believe needs to be done to eliminate the “root causes” of poverty, in no particular order:

1.  Stop Privatizing Public Schools and Create Solid Pubic Education For All!  This is one of the main root causes of poverty.  We will never have a chance to eliminate or significantly reduce poverty while public education is so dysfunctional.  When I say it is dysfunctional, I am not referring to the millions of hard-working dedicated public school teachers either.  I am referring to the “local control” of public education.

It has been argued for generations that public education “needs local control”.  I have always asked why?  Since our children will be working in a “global economy”, local control is not the answer for what they will need to succeed.  Local control of public education is what got us into this mess we call public education.

Some groups want to introduce “religion” into science classes, while others don’t.  The worst thing about “local control” is that public education is dependent upon local property taxes.  Now, that may seem fair on one hand, but wealthy areas will pay more property taxes than less wealthy and rural areas.  As a result, a two-tiered system of public education becomes a reality.  Wealthy areas have new schools.  They pay their teachers better.  They are better equipped to help their students succeed.  There is nothing wrong with that.  However, poorer and rural areas don’t get the same funding as the wealthy areas.  As a result, they have older and outdated schools.  They pay their teachers less.  They even have a hard time supplying the necessary equipment to properly educate their students.

The Republican plan for this is to privatize schools.  The have called for vouchers for years.  The stated goal it to “allow parents to choose the school their child attends”.  That is a fallacy of the worst kind.  Every student isn’t “allowed” to attend the school of their choice.  There are restrictions on admittance.  Most of these “charter or private voucher schools” won’t take special needs children.  Many limit the number of minorities they take.  Many are religious schools so if you don’t belong to “their church” you cannot get in or you have to pay far more tuition than others.  Meaning the “voucher” you get won’t pay the entire cost of tuition so you won’t be able to afford to send you children there.

Worst, it leaves the most vulnerable children to rely on less funded public education.  With public money going to these “vouchers”, there isn’t enough money left in the school budget to educate the left out children.  As a result, we not only get a two-tiered school system, we get a three-tiered system.  Since it is the most vulnerable children left in the third tier, poverty is going to be ever on-going.

The only real solution is to standardize education across the nation.  That will mean taking control of public education away from “local control” and placing it in the hand of professional educators.  Yes, it means that the Department of Education will have more of a say in how our children will be educated.  I am not overly happy with “core standards” as they are, especially since teachers performance are based mostly on test results.  But, we do need to ensure that all children get basic foundational education in areas like reading, arithmetic, writing, history, science, and yes, the arts.

The best way to formulate new ideas is to teach children to think!  Children will not be able to properly think unless they are given the foundations of a good education.  All of my life I have heard that “education is the great equalizer”.  That wasn’t true while I was growing up, and this tiered education system is making things worse.  Every child is not getting the education that could be their “great equalizer”.

Of course, going this route creates several problems.  The biggest is funding.  Since public education is currently funded through property taxes, we will need to have some other way to pay for it.  Maybe we need to have a special tax for education.  Taking part of the current property tax and moving it into a different pot may be the answer.  That is something for people much smarter than me to figure out.  But, I can think of no better way to ensure that public education is equal for everyone.  Schools need to be remodeled or rebuilt.  Teacher pay needs to be reexamined.  Text books need to be standard in all areas of education.

I know this may get me in trouble with conservatives, but religion needs to be taken out of public education.  Religion is a personal matter between you and your god.  It has nothing to do with giving our children a good education.  Religion has crept back into public schools mainly because of “local control”.  While a majority in one area may want it in schools, it is wrong to force it on those who don’t.  Public education needs to be secular.  If you want your children to have a religious background, it is your responsibility to give it to them.  Not the teachers in public school.

2.  Affordable College Education.  Today the average student graduates from college with a debt of anywhere between $30,000 and over $100,000.  That is ridiculous!  I know that college costs a lot of money.  It was expensive even when I went to college years ago.  Especially when you compared it to the cost of living then and now.

