The People Have Spoken…

The people of California have said it, loud and clear… Politics is more important than leadership. Unions are more important than jobs. Entitlements are more important than financial security. We are out of touch with the rest of the country.

While the rest of the nation recognizes the damage being done by the socialist wave and put a stop to it (or at least a significant slowing), California’s solution is to lean further left. We have placed the “leaders” of San Francisco and Oakland in charge of the entire state. We have returned the highest spending senator back to Washington to continue her part in destroying our state and nation. We have looked at the problems caused by out of control spending and special interest entitlements and chosen to spend more.

Truth be told… I don’t want to live here anymore! I need to take a break from writing about politics.

You think Jerry Brown supports education? Really?

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine and said that I really would like to get away from political commentary. There are so many bloggers out there covering the ridiculous antics of politicians and the deceptive methods of the mainstream media outlets of covering political issues. However, every time I think I am ready to break away from politics, somebody does something so insanely stupid that I just have to talk about it. The CTA is usually on the top of the list of ignorant, stupid and deceptive, even coercive, political propaganda.

The latest is that they want us to support Jerry Brown for governor and Barbara Boxer for senate, because they support education. Really?

A little history lesson for those not paying attention… When Jerry Brown took the leadership of our state, he inherited the number one state in education, the best state for starting and growing a business (filled with entrepreneurs), a surplus budget and the most popular place to move to in the country. When Jerry Brown left office he left us with a failing education system that has continued to decline. Higher taxes with so many entitlements that our budget has been in perpetual decay since, now approaching bankruptcy. Businesses and citizens are leaving California in droves. Boxer and Feinstein have combined for the highest tax and spend policies of any state, yet the money that has gone to education has been largely ineffective.

Truth be told, California now has the highest illiteracy rate in the nation. Our state is close to bankruptcy and we have some of the highest tax rates. It all started with Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer. At least we still have great weather.

Bank Of America is Taking My House

Like many of you I am struggling with the economy and, in particular, with keeping my home. I am a school teacher in a public school with a wife and three elementary age children. Furlough days and salary cuts combined with the economy and the collapse of the housing market have put me in a situation where I can no longer afford my mortgage payment.

Fortunately, there is a home loan modification program for which I qualify. Unfortunately Bank of America home loans is so caught up in inefficiency and corruption that they are not completing the process. A year ago I was current on my mortgage, I had a credit score in the 700’s and no other debt than my home and a car payment. I saw the writing on the wall and applied for the Making Homes Affordable program. I was told I qualified and given a trial payment to make. Each month I paid my trial payment and was told that my loan was in the review process until April when I was told that no application had ever been filed. I was re-entered into the process and given a new trial payment which I have been making. Last week I was told that I was no longer in the program because I had declined their offer. However, I never received an offer. Now I have an appeal that is pending and then it will go back into the review process.

This entire process was supposed to take 30 to 90 days (depending on which operator answers that question) and it has been almost a year. Meanwhile my credit score has plummeted and my mortgage is in default. At the very least, B of A in inefficient and disorganized, but they may be dishonest, corrupt and fraudulent. At the very least, B of A in inefficient and disorganized, but they may be dishonest, corrupt and fraudulent.

Truth be told, I already knew that about Bank of America and I did not apply for a home loan with them, but theybought my loan from another lender, so here I am. I told them they can have my house and it can sit with the other half-dozen homes on my block that have been foreclosed on that the lenders can’t sell. I hope they don’t really want it.

What did you do on your summer vacation?

For the past 13 years I have taught summer school each summer. I always hoped that someday I would not have to… that I would be in a financial situation allowing me to enjoy the summer with my family traveling or otherwise enjoying my time off. That’s not the way it went.

Elk Grove School District did not offer summer school this year because of budget cuts. Teachers’ salaries have been cut and furlough days are mandated. We have lost all of our pre-service days and we will have an additional number of days that we are being forced to take instruction away from students.

Apparently the President believes throwing more money at it will solve the problem. Another bail-out plan to “save jobs” will send money to school districts to hire back laid off teachers. It’s yet to be seen if this is a long-term fix or a band-aid, but it should be noted that none of the other bail-out plans have had the desired effect.

I spent my summer trying to sell granite and designing web pages and I have no intention of spending more than a few hours at school getting ready for the new year. It’s a feeble effort, but, truth be told, I know that the expectation is that teachers will do what they do to help students because we care and we will do it without being paid. We will teach the same with less prep time and less instructional time. I hate being taken advantage of.

Primary Decisions

With the primary fast approaching, I have finally decided who to support. I have listened to the ads and to the candidate’s rhetoric and I have come to the conclusion that the best choice for California is Meg Whitman. Poizners ads are far from truthful and he has chosen several out of context sound bites in an effort to portray Whitman as something other than she is. Our economy is a mess and Whitman knows how to run a successful company (eBay seems to be doing OK). I have also chosen to support her “team,” those with whom she would like to work. So here it is:

Governor: Meg Whitman

Lt. Governor: Abel Maldonado

Atty. General: John Eastman

Insurance Comm.: Mike Villines

Controller: Tony Strickland

Sec. of State: Damon Dunn

US Senator: Carly Fiorina

US Rep: Dan Lungren (dist 3)

Assembly: Jack Sieglock (dist 10)

County Central Committee: Tony Andrade (dist 5)

Board of Equalization: George Runner (dist 2)

I’d also like to put in a plug for Jim Cooper as sheriff. I know Jim, but I know his daughter well from coaching Sheldon softball. Here is what I know about good kids… they come from good parents and Jim’s daughter is a good kid. I can’t give a higher recommendation than that.

