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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

I've been trolled!

In response to my latest Open Source Politics post, I got a Republican troll in the comments. I never get Republican trolls, not even here! So I'm quite pleased with myself. Here's the comment:
Found this by chance on weblogs. I also watched most of the NOW show--keeping up on the enemy. When asking gov't officials about education, esp. Bush and Paige, remember to also look to the author of the No Child Left Behind Legislation--namely, Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. I am sure there was/is much more that could be done, and I am of the opinion that it was a huge mistake to allow a communist who loves dictators more than his own country (partisan as I am) to write the law that would educate our children, rather than more qualified individuals. This, if anything, is Bush's mistake. As for the NOW gang, if you've watched for any length of time you know the stances they take on most issues--leftest communist are often praised while those that truely love this country are ridiculed. The only real hope we have to educate the children in our country is to disallow any more federal spending on this network (PBS), then take that wasted money, now spent to brainwash good and decent Americans, and apply it to real education.

Posted by Paul at October 28, 2003 05:47 PM
Here's my response.

Thanks for your comment, Paul. I hope some day to be enumerated among your enemies. :)

You make a number of assertions here. I'll not address the PBS stuff, except to say that, even according to your conservative peers' figures, the PBS share of our federal bounty is less than $300 million, which is just a small percentage of the total budget of just my school district, let alone federal funding of education overall. As someone who knows all the Spanish I do from watching "Sesame Street" (
agua! uno, do, tres!), I think that the federal money is mui worthwhile.

As to NCLB, you may say that Comrade Ted Kennedy was involved in writing the bill, but believe me, he was not pleased with the entire bill. Education Week, which is not known in teachers'-union circles for being all that sympathetic to our causes, noted that "[t]he final package reflects a political compromise by a range of interests, but embraces many of the president's original proposals unveiled just days after Mr. Bush took office a year ago this month." Yes, there was bi-partisan support for the bill, passing with nearly 90% in congress; but the key parts of the bill, and the ones I as an educator and liberal commentator have biggest problems with, are straight out of Rod Paige's Houston, which "NOW" and many others have fully debunked.

Kennedy was more for the good parts of the bill, which Boehner, Hastert, and the Bush administration had to agree to (the compromise) in order to get Democrats on board with the bill. He was not fully pleased with it, and recognized that a good bill would take continuous fights. The same Ed. Week article notes that
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, said just before the bill's final Senate passage that major urban areas would see increases of at least 30 percent in Title I aid. Under the fiscal 2002 budget, Boston public schools will get an extra $11 million this year, Los Angeles an extra $87 million, and New York City an additional $143 million, according to preliminary estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. High-poverty rural areas will also see significant gains, Sen. Kennedy said.

One key measure excluded from the final deal would have meant even more money for school districts across the country: a plan to shift spending for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act from the "discretionary" to the "mandatory" side of the federal budget. That proposal would have skirted the annual appropriations process in Congress and locked in years of spending increases for special education. The measure was included in the Senate version of the ESEA, but was removed in the face of staunch opposition from Republicans on the House side of the 39-member conference committee on the ESEA. [. . .]

Mr. Kennedy pointed to provisions in the bill that would expand opportunities for educators' professional development, provide money to help schools reduce class sizes, and expand and strengthen after-school programs. He also said the bill would provide new resources and support for failing schools.

"I regret that we are not going to be able to reach all of the children that could benefit from these kinds of programs," he said. "We will see a significant increase in the resources. [. . .] We're going to have that battle next year, and the year after that. That's the way this process works," Mr. Kennedy said.

Kennedy fought hard for the increases in Title I (and as a teacher at a Title I school, I am glad). Kennedy also fought for full IDEA funding (the feds are supposed to kick in ~30%, but they've been paying ~12%), which would be a tremendous relief to state budgets (in the red everywhere) and urban districts which have proportionally more special education students than wealthier suburban districts. And Democrats have continued to fight for full funding not only of IDEA but NCLB itself. You seem to be in favor of increased funding for education (at least, your call for unfunding PBS points that way), you should spend your time lobbying your congresscritter for full IDEA and NCLB funding instead of calling Bill Moyers a communist.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Today's Reading Assignment

Of course, the readings are all from Open Source Politics. The first is mine, a review of "NOW with Bill Moyers" from a while back all about the "Houston Miracle" and No Child Left Behind.