State Universities and Community Colleges are again tied to State budgets.  Some state universities costs less than others, for in-state students because the State provides good funding to them.  Other state universities costs more simply because the State Legislature won’t give them the money they need to keep costs down.  Community colleges usually fall at the bottom of the food chain.

Let’s face facts.  Something needs to be done about the growing costs of college education.  One of the main things that helps keep student debt down is the Pell Grants.  But, Mr. Ryan wants to cut Pell Grants by $125 billion.  That will either eliminate people from getting a college education, or make their debt significantly higher.  Both results are not good.

I suggest that Mr. Ryan bring together college administrators, professional educators, budge experts, and anyone else he can think of to sit down and come up with a comprehensive plan that may reduce the cost of a college education.  We need to make college available to anyone who wants to attend.

Bringing down the cost of college education without reducing the effectiveness of that education is not going to be easy.  But, if we don’t do something, our grandchildren will be faced with either insurmountable debt upon graduating or will choose not to attend college at all.  Sorry, but money should not be the deciding factor in getting a college education.

3.  Bring Trade Schools Back To Public Education.  When I was attending high school, most public schools had what was referred to as “shop”.  These classes were for those students who were not looking to get a college education, but wanted to learn a trade that would provide good paying jobs.  These classes have mostly disappeared from public education.

Today, we have “private” trade schools that teach these same trades as once were taught in public schools.  Now, maybe having professionals teaching their trade is a good idea, but the cost of these “trade schools” is almost as high as getting a four-year degree!  By “privatizing” trade schools, we have again eliminated the “most vulnerable” from attending.  The cost is simply too high.

Additionally, I cannot find anything that says they must meet any particular “standards”.  Even colleges must be “accredited” in order for their grades to be transferable or be recognized by most major companies.  I may be missing it, but I cannot find any such “accreditation” for these trade schools.

Rather than rely on all of these private schools without accreditation, we could bring “shop” back to the high school level, and offer this “trade education” in our community colleges.  If there are people willing to teach at a “trade school” we should be able to recruit them to teach the same thing at our schools.  It worked before, it should work again.

By bringing back this type of education, we will be training students who don’t want to go to college.  That will provide them with a “trade” they can get a good paying job in.

4.  Create an Atmosphere for Job Creation not Job Exportation.  It is far too easy for a company to move their operations overseas.  As we discussed earlier, there are even tax deductions that make it even more appealing to move a factory overseas than to keep it in the U.S.  Republicans have always said that taxes are the reason companies move overseas.  The companies say it is because of wages.  Both may have valid points, but each standing on their own have no merit at all.

One of the biggest expenditures that companies face in running a factory is energy costs.  Reliance on oil or coal based electricity or other energy sources has driven the cost of powering a factory sky-high.  Instead of offering more tax incentives to the oil companies, we need to offer more incentives to renewable energy.

Wind is free.  Solar is free.  We need to harness these energies, as well as a myriad of other free sources, to rebuild our power grid.  That will help reduce the costs of energy for our companies as well as our households.  If we could drive down the cost of energy by even 40%, companies would be able to keep wages at a livable rate, and still make more profits.  That should help stop the exporting of jobs overseas.  When companies have a choice of high energy costs coupled with labor costs, they will seek the lowest labor costs.  If on the other hand they get a big reduction in energy costs that are not available overseas, they will be more inclined to stay put.

We can fix a whole lot of problems with this kind of policy.  We can cut carbon emissions, slow down global warming, and cut energy costs all at the same time.  But, again it will need bold vision to make this happen.  It will require hard work, and a complete rebuild of our power grid.  But, the return on investment would be tremendous.

Besides, look at all of the good paying, long-lasting jobs rebuilding the power grid, and other areas of our infrastructure would create.  These jobs would increase tax revenue by the billions for several years reducing our budget deficit and national debt.

