“Well, then you don’t have to do it”

Says New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to a teacher who complained about her salary (dishonestly, by the way, as Neal Boortz points out)

On that note, since when is the cost per pupil the way to measure a teacher’s salary, and where does she get $3/per pupil, anyway?  My husband deals with customers and employees all day; his salary is not based on the number of either, but on the profits that his store brings. 

And yes, love of a job is part of the compensation for doing it.  The more unpleasant a job (all other things being equal), the more you have to pay to get someone to do it.  Obviously. 

I’m still loving Chris Christie for President.

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When is a pledge not a pledge?

When Obama says it on the campaign trail, apparently

This morning at a Manhattan breakfast sponsored by Thomson Reuters, White House Budget Director Peter Orszag threw that pledge out the window. Instead, he described Obama’s “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge as a “stance” and a “preference” that is subject to study by the president’s newly formed bipartisan Commission on Fiscal Responsibility.

“The president has been very clear about what he prefers,” Orszag said under questioning from Thomson Reuters’ Chrystia Freeland. “That was his stance during the campaign, and he still believes that’s the right course forward. But he has also been very clear that we shall let the commission go do its work.”

Freeland followed up, asking if that means the White House might be open to the idea. “Perhaps here’s some give there?”

“I don’t feel like I’m in a position to say that there will be any give there,” Orszag parried. “But the president has been very clear that the commission should go explore whatever options they all deem to be appropriate.”

Later on during the breakfast, Orszag resisted my attempts to pin him down when I asked if the White House could live with a tax increase on the middle class.

“No, I didn’t say that,” he answered. “What I did say is look, the typical thing that’s going to happen, and it’s already been happening, is everyone is going to come along with this idea—the value added tax, this thing under $250,000, Social Security, Medicare changes, what have you—and you’re looking for us to say no, yes, no, yes, no, yes—which will mean that the commission has absolutely nothing to talk about and nothing to do. The president has been very clear that we’re not going to play that game.”

Hmm, I could have sworn  . . . Nah, he must have said “preference” back in 2008.  That pledge business just sounds like something Glenn Beck would have told us.  And yet,

Q: Can you make an absolute, read-my-lips pledge that there will be no tax increases of any kind for anyone earning under $200,000 a year?

CLINTON: I will let the taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year go back to the rates that they were paying in the 1990s.

Q: Senator Obama, would you take the same pledge? No tax increases on people under $250,000?

OBAMA: I not only have pledged not to raise their taxes, I’ve been the first candidate in this race to specifically say I would cut their taxes. We are going to offset the payroll tax, the most regressive of our taxes, so that families who are middle-income individuals making $75,000 a year or less, that they would get a tax break so that families would see up to $1,000 worth of relief.

Q: You both have now just taken this pledge on people under $250,000 and $200,000.

OBAMA: Well, it depends on how you calculate it. But it would be between $200,000 and $250,000.

So, here’s my direction for 2012.  Every promise that candidate Obama makes, and you know that he’s going to make a lot of them, needs to be followed immediately by strong questioning as to whether this pledge is actually a pledge, or whether it is a  preference that is kind of  like a pledge, but at the same time completely different.

Looking for Hate in All the Wrong Places

I’m somewhat sorry to admit that I’ve never actually been to a Tea Party protest.  In fact, I’ve never been to any protest at all; they’re just not my style.  Oh, I admit that in my younger days, I was somewhat intoxicated by the allure of hippie-dom, but it was all superficial.  My first year of college coincided with then-President Clinton wagging the dog in the mid-east, and the ensuing rumors of potential war led to many fantasies of growing my hair long and sitting around burning (my male friends’) draft cards while singing songs from Hair.  But then 9/11 came along, and I started answering the few pitiful attempts at anti-war protests with snide comments about whether we should wear our burkas on the way or just change when we got there. 

So, especially now, when I wear suits every day and have a professional haircut and a distinguished-sounding pair of letters following my name, I just can’t see myself standing in a crowd waving a clever sign at a protest, even for a cause in which I deeply believe.  I’m just plain more of the strongly worded blog post or pointless arguments with my friends sort of gal.  But, I do want to join the numbers who are showing their support for this cause, and I do want to be able to say that I took part in something that may prove vital to my children’s and grandchildren’s futures.  More importantly, I need to know what it’s like.  Friendly reports have made it out to be as many wishes and sunshine as the Obama Presidency was supposed to be.  The pure pathetic-ness of reports that aim to contradict tends to back this up.  But there are contradictory reports as well (although unsubstantiated or just plain wrong), and I can’t say for sure unless I”ve been, with my eyes open. 

So, this Thursday, I’ll be tea partying with the best of them.  I won’t carry a sign.  I never was any good at coming up with clever slogans, anyway (witness the name of this blog), and my handwriting is atrocious.  Most importantly, though, I want to ensure that my hands are free for working my camera and smart phone.  I want to document every part of this event.  I will be particularly on the lookout for anything that so much as hints at the bad behavior of so many accusations, and promise to document it to the teeth.  I’m not the most outgoing person, but, if I see anything that so much as hints at racism or calls to violence, I will make an attempt to speak to the person and find out his or her thoughts.  There have been allegations that the not so loyal opposition will be attempting to libel and discredit; this, too I will attempt to suss out.  