The second is Natalie Davis writing the post I've thought about on the partial-birth abortion fiasco last week. Kenneth Quinnel looks at another example of Republicans playing doctor with the Terri Schiavo case.

But the cool one is Laura Poyneer's (aka Al-Muhajabah) post explaining Ramadan, the Islamic holiday. Not only is it thorough (when you click through to her FAQ), it's also getting mention at the USA Today webguide! As a USA Today veteran myself, I say welcome to the club, Laura!

I may have another post later today about taxes. Maybe about the primaries. Maybe not until Saturday. I don't know. This week is funny for me. Check back often.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

I Know What's Wrong

It's the end of the month and there's no bat.

Plus, it got dark at 4:45.

A Blast from the Past

I posted this in the comments over at NTodd's place, but I realize that I never did post a wrap-up to all the stuff I was into during Howard Dean's Sleepless Summer Tour here on my own blog. So here's one small piece of it. Enjoy.

Did I ever tell you about the time I almost got Jodi Wligoren in trouble with Howard Dean's campaign manager Joe Trippi? The Sleepless Summer tour was literally sleepless for me. And I had a van full of journalists in my power.

I was one of several people drafted to show up at 5:30 the morning after the 9:00 p.m. rally here in Milwaukee to drive the people back from the hotel to the airport (only about a three-minute drive).

Wilgoren was in my van, and after I deposited the press at the airport, she asked me if I could drive her across the way to the Speedway station to see if they had any New York Timeses (it was Sunday morning).

She found three, and then I started back for the hotel, since I knew there would still be people to pick up. She thought I would just take her back to the airport. We had our wires crossed, I guess.

But when I pulled up in front of the hotel, there was no press left (the remainder had all been in the van that left just before we got back). Joe Trippi and whatsisname, the pollster, were standing around with a few other staffers, and Trippi got this what-the-hell-is-a-reporter-doing-here look on his face as we came to a stop. Wligoren, to her credit, and perhaps saving us all, rolled down the van window and said, "Here, Joe. I got you a New York Times."

***

She was not the last press person left, though. As the LAST last van was about to pull off, some guy came flying out of the hotel's front doors, screaming, "Am I too late? They didn't give me my f***ing wake-up call!"

(And, once the press was safely on the plane, I got to drive the Gov. and Kate O'Connor in my Saturn--lucky me for being the only one with an American car!)

Friday, October 24, 2003

Happy "Take Back Your Time Day"

I'll be blogging more about it when I get home from work tonight at 6:30.

I have a new Open Source Politics entry up on the very scary (for people with kids, anyway) report on skyrocketing college tuition. I blame the Republicans. (Bonus points to anyone who recognizes the building in the graphic accompanying that story. Stacie, you're disqualified.)

Also in the past couple of days I had a diary entry make it to the front page of the Daily Kos, generating more comments than any other post over there since Kos's Scoop migration a few weeks back. Now if only that would translate into readership here.

I should plug someone else, so I don't sound too stuck up or nothing. Dru Blood has just about the coolest (and seasonal-holiday-appropriate) blogging pseudonym ever. And her blog is good, too.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Some random questions to keep you entertained

When did purple become a Halloween color? And, for that matter, why is it that now we decorate as much for Halloween as for Christmas? If the amount of Halloween crap on display in my new neighborhood is any indication of what's to come, they will be able to see the Christmas lights from the International Space Station.

What's my list of things for Kevin Drum to do while he's in my native Cincinnati? I'm assuming he doesn't want to visit my parents, so that limits things, as that's pretty much all I usually do there. He can see White Tigers (like the one that ate Roy) at the zoo. And Union Station's fixed up all pretty now. And there's apparently nice new sports stadiums for the Reds and Bengals to lose in. But my advice: Get out now. It worked for me, no?