5.  Raise the Minimum Wage.  For Mr. Ryan to argue he “has compassion for the poor” and continue his fight against raising the minimum wage is a contradiction at best and totally hypocritical at worst.  What is wrong with making sure that people who work for a living actually make a living?  Why is it so terrible that everyone pay an extra 2 cents for that can of peas at Wal-Mart so its employees can afford to buy that can of peas without government assistance?

The arguments against raising the minimum wage have gone on for too many decades.  Every time they say it will kill jobs, it doesn’t.  According to the Republicans, everything will kill jobs.  Remember in 2012 when the fight was over killing the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy was hot?  The Republicans said that it would kill jobs if the tax cuts for the wealthy were allowed to end.  Now, over a year later, we continue non-stop, with private sector job growth.  Seems that raising taxes on the wealthy didn’t kill all those jobs.  Raising the minimum wage won’t either.  In fact, most economists argue that it will actually create more jobs.

When people have more money to spend, they spend it.  That increases demand for products and services, which in turn, creates more jobs to produce those products and services.  I thought the Republicans knew how capitalism is supposed to work?

There are a lot of other ideas that can work as well.  Like passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, and ENDA.  But, I believe that the five I listed above are the “root causes” of poverty.

I know that conservatives will argue that this will “cost too much”.  That is not a valid argument since costs are always balanced by return on investment.  Since I believe that the return on investment will far exceed the cost for these ideas, that should eliminate their arguments.

The real problem we face in implementing these plans is whether or not Mr. Ryan and his party are really interested in getting to the “root causes” of poverty.  If they are, they should jump on these ideas immediately.  But, I am afraid that Mr. Ryan and his party are NOT interested in getting to the “root cause” of poverty.  They want poverty to continue since it only affects who they call “them”.

It is time we need to hound them to come up with something better than merely cutting taxes for the wealthy.  We need to hound them to come up with real solutions to real problems.  We must let them know we are sick of their “talking points” and want things to change.  That is the best way to expose them for what they really are, the party of the rich only.  Then, we need to work harder to get them voted out of office in November.  Beginning with Mr. Ryan.

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So the Conservative Christian Cult are arguing that corporations are people with deeply held religious beliefs.  And, as such, should be able to “opt out” of the contraception mandate of the ACA.  They are now arguing that Public Education is a “handout” to poor people and should be privatized.  In order to make their point, they are pushing vigorously for “voucher programs” which will take tax dollars earmarked for public education and offer them as sort of “scholarships” to private schools.  Of course, their argument is that public education is failing.

In 2012 Bobby Jindal introduced such a voucher program in Louisiana.  One problem, only about 8,000 poor students in the entire state were admitted into these private schools.  Furthermore, the data from the LEAP testing done each year showed that those students in the private schools scored drastically lower (40% at or slightly above grade level) than the state average (69%).

Not to be outdone, Milwaukee Wisconsin also has a voucher program.  Research shows that just 13 percent of voucher students scored proficient in math and 11 percent made the bar in reading this spring. That’s worse on both counts than students in the city’s public schools.  It would appear that vouchers do not improve the education of students, but rather drag it down.  How could this be?  In the past, private schools had a reputation for providing excellent education.  So what happened?

What happened was that many of these private schools have adopted the A Beka Book curriculum.  I already wrote once about how they teach creationism rather than evolution.  They even villanize scientists and mathematicians.  But, that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Here are some wonderful things your children are being taught if they attend a school that uses these text books.

According to their book titled:  America The Land That I love In Christian Perspective the following are taught as “fact”:

The Great Depression was made up in order to spread Socialism.  That’s right, the Great Depression didn’t happen at all.  It was a left leaning propaganda ploy to spread socialism in America.  The book says:

“Some people wanted to create an imaginary crisis in order to move the country toward socialism. They spread rumors of bank mortgage foreclosures and mass evictions from farms, homes and apartments. But local banks did all in their power to keep their present tenants. The number of people out of work in the 1930s averaged about 15 percent of the work force; thus 85 percent continued to work. Most had to take a pay cut, but prices also declined during the Depression, enabling people to buy more for their money.”

