Tidbits and Observations

Some musings on serious and not no serious current events before I head down to Austin to protest the state’s efforts to balance their budget on the back of school teachers and by default, our children.

Not yearning for a piece of the past?

Tea Partier devotee Joseph Farah “founder, editor and CEO of World Net Daily” is just one of many on the extreme right who are opposed to the replacement of the incandescent light bulb with CFL’s.  Isn’t it odd that for those who like to harken back to the time of our founding fathers who wrote some of the greatest political treatises of our time under candle light are whining about a bulb that for the first few seconds gives off a similar weaker glow?  Hey man!  Where’s the patriotism?

And the irony about their screed on the CFL’s very low health hazards of the mercury within the CFL bulb, laid next to the bigger health hazard from our use of oil, coal and natural gas is simply amazing.  You might want to check with the residents of the Gulf coast to see which one is more scarier.


Wish I would have said that

In their on-line commentary between each other, NY Times columnist Gail Collins was engaging conservative columnist  David Brooks.  Before they got into their conversation about social security and how best to address that, they had this initial exchange:

Gail Collins: David, congratulations on your new blog. I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts about intellectual and cultural trends. And congratulations again on your amazing new book, “The Social Animal.” What a year you’re having. Is it true that you’ve also been tapped to rethink the Academy Awards show?

David Brooks: Yes, that’s true. I’m going to merge it with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences annual award show. We’re going to give awards for Best Supporting Theologian in a Musical Role. It’s going to be co-hosted by Britney Spears and Elie Wiesel.


Here, let me help remove that log from your eye Congressman King

Terrorism is in part a violent criminal behavior designed primarily to generate fear in the community, or substantial segment of it, for political and non-political purposes.  Apparently though, this can only be achieved if you’re a Muslim by the standards of former terrorist supporter Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.  To date he has scheduled no testimony regarding American terrorism, perhaps because of that very fact – they’re just “like us”

Peter King palling around with terrorists

This probably was of little concern to the victims of terrorist type acts from Joseph Stack whose outrage over the IRS compelled him to drive his small plane into an IRS office killing one family man, or the shooting of two innocent people by Amy Bishop who was angered because she was denied tenure by the University of Alabama at Huntsville regents.  In fact, these terrorist are viewed more as heroes by many on the right.  Remember the outrage on the right when newly selected Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano wanted to investigate the threat of homegrown terrorism with white American militias?

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And finally

Whoops! Guess we forgot about those negative impacts on state budgets.

I can’t really sum this up any better than the authors of this piece, State Budget Deficits Are Not an Employee Compensation Problem by David Madland and Nick Bunker, so allow me to let them:

“The conservative explanation for state budget deficits is that employee compensation for public-sector workers is out of control. But a close look at the facts demonstrates these claims are unjustified. Public-sector pay is not the cause of state budget deficits because public-sector compensation did not significantly increase in recent years. Instead, state tax revenues declined sharply amid the Great Recession—shortfalls made worse in some states by ill-advised tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy, as happened most famously in Wisconsin before its governor began pushing to eliminate public-sector collective bargaining rights.

To be sure, most states face severe budget problems—an average projected shortfall of 16.9 percent of fiscal year 2012 budgets. And there are some headline-grabbing cases of government employees receiving excessive wages and benefits. But budget shortfalls today were largely driven by the downturn in state revenue due to the Great Recession. State revenue is 12 percent below prerecession levels even as the demand for services and benefits such as unemployment insurance is high.”


I am heading down to Austin early tomorrow morning to get there in time for the noon rally at the capital protesting the state’s budget cutting efforts that eliminates thousands of teachers’ jobs.  Like the corporate friendly government majority in Wisconsin, we here in  Texas also suffer from a mentality that always thinks budget crisis are the result of those expenditures that benefit we “small people”.

As I pointed out in an earlier piece, this budget shortfall of upwards to $27 billion is primarily the result of a short-sighted 2007 legislature that failed to properly account for the ill-effects of cutting property taxes. Public school districts here in Texas haven’t got a cost of living raise over the last two years and when they did in times past, they didn’t match the rate of inflation.  Many teachers have to take on other work to get by.

Have a great weekend and unless I manage to sneak one more piece in before I leave, I’ll be back up to speed on Monday.


2 responses to “Tidbits and Observations

  1. Knock them dead in Austin. Maybe you should run for office. I would move to vote for you! This was another great piece. You always amaze me.

    • Thanks Donna. I, my wife , my brother and his wife are all going down and then we plan on staying until Monday so we can see the sights. Austin is really a pretty nice little city and one of the few liberal bastions in this state.

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