I live in the south, in a truly red district.  We are exactly the unenlightened rubes in flyover country that liberals love to loath and scorn.  If there’s anything to see, I can’t imagine that I won’t see it.  If.   I don’t expect to see anything like this, or this, or this, but if I do, you have my word that it will get documented here.  Check back for results.

Update: Published this as a story at NewsBlaze.
Here’s a link to the event that I’ll be attending.

Glenn Beck Lies . . . Doesn’t He?

Went and got myself involved in a spirited discussion at Althouse today.  In the mist of the discussion, one of the resident liberals, the quirkily named Alpha Liberal, off-topically asserted that Glenn Beck is “corrupting the political process with his deceit and hyperbole – just to make a buck.”  (This was based on a quote from a Forbes article about Beck, which stated:  

With a deadpan, Beck insists that he is not political: “I could give a flying crap about the political process.” Making money, on the other hand, is to be taken very seriously, and controversy is its own coinage. “We’re an entertainment company,” Beck says..

I pointed out, obviously, that I have no problem with making a buck, but if you’re going to claim that he is corrupting with deceit, you need to back it up.  In truth, this was  a challenged I relished; I constantly hear complaints about Beck, but they never appear to be qualified with actual, you know, examples.  I don’t often hear of things he’s gotten truly wrong, and I’d like to know if they are there. 

So, Alpha provided me with a list of links that clearly show that Glenn Beck is a horrible deceiver, and threw in an insult about how I would just stick my fingers in my ears and ignore them, for some reason that I don’t understand, given that he has no experience with me that would support that I would do that.  Here are my reactions to his “evidence.” 

1) The first allegation is that Beck lied when he asserted that President Obama’s science czar John Holdren “has proposed forcing abortions and putting sterilants int he drinking water to control population.”  The article then goes on to debunk the assertion that Holdren advocated doing these things.  You can read the article to get the whole picture, but here’s a summary:

But with regard to Beck’s claim that Holdren “has proposed forcing abortions and putting sterilants in the drinking water to control population,” the text of the book clearly does not support that. We think a thorough reading shows that these were ideas presented as approaches that had been discussed. They were not posed as suggestions or proposals. [read the article for the quotes and see for yourself if they are “proposals”- Lyssa] In fact, the authors make clear that they did not support coercive means of population control. Certainly, nowhere in the book do the authors advocate for forced abortions. !

Propose: to offer or suggest (a matter, subject, case, etc.) for consideration, acceptance, or action: to propose a new method.
2.to offer (a toast).
3.to suggest: He proposed that a messenger be sent.
4.to present or nominate (a person) for some position, office, membership, etc.
5.to put before oneself as something to be done; design; intend.
6.to present to the mind or attention; state.
7.to propound (a question, riddle, etc.).

Advocate: to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly

I assume that Glenn Beck knows the difference between these two words. It’s a shame that PolitiFact doesn’t.

2) Polifact gives a good explanation of why Beck’s assertion that less than 10% of Obama’s cabinet members have private sector experience.  They also point out that he apparently relied on subjective research from an otherwise apparently reliable source, so it seems wrong to call this deceitful, rather than simply mistaken.  Regardless, Beck should retract this, assuming that he has not done so already, and not use it again.

3)   Polifact explains here that Andy Stern was, according to visitor logs, the most frequent visitor to the White House for the first several months of the administration, with the possible exception of some people whose names may not have been consistently recorded, such as cabinet members, although a later report showed this was not the case after July, 2009.  I think it’s fair to call this wrong and somewhat misleading for him to rely on the earlier report without qualification.  Deceitful feels hyperbolic, though. 

4) Polifact is very clear here that  Beck was relying on the government’s own language, which they later removed, when he stated that the Cash for Clunkers website would allow the government access to a public user’s computer.   It can’t be considered deceitful to rely on the own statements of the entity about which you are speaking, can it?

5) Here, FactCheck.org fully admits that, while Beck says that Obama has more “czars” than any other administration, the term czar is a term supplied by the media.  Based on this, it appears that it would be inherently subjective how many people qualify as “czars” in any given administration.  I can’t accept this as misleading. 

6) We did this one already, see #4.  (Hey, is padding the list deceitful?)

7) I found this last one, purporting to prove wrong Beck’s assertion that Hitler was closer to liberal than conservative, to be wholly unconvincing.  First, clearly, what is and is not liberal/conservative is fraught with subjectivity.  While it is true that Hitler’s reliance on militarism could be considered more “conservative,” I don’t think this is nearly as simple as it seems.  After all, the main reason that liberatarians like Beck and myself are concerned about government having too much power is that government is inherently militaristic.  Just ask Mao (political power comes from the point of a gun), among the other socialistic and communistic leaders whose policies have culminated in millions of deaths at the hands of the government that was supposed to improve the citizens’ lives.  Additionally, Hitler’s economic policies were extremely heavy with government control.  The article also points out that Hitler used religion when it worked for him, but I do not think that this is inherently a liberal or conservative thing to do.  Certainly President Obama has been more than willing to use invoke religious imagery in his speeches, in fact, more so than former President Bush.

