sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Plea for Help?

I find it odd that California Governor, Jerry Brown, is asking for the federal government for help with global warming in light of the State Government's general defiance of federal law and the numerous threats to secede from the Union. 

It's very unlikely that the federal government will spend one thin dime on the train to nowhere project that is a pork-barrel favorite of California's Democrat caucus. Had Hillary won, there would have been borrowed money pouring in like the water that is pouring out of the damaged Oroville dam at the moment. 

How times have changed.
(Breitbart) On Friday, California Governor Jerry Brown sought federal help from President Trump by asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to declare “a major disaster” in California in light of the damage done by recent storms. 
The East Bay Times reports: “Brown formally requested the declaration for the series of storms striking the state between Jan. 3 and Jan. 12.” He noted that “heavy rains, winds and snow, particularly in Northern California, left eight people dead and knocked out power to an estimated 1 million Californian homes and businesses.” 
Brown’s request comes as Gov. Brown has challenged the Trump administration on climate change, immigration, Obamacare, and other issues. 
Other Democrat officials in California have been open about their refusal to comply with Trump administration orders regarding illegal immigration. San Francisco’s police chief, sheriff, and mayor all made clear they would not enforce Trump’s immigration order, long before the order was taken to court. The San Francisco Police Department went so far as to cut ties with an FBI counter-terrorism task force in order to prevent officers from being involved in action that targeted illegals
And California’s highest law enforcement agent, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, has been very open about his determination to fight Trump’s policies as part of the larger effort to retain sanctuary policies that harbor illegal aliens in the state.

...But Gov. Brown would like some federal funds to help out in the short term, so he is asking the Trump administration for help.
However, you know that as soon as California has the money, the attacks against President Trump will resume with an even more vicious fervor.  

Choice

Getting Secretary DeVos through the US Senate's confirmation process and into her present position as Secretary of Education was a grind. The teachers unions pay politicians a lot of money to get their way and DeVos was not their pick.

America has found itself in a situation where big Washington DC interests such as education money (not particularly education) matters. Sec. DeVos has repeatedly stressed that education policy is better made at the state and local level, which, if she sticks to her word, should allay any rational concern that we will see expansive federal overreach into education. Candidate Trump stressed that education was a state and local matter and that block grants need to be made to states rather than dictating policy from the Washington Beltway.
(OC Register) The hyperpoliticized teachers unions can’t resist appealing to manufactured fear over DeVos to advance their own agenda. The California Teachers Association and California Federation of Teachers, for example, are asking Californians to take a pledge in support of “the public education all California’s students deserve.” According to the unions, attaining public education that students deserve requires one to support sanctuary cities and the belief that “social justice for all begins with a quality, free public education,” whatever that means.
Whatever education is, it isn't free. Taxpayers pump billions into education and the unions want to insure that it's spent in a way that benefits THEM. If the kids win too, that's nice, but it's by no means the priority. Living in California, there is a multi-billion dollar bond measure for education every two years to "bring schools up to acceptable standards". In addition to that, counties raise money earmarked for education with increased sales tax. And yet less than half of California students met statewide reading and math standards last year, with just 48 percent meeting or exceeding reading standards and only 37 percent doing the same in mathematics. Minority and low-income students fare even worse.

When my children were in high school I taught a voluntary course at night on the subject of American history. The kids didn't get the education during the day and it was offered. I was not paid. There was standing room only after the first two or three classes and the word got out. Imagine that. High school students showing up at 7 pm to take a history class without being forced to attend. When my daughter graduated from university and became a teacher herself, I showed up as a guest instructor. I don't have a problem doing any of that. It's a privilege. HOWEVER, why was it necessary?

In an environment of continually bloated and growing school budgets, massive teacher pension obligations and bond fund after bond fund - one would think that the education would be first rate. But it's not. Teachers unions cower in fear with the prospect of a focus on accountability, competition and choice in education. Parents want the best for their children and that's what they deserve.

Over the next four years, the strident teachers union, no doubt accompanied by hired thugs, will try to shout down choice. But if one is interested in social justice, what's wrong with offering choice to everyone?


School Lunch - I am a proponent of quality school lunches. If the taxpayers wear that yoke, it's ok by me. (see, my leftist tendencies are peeking out). The current school lunches are not something that you or I would eat. There is a solution. Hire parents who want the work to prepare and present school lunch to students. Handle the lunch issue locally. Parents overseeing quality would add a different paradigm.

That seems disarmingly simple, but it's not because the parents aren't part of the union. Union rules require a professional, career, pensioned person paid at least triple what you could hire a parent for. 

Maybe the school lunch disaster will be fixed by President Trump, Sec. DeVos and a new look at education too?


The Arab World

For your Sunday edification, I have chosen three relatively short YouTube videos. The first two from Prager U discuss the ramifications of the acrimony that the Arab world has for Israel and the general formation of ISIS, respectively. The third is Vladimir Putin's understanding of what led ISIS to be what it is today and who propelled it. I think that all three are on point and recommend them.

A view of the region and Israel


And what about ISIS?


Putin on the creation of ISIS.