What’s more, in the Propaganda section, students learn:

In 1939, John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath. This novel described the plight of the Okies, farm families from Western Oklahoma who went to California in search of jobs. Most families who went west did not experience the hardships that Steinbeck presented in his novel. Steinbeck openly supported labor violence and strikes instigated by socialist groups to keep the Okies from earning a living as migrant farm laborer in California…. Socialist photographers and artists produced misleading pictures of the… mountaineers of Appalachia. These mountaineers did not have the modern conveniences of homes in the town or cities but they did not consider themselves to be poor. The Depression actually had little effect on their lives.

They also teach that Carl Marx and Darwin brought the German people Hitler and the Nazis.  The book teaches, “as a socialist, Hitler believed that the government should own the nation’s industries and take responsibility for its people.” Through socialism, the book tells us, Hitler became “the absolute dictator of Germany. By embracing socialism, the German people lost their freedoms to a tyrant.”  They fail to mention that Hitler did not nationalize German industries and that many German Industrialists got very rich during his reign.

Freedom of Speech was the Gateway to Porn.  According to them,  “Pornographic films and books were legalized under the guise of ‘freedom of speech’.”  So even if you think Freedom of Speech is a good thing, according to these texts, it is really a freedom that is a dangerous gateway.

Other wonderful things they teach include little tidbits like the Clintons were Draft-Dodging, Economic-Crisis-Creating, Joint Presidents, or that George W. Bush was an awesome President because he invaded Iraq and saved mid-born babies, or that 2008 was a terrible year for America because Barak Obama a Marxist-Nazi-Muslim-atheist-homosexuality-approving Kenyan, was elected president.

Finally, private schools are not required to provide special education to anyone with physical or mental disabilities.  Therefore, they don’t have to take these children into their schools.  Nor, are they required to accept anyone who is not a member of their church group.  Or, if they do accept them, they charge significantly higher tuition.  Naturally, they don’t have to accept LGBT students either.  On top of all of that, if a student doesn’t measure up to their “standards” they can refuse to let them back in.

All the while, public school funding is being drained by the voucher programs.  Because the money intended to provide public education to everyone is being used as “scholarships” for these private schools, up to 65% of public school funding is going to voucher programs in many states.  That leaves practically nothing for everyone else.

If you want your children to attend one of these “so-called schools” by all means send them there.  But, I find it very offensive to expect me to pay for their lack of education.  Private means Private.  Private Schools are to be funded by students, not the tax payer who may or may not agree with their “ideology”.  Stop voucher programs wherever you can and give all of our children the opportunity of a good education!

 

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Every politician who runs for office has a bibliography.  One of the many items they often throw out is that they are “the product of public education”.  I find that almost traumatizing!  Mainly because most of these same politicians who claim to be “the product of public education” are the same people who once they get into office, do their utmost to completely shut down public education in favor of for-profit education.

The first attack on public education was the “voucher” system.  Under this plan, mostly pushed by Republicans but also backed by many Democrats, public education money would be used to send children to “private” schools.  Their argument was that public education was failing in many parts of the country.  To prove their point, they began to institute “standardized testing” as the only means to show progress.  Once the results of these tests were out, and many students did in fact fail, they argued it proved their point.

However, they never did confess that all the while they were spending large amounts of money to have vendors develop these standardized tests, they were cutting public education funding and teacher staffs.  Teachers were being laid-off by the thousands, and school buildings were allowed to nearly crumble down around the students.

Then the next big thing was “Charter Schools”.  At first many people thought this was a good idea.  However, over the years we are finding out that they are not as good as they were hyped to be.  Thus, the backlash about Charter Schools in New York City.  Problem is that these companies who run Charter Schools are making so much money they are probably not going away anytime soon.