The things that Glenn Beck has done that impress me are to point out the histories and character of a number of people involved with the administration, such as Van Jones and Anita Dunn, using their actual words and speeches.  I am also intrigued by his use of history to show us how the modern progressive state has evolved.  He has been remarkably successful at these things, and, while I understand that his style is a bit bizarre, he’s kind of a hoot to watch just on the grounds of uniqueness. 

But, let’s face it, the man is by no means infallible, as is shown by some of these issues (one of which is, apparently, the result of too much trust in the government).  For someone who is on television five hours a week and on the radio for many more hours, this list strikes me as pretty unimpressive.  Only a #2 and #3 could even arguably be called dishonest (and, as I said above, that assumes a level of intent that is no where near supported by the facts presented), and many of the “lies” here are not even really untruths.  To some degree, calling these lies appears more dishonest than the statements themselves. 

I remain unconvinced that the man is deceitfully corrupting the political process.

Did George W. Bush use cocaine?

I was working on a post about Tennessee’s gubernatorial candidates, and wanted to point out that candidate Zach Wamp was not unlike both the current and most recent former president in his history of cocaine use. 

Of course everyone knows that President Obama admitted to cocaine use in one of his books.  But I had been under the impression that it was common and accepted knowledge that Bush was a cokehead at some point as well.  I was surprised to learn that apparently I was wrong. 

The most authoritative thing that I could find when I searched “Bush cocaine” was this Wikipedia page (note the qualification of “most” before authoritative there), but it doesn’t even contain the word “cocaine.”  The rest of my search led me to unsourced (or shadily sourced) no-name webpages which contained all sorts of the sorts of wild allegations that set off the bullshit alarms from a mile away and remind you that anyone can post anything on the internet. 

I wasn’t as turned on to politics in 2000 as I am now, not by a long shot (the 2000 post-election debacle was probably my turning point in that kind of attention, with 9/11 sealing the deal that this was something worth watching), so my skeptism-meter wasn’t as high.  I must have “heard” that at some point (from one of my college classmates?  from some radio jock?  who knows?)and just accepted it as fact, and, until today, still did. 

Most people are a lot more like me in pre-election day 2000 than like me now.  Kind of scary when you think about how they’re getting their information.

“Fantasy in, fantasy out”

The New York Times (I know, right?) discusses the real costs of the Healthcare Bill:

The answer, unfortunately, is that the budget office is required to take written legislation at face value and not second-guess the plausibility of what it is handed. So fantasy in, fantasy out.

In reality, if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games and rework the calculus, a wholly different picture emerges: The health care reform legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits, by $562 billion.

Read the whole thing for the details; there are far too many to excerpt here. 

We really need a new tort: legislative malpractice.  One possible way to get there would be  obscenely dishonest misrepresentations like this.

Who is Ahead in the TN 3rd District Republican Primary?

At the Tea Party Debate between the GOP primary candidates last Saturday, which I live-tweeted, Van Irions mentioned several times that he was leading “in the polls.”  I receive emails from the Irions campaign, and have received several emails from the campaign urging me to “vote” for Irions at this website, Topix.com.  The results look like this:

Who would you vote for in the 3rd Congressional race

Click on an option to vote

  •  Tommy Crangle-R
  •  Chuck Fleischmann-R
  • Tim Gobble-R
  • Art Rhodes-R
  • Robin Smith-R
  •  Van Irion- R
  •  Mark DeVol -I
Van Irion- R 88   46%
Tim Gobble-R 36   19%
Chuck Fleischmann-R 33   17%
Art Rhodes-R 19   10%
Robin Smith-R 7   3%
Tommy Crangle-R 3   1%
Mark DeVol -I 2   1%
Current Total 188

*Last week, I received an email from the campaign boasting that they were leading in the same poll. 

I also receive emails from the Chuck Fleischman campaign; I have not received any emails requesting my vote in this poll.  There is also an online poll at the Chattanooga Tea Party website (viewing or voting in the poll requires registration, I’m basing this post on an email from the campaign sent on Feb. 26), which again is based only on votes by whoever happens to click. Notably, Irion is in 2nd place in this poll, with 26% of the vote, based on that email (with Fleishman a very close 3rd at 24% and Gobble leading with 33%). 

I was not able to find any other polls regarding this race. 

Was Irion, at the debate, boasting about his success in an online, unscientific poll that is weighed in his favor by asking his supporters to vote in it?  If the answer is yes, I find that quite dishonest. 

* Originally, I wrote that I had received the email “today,” which was incorrect.  The email was dated last week; I was just cleaning out the inbox today (well, now yesterday) when I read it.