Truth be told, I think we should elect only candidates who are not currently in office and that is how I am voting, with very few exceptions. Fire em all! Let’s start over.

The Government’s First Responsibility…

is to protect its citizens from foreign invasion. As most of you are probably aware, Arizona is the first state to pass a state law requiring the enforcement of federal immigration law. While those on the left cry “unconstitutional” many more centrist Republicans are jumping on the bandwagon in an effort to gain some (or at least avoid losing any) votes in the November elections.

Here are some facts. People who come into the country illegally are criminals. They break the law by coming here illegally. People who break one law are many times more likely to break other laws. DUIs, hit and run car accidents, thefts, and violent crimes are committed at significantly higher rates by those who have broken the law by coming into our country illegally. People who are here illegally are willing to work off the books for lower wages than citizens or legal residents. This takes jobs and benefits away from people in our work force.

People on the left claim this is about race and racial profiling. Even in Arizona, where 60% of the people are in favor of the law, 50% have at least some concern that racial profiling may be a problem in it’s enforcement. If I go visit another country, I am required to carry with me proof that I am there legally. It has never even occurred to me that it has anything to do with race. I have a legal driver’s license that I have to carry with me all the time. If I am questioned by law enforcement and they deem it necessary for me to show my identification, I have to do so. It has nothing to do with my race. It is a simple matter to prove that I am legally in the country and that I am who I claim to be.

California wants to declare war on Arizona. Texas and Utah are about to sign similar laws as the Arizona mandate, so I suppose California will declare war on them as well. Obviously California thinks it is still as popular as it used to be. Liberal spending and anti-American sentiment in California has destroyed the economy here and driven away businesses as well as residents. I suggest an opposing approach. If you have a business in California, move it to Arizona, Texas or Utah. If you are planning a family vacation, go spend your money in those states and avoid the high-priced California vacation spots. If you are thinking of moving, move to a state where they enforce the law and protect you from foreign invasion. If California wants to declare war on America, lets fight back. Liberal law-makers in California think they have all the power, but they only do as long as we let them. The rest of the nation could decimate California’s tourism industry and economy as a whole.

My wife just became a citizen. She came here on a student visa and then got her legal residency and finally her citizenship. Yet many people are rewarded for circumventing that process and cutting to the front of the line for jobs. They have not respect for our nation or its laws. They simply want to steal opportunity from those that are already here.

Don’t be fooled by those who are claiming that passing laws against illegal immigration is unconstitutional. Just because they are loud, doesn’t mean they are right. Truth Be Told, not enforcing federal immigration law and refusing to protect our nation from this, or any, kind of foreign invasion is unconstitutional.

Empty Honors

The great mystery of the week: for what did President Obama receive the Nobel prize? According to the Nobel committee, it was for “pre-election rhetoric” rather than anything he has done since being sworn in. Well, that’s a relief!

Let’s examine exactly what the President has accomplished. US economy – worse. National debt – larger. War in Iraq – same. Afghanistan – worse. Olympics coming to Chicago – no. Health care reform – not yet. He has spent an inordinate amount of time apologizing to the world on behalf of the United States and he has appointed czars to help promote socialism.

So, according to the Nobel committee, you can be nominated for talking about things you would like to do and then not doing them. Based on that, every Miss America contestant from the beginning of time should receive a Nobel prize for desiring “world peace.” Hey, I want world peace too, do I get one?

Al Gore described Obama’s award as “well-deserved.” But then, Gore got his award for a mockumentary on climate change. There are at least nine major factual misrepresentaations in An Incionvenient Truth, but that didn’t bother the Nobel committee. So Gore is probably just pleased to have someone who has done even less be the recipient of the award; it somehow justifies his own.

One thing that Obama has done is to award Harvey Milk the medal of honor for his role as a gay rights activist. Which leads me to another empty honor. Governor Schwarzenegger has just signed a bill into law creating Harvey Milk Day on May 22 (a bill he previously vetoed). Both the medal and the holiday are based on Milk’s accomplishments. I thought I should list them…

He was gay

He was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors

He was killed

(cricket sounds here)

You might recall that George Moscone was killed the same day as Milk. Moscone did much more for San Francisco than Milk. In fact, although the movie depicts Milk as a vocal activists, he was not. He was not killed because he was gay, so even his “martyrdom” is a fabrication. He was killed because Dan White was mad that he could not get his job back after he retired. So White killed the man who took his job (Milk) and the man in charge (Moscone). The movie depicts the whole thing differently, but movies can earn honors for people that they don’t deserve (reference Al Gore, above).