What Charter Schools are really doing is laying the foundation for a two-tiered education system.  Under this program, Charter Schools get to “pick-and-choose” their students.  If one of the students they choose doesn’t do as well as expected, they are allowed to “toss them out”.  Additionally, they are not required to take any children with special needs.  Nor are the required to take students with English deficiency.  So, they get to pick the students they want, throw out anyone they don’t like, and then say we are better than you.

This attack on public education is nothing new.  Nor, is it relegated to one political party.  Both sides are just as guilty as the other when it comes to public education.  The real problem is that we have become too enamored with standardized testing.  We have allowed our schools to become test preparation institutions and not places of learning.  I don’t care if you talk about standardized tests of the past or about Common Core that is now being pushed.  Standardized Testing is bad for education.  It doesn’t show anything significant in regards to the viability of education, just that some students do better on tests than others.

Additionally, the standardized tests reveal something we already knew.  If you come from a part of society that has you are more prone to be successful on standardized tests.  If you come from a part of society that doesn’t have” you are or prone to be less successful on standardized tests.  What in essence we are telling children is that some are losers and some are winners.  If you come from poorer neighborhoods, you are probably going to fall into the “loser” category.

Teachers all across the country have been under attack for years.  Somehow it is their fault that education isn’t good enough according to these standardized tests.  They are forced to prepare their students for the content of the test rather than spend that time in class to educate our children.  On top of all of that, school districts are spending millions of dollars to obtain standard test preparation materials.  All the while things like art and music are being dropped from the curriculum.

For example, Texas a couple of years ago cut $5.3 Billion from public schools while giving Pearson a $500 million contract.  They even went so far as to say that there would be 15 end-of-course exams in order to pass high school.  Fortunately for those students in Texas their parents fought back.  A group of Texas Moms formed a group called TAMSA – Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment — better known as Moms Against Drunk Testing.  I like the second name better myself.

What all this proves is that in order to “balance budgets” state and federal governments are using our children’s education to cut money.  We have become too dependent upon standardized tests.  We are failing our children miserably!  The worst part of all of this is that educators are not the ones writing these standardized tests.  They are being written by corporations, some of whom don’t even have professional educators on staff.

I remember a time when teachers were valued by society.   They were role models.  The teaching profession was looked upon as a great meaningful career.  Children and parents looked up to teachers and their dedicated work.  How is it that too many people are demonizing teachers today?

Why is it that it is okay to spend millions of dollars on standardized testing that don’t really measure accomplishment or knowledge, but not on teachers and school buildings?  Why do we, as in Los Angeles, take money from repairing schools to purchase Ipads for every student to prepare for standard testing?  These Ipads will be antiquated in two to three years, schools should be permanent pillars of education.  Why are places like New York City being forced to give free rent to private, for profit, Charter Schools?

President Obama is, in my opinion, just as guilty in all of this as everyone else.  His program of Race to the Top sounds excellent.  But in practice, this ongoing movement of having a two-tiered education system is really becoming a Race to the Bottom.  The President is very good at talking about education.  I truly believe he wants the best for our children.  However, I believe he has become blind to the negative effects Charter Schools and Voucher movements are having on public education.

In the meantime, Governors like Perry in Texas, Scott in Florida, Walker in Wisconsin, Christie in New Jersey, and McCrory in North Carolina continue to go after teachers and their unions.  All the while trying to privatize public education.  None of these governors has said anything about the children with special needs and how they plan to deal with them.

So, we must ask these politicians if public education was good enough for them to move up the economic ladder, why can’t our children be offered the same opportunity?  Why are they taking money away from public education and putting it in the hands of corporations?  Why are they not investing in the quality of public education so other children can move up as well?

I have always believed in education.  I firmly believe that if you want to measure the very heart and soul of a country, all you need to do is look at how they educate their children.  A country’s future and growth are directly tied to the education of its children.  Without good education for all, the country’s future is in jeopardy.

You can be sure of this, if public education is allowed to become a two-tiered system, that is also the plan for the economy.  With the attacks against public education going on, we can only assume that these politicians want a two-tiered economic system.  Those with, and those without.  Is that what we really we want for our children’s future?

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