Have you tooled through my blogroll lately? Lots of relatively new stuff on there.

Anyone want to come to my house and grade papers? I will buy you Krispy Kreme. Swear to Jeebus. (And I have dog training homework to do, too!)

Speaking of new animals, NTodd has a new kitten. Go give him a virtual cigar or something. (Not really a question, I know.)

We should offer condolences to Chicago's Kenn and Boston's Amy for that whole baseball thing. I think Kos was pretty broken up about the Cubs, too, but he has enough traffic already, and a new Scoop-powered blog to keep him busy. (Not really a question, either.)

Identify what's wrong with this sentence, if you can: "COTTON RUGBY SHORTS (For Men and Women): Like the rugged sport they're named after, these robust cotton knit shorts have a 6" inseam."

Are you reading Open Source Politics every day yet? Why not?

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Open Thread--Suggestions, Please

I'm going to add another section to the links there on the right. At this point, I've got the shameless self-promotion section, the Howard Dean section, the music links, and the blog links. I'm going to add an education links section, and I'd be interested in your input for what you think belongs in that section. So far, I'm looking at Rethinking Schools, the NEA and the AFT, and the ERIC database. I have a few others I'm considering, and I want to include bloggers who write primarily about education issues. So if you know of any, drop me a line in the comments. And you can talk about anything else that interests you, if you'd rather.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

I'm not dead

Though the various viruses (anybody's band need a name?) I've suffered under for the past week and a half are doing their damnedest.

My latest OSP post is on developments in Wesley Clark's campaign (done relatively without bias). The cool part is that Taegan Goddard of Political Wire has picked up on it, and mentions it in the same sentence as two of the three most-read liberal bloggers on the block, Josh Marshall and Kos. Just kind of reinforces the notion that you can't trust anything on the web anymore--you never know what kind of nut is writing it.

Part three of my No Child Left Behind series will be up at OSP this week yet, I swear. Though there's some re-organization going on over there, and the "Knowledge" section is being folded into the "Inside/ Outside" section. So who knows. But you can read parts one and two now if you haven't.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Something Happy

For those of you who thought my earlier post today was too much of a downer (or at least the "I'm having a crappy life, woe is me" part of it), here's some happy news:

If you care (I know you do), four of the top five blogs on The Truth Laid Bear's Ecosystem stats are liberals. For a long time, few if any lefties ranked that high. Help us out, will you, and link to Talking Points, Atrios, Kos, and CalPundit. We still have a ways to go to knock Instapundit out of #1, though. (Notice I didn't link to him--I'm not gonna help his stats!)

Open Source Politics (my moonlighting gig from this blog) has jumped into the top ten as well, at #7, making fully half of the top ten and more than half of the top seven blogs liberal blogs. Yay, us! Note that this is just link-tos, though; OSP's in the low twenties in terms of overall traffic.

Speaking of OSP, Kenneth Quinnell (occasionally known as T. Rex) has a fantastic post up there about all kinds of bad news for conservatives, meaning happy news for us!

Finally, appealing to my softer side, the anonymous (near as I can tell, but I'm a little dim) poster at Blog of a Math Teacher has both linked to my OSP columns on No Child Left Behind and tacitly endorsed Howard Dean. Go give him/ her some needed traffic, positive feedback, and encouragement, because we damn sure need more math teachers!

And I've posted twice in one day. If that's not happy news, I don't know what is.

I'm not buying "Not This War"

I need to blog today. I've had a crappy week, I'm tired, I'm frustrated, and I have mounds of other stuff to do. But I need to blog today.

My subject of choice is something that's been bugging the hell out of me for some time: John Kerry's vote on the Iraq War Resolution and his subsequent attempts to explain why he voted for it:
"I voted for the resolution to provide the President with the credible threat-force which I believe the President has to have," Kerry said, but added that he had presumed that Bush would respect multilateral institutions like the United Nations and would work with the world rather than going it alone.
Now, I will happily admit that the sum total of my foreign policy experience is limited to some very relaxing time on a Mexican beach every couple of years, and that my military and diplomatic credentials begin and end with a high-school addiction to the game Diplomacy. I've got nothing on John Kerry. Nothing. And I have even less on Wes Clark, who in the last couple of weeks seems to have aligned himself with Kerry's position.

