Monday, February 24, 2014

Arizona Senator Rejects Common Core Standards Because Math Has Letters

I'd just like to preface this by reminding everyone that these are the kind of people who have a role in shaping what your children will be learning in school:

PHOENIX — Ignoring pleas from business leaders, the Senate Education Committee voted 6-3 along party lines Thursday to bar Arizona from implementing the Common Core standards the state adopted four years ago.

Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson, who championed SB 1310, said he believes the concept of some nationally recognized standards started out as a “pretty admirable pursuit by the private sector and governors.”

“It got hijacked by Washington, by the federal government,” said Melvin, a candidate for governor, and “as a conservative Reagan Republican I’m suspect about the U.S. Department of Education in general, but also any standards that are coming out of that department.”

Melvin’s comments led Sen. David Bradley, D-Tucson, to ask him whether he’s actually read the Common Core standards, which have been adopted by 45 states.
“I’ve been exposed to them,” Melvin responded.

Pressed by Bradley for specifics, Melvin said he understands “some of the reading material is borderline pornographic.” And he said the program uses “fuzzy math,” substituting letters for numbers in some examples.
First off, "borderline pornographic"? I'm legitimately curious to see the material he's reading. But it's the second comment that's pure gold. The man is 69 years old and you would think that in all that time living on Earth he would have discovered algebra at some point. But for whatever reason, he hasn't, and like most conservatives, probably assumes this, like evolution and other things taught in high school that he doesn't understand, is another liberal conspiracy. Mixing numbers and letters and messing with the natural order of things? Not if Sen. Al Melvin has anything to say about it!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

In A Mere Four Years, Joe The Plunger Goes From Aspriring Job Creator To Union Thug

Per Greg Sargent:

A lot of folks are having fun with the news that “Joe the Plumber,” the Ohio man who famously tangled with Obama over his “spread the wealth” comment back in 2008, has now gotten himself a union job with Chrysler Group LLC. Ever since that encounter with Obama, Joe has enjoyed years of national recognition as the leading regular-guy critic of Obama’s penchant for seizing people’s hard earned money and giving it away to others.
 And it seems poor ole' Joe's having trouble making friends:

As the Toledo Blade reports, Joe the Plumber — a.k.a. Samuel Wurzelbacher — says he was required to join the United Auto Workers, now that he works for a union shop, and claims he’s been called a “Tea Bagger” by at least one pro-union co-worker. “I’m a Republican who was cast into the limelight for having the temerity to confront Barack Obama on the question of redistributing wealth,” Joe says. “But I’m a working man, and I’m working.”
 But arguably the best part is this:

The union angle is fun, but it’s worth noting another interesting and amusing irony to this tale. It appears plausible that Joe the Plumber may not have gotten this auto job if it weren’t for the hated bailout of the auto industry, which was first championed by George W. Bush and then became a leading symbol for years of Obama’s penchant for big-footed government intervention in the private market.

Sean McAlinden, who has studied the auto-bailout as the chief economist for the non-profit Center for Automotive Research, tells me it’s likely Joe’s new job is at one of two Chrysler plants currently operating in Toledo, Ohio, Joe’s home town. (I’ve emailed Joe asking for more info.)

“He wouldn’t have gotten a job in Toledo if Chrysler hadn’t been bailed out,” McAlinden tells me. “The unemployment rate in Toledo would have been at 15 percent.”
 Yes, Joe spent the past four years railing against Obama's job killing policies, only to wind up working at a place that wouldn't be around were it not for said job killing policies.

But as amusing as all this is, I have to say I'm honestly surprised Joe is in the position that he is. Remember, this guy was practically deified by the Right for his valiant defense of the rich as a non-rich person, against the Marxist would be tyrant. You would think the guy would be set for life via wingnut welfare. Either getting hired as a Fox News contributor, getting his own radio show, or going on book tours and speaking engagements, you would think he'd never have to worry about relying on conventional work ever again. It's gotta sting quite a bit to realize that Joe is a big enough loser that that he fails to meet even the Right Wing media apparatus' abyssmlaly low standards.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Eric Bolling Supports A Public Option?

Do these clowns understand what side they're even supposed to be on anymore?


Fox News host and conservative firebrand Eric Bolling proposed a health care alternative that bears striking resemblance to the public option, a government-issued insurance program that was originally considered as part of the health care reform law that was the target of his network.

On the February 11 edition of Fox's The Five, Bolling reacted to news that the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate was being delayed for some businesses by suggesting Republicans replace the ACA's mandate to purchase insurance with an optional government-issued alternative. Bolling said this plan would have the benefit of driving "all the prices down" in the health care market, and expressed puzzlement about "why the Republicans don't do this".
Are you fricken kidding me, Eric? The Republicans don't support a public option for insurance because people like you would tear them to shreds if they ever attempted such a thing.  Let us remind everyone that back during the HCR debate, the public option was removed from the final bill in the hopes of attracting Republican votes. As we all know by now, that didn't help whatsoever and the Republicans wound up voting against a vastly more conservative plan, so why in the hell would they now support something to the left of Obamacare?

Michele Bachmann: Pray The Obamacare Away

Yeah, good luck with that:

That's why you saw the House of Representatives pass my bill, the full repeal of Obamacare last week, and that's why I have renewed confidence that we can see this bill pass in the Senate and I think the President will ultimately be forced to repudiate his own signature piece of legislation because the American people will demand it.

And I think before his second term is over, we're going to see a miracle before our eyes, I believe God is going to answer our prayers and we'll be freed from the yoke of Obamacare. I believe that's going to happen and we saw step one last week with the repeal of Obamacare in the House. We have two more steps. We serve a mighty God and I believe it can happen.

I just have to ask: How is this supposed to work exactly? If prayer worked towards stopping Obamacare, wouldn't it never have been passed to begin with? And how does this explain the 2012 election? Does that mean God supports Obamacare? Or that it was God's punishment for the American people being insufficiently Christian?  Maybe the people who prayed for Obamacare to remain cancelled out the people who prayed for it to be repealed?

All that aside, this is one idea from the Righties I can totally support. I'm sure everyone would agree that things would be better if Bachmann and her ilk spent more of their time praying and less time trying to enact actual policy effecting people's lives.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wall Street Journal Columnist Suggests Lowering Minimum Wage To $5/hr.

The Wall Street Journal opinion section churns out another winning article. Some clod by the name of Robert G. Strayton came up with a genius idea to help the filthy poors: lower the minimum wage to $5/hr. Let's hear Rob's pitch:


As a volunteer interviewer of the poor at a religious charitable organization in southwest Florida, I have come