All three of these honors were given because of who the recipients are (or appear to be), not because of what they have done. In fact, none of them have actually done anything.

Truth be told, giving honors to people for who they are rather than what they have done does not honor them, rather it dishonors the honor and all those who have previously received them.

California Education – Can You Buy Results?

Last week our district superintendent addressed our site concerning the current budget situation and how it will affect education. He posed an interesting question: “How is it that the 8th largest economy in the world ranks below the territories in education spending?”

Although it doesn’t change the point that was being made, some corrections to the facts should be pointed out. First, California ranks 11th as a world economy and we rank 47th among states in per student educational spending. More importantly, we rank 34th in SAT scores. This begs the question; does spending really have an effect on educational results? Even a quick glance at the two lists would indicate that the answer is no. The highest ranked state in SAT scores (Iowa) ranks near the middle in spending, while the state spending the most (Vermont) ranks 29th in SAT scores. Even in California, we rank higher in scores than many states spending more, but also lower than some spending less per student.

Due to the nature of our economy, it is unreasonable to even compare the cost of anything in California with that in other states directly. Everything in California costs more. It costs more to live in California, so it stands to reason that teacher salaries have to be more here than in other states. Construction costs are higher, as are maintenance and utilities. These are arguments (and there are others) for increased spending in California.

On the other hand, we have higher SAT scores than states spending more than we do per student. Does that mean that our programs are more effective than those states? Does that mean our teachers are better? Every state uses curriculum from only a few text book publishers. We all have the same material. We have the same or similar credentialing criteria. The biggest single factor seems to be the local economy.

Truth be told, the government has longago proven that the cost of something has little to do with its value. The local economy determines the time that parents have to spend with their children and that is the major determining factor of success.

Special Election… AGAIN?

I really would like to get away from writing about politics, but politicians keep doing really stupid things and too few people are taking notice. As a people, we just let them keep screwing things up for us. It seems more like we have given up than anything else.

I thought we elected these people to make laws, but all they can do is spend billions on special elections because they can’t make a decision. The special election next week is no exception. We are given six propositions, not so cleverly disguised as one, by giving them the names 1A through 1F, all of which are designed to give the legislature permission to take money previously designated by voters and us it in different ways to “balance” the current budget mess.

My initial thought is that we should boycott the election because it should not even be happening, but the tax and spend crowd would tthen pass all of these and our state would sink further into the abyss we are currently wallowing in. The money has already been spent, so we amy as well do the legislatures job for them… again.

1A creates a fund (from what?) that allows the government to spend however it sees fit and 1C, 1D, and 1E all allow money currently designated for specific purposes by voters to be used elsewhere. Even though some of these would take money from education, the CTA wants them all passed. That’s because the CTA does not care about education, it only wants more taxes for more government. 1B forces the government to pay back the money it has taken from schools this lat year. 1F prohibits pay increases for legislatures while the budget is in deficit. I think I will vote yes on 1B and F.

Truth be told, the legislature put all of these on the ballot because they are incapable of doing their jobs within the confines of the state constitution and the will of the voters so now they want a panicked voting public to give them permission to spend money however they want. Isn’t that what got us into this mess in the first place?

Lying Liars and the Lies They Lie

“I was trying to save the rabbit.” Jimmy Carter

“I did not have sex with that woman.” Bill Clinton

“I did not bow to the Saudi King.” Barack Obama

Not to claim that the right does not ever lie, but it seems to this observer that the left tells obvious lies and does not seem to care. Here we have a sitting president, bowing to a foreign dignitary and denying it when everyone has seen it. We could discuss the lies and why they lie, but no one really knows. It could be that they think the people are so ignorant that we won’t notice or that we just won’t care. Hillary Clinton did the same thing by telling different groups different things, as if no one else would hear about it. It lost her the nomination. Of course, no one lies like Joe Biden. He says things that are easily disproved and doesn’t seem to care. The other day I was watching a baseball game where he kept trying to say that he played college baseball (although he kept interrupting himself so he never actually finished it). He kept talking, during the campaign, about a coffee shop that he “hangs out in” that has been closed for 30 years. There are many examples, but who cares… he is only the vice president and no one minds if that is an empty suit.

I am more concerned that our president is bowing to a foreign king. He did not bow to the Queen of England. My opinion is that President Obama believes that the way to overcome the “arrogant reputation” the U.S. has with nations who do not like us is to become subservient to them. In actuality, the Muslim world, in particular, sees this as a form of surrender and a sign of weakness. Notice that the king did not return the bow, which is an acceptance of Obama’s subservience (surrender), rather than a mutual greeting.

Truth Be Told, as Americans, we probably have a certain confidence that may be taken as arrogance by others. It comes from nearly 2 and a half centuries of trying to solve the world’s problems. Sure, we make mistakes, but we have always had good intentions. Most of the time we are successful. Our nation is the most prosperous and the most willing to help in the world. Perhaps some confidence, if not arrogance, has been earned. The key is to balance that with humility, but don’t confuse humility with subservience and don’t believe that bowing to another leader earns their respect. Lying doesn’t do it either.