The venerable Josh Marshall, who seems to be firmly in the Clark camp now, writes that "the heart of the matter [is] the difference between thinking that this war was ill-conceived and poorly planned (which I think is Clark's position) and being 'anti-war' in the sense of some broader political ethic." Marshall complains that some people--notably media watchdogs FAIR--see only this dichotomy, without any acknowledgement that there can be a third (or fourth or fifth) way about it.

But what Josh doesn't quite get is that it's not at all about being pro-Iraq war vs. being a pacifist. Dennis Kucinich is probaly the only true pacifist in this race, and the number of true pacifists in the Democratic party is probably not much bigger than the number of DK supporters. No, the real issue is the vote. Period.

Joe Lieberman has been prattering on for a long time now about how the Iraq war is a "just war," and Edwards refuses to discuss his vote. Gephardt, of course, sold out Daschle and the Senate Dems there in the Rose Garden. Those three seem to be fully on the one side of that vote.

Dean, Kucinich, Sharpton, Moseley Braun, and the (departing?) Bob Graham have all been consistently against waging this war. That's the other side of the vote. (I know DK and Graham are the only ones of those actually to vote on it.)

But Kerry and Clark now seem to want to populate the middle, saying that a yes vote in October 2002 was the only way to go, since without it, there would have been no likelihood of a peaceful solution. I say that's bunk. Why? Simple:

You cannot give a lighter to an arsonist and expect him not to start a fire!

They had to have known that Bush would go to war. Unquestionably, they had to know. I mean, I knew, and, as I said, I don't have squat in the experience department.

And Clark! My god, if he's the modern war genius his supporters claim, he must have been daft to think that Bush would not take the blank check right down the street to the liquor store.

Most other presidents? Sure, they may have acted responsibly. This one? No. And I'm not just saying that because I have a visceral reaction when I see him or hear him or think about him. The Bush administration established early on in his term a pattern of idiocy, of disregarding the international community (even after 9/11!), and of unabashed militarism. They spent the summer of 2002 talking about "march to war, march to war," while stepping up attacks in the no-fly zone and building new bases (thanks, Brown & Root!) all over the middle east to accomodate the troops that they knew, well before October, would be taking out Saddam.

Know what really gets me about Clark's position? He knew since the morning of September 11 that the administration wanted to go after Iraq. Whether or not the phone call he got that day was from the White House, it still should have been obvious--like, written across the sky in big letters obvious--that there was no stopping the march to war in Iraq.

No stopping it, that is, except for Congress. Yet, they voted to give that lighter to that arsonist. Now, who do we blame for starting the fire?

ADDITIONAL READING:
I tried to find a way to work this in above, but Matt Langer over at Untelevised has a good take on this, too. He writes, in part, "the moderate Democratic support of multilateral invasion is easily pidgeonholed into the position of tacitly endorsing the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive strike, perhaps the most horrific result of the post-Sept 11 world. The natural defense to this accusation would be to bring up the continued Iraqi violation of a handful of UN resolutions, but this doesn't explain the pressing imminence that the situation in Iraq developed seemingly overnight. And regardless of the aforesaid resolutions, any invasion of Iraq - even a UN-sanctioned one - that was not in response to an aggressive action would have been inherently unjust and a gross violation of international sovereignty."

You go, Matt.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

The Scandal (and more)

OPEN SOURCE POLITICS has exploded in readership this week. These entries have become must reads for the informed:

Robert Novak is a coward, The CIA's Patriotic Math, A Matter of Trust, I Have A Little List ... are all about The Valerie Plame Affair.

There's also the Ben Franklin True Patriot Act Action Alert, Pie In the Sky, The Politics of Power Barry's two-parter, Asbestos Legislation #1 and #2, and the Florida Political Breakdown. Plus, part two of my series on NCLB!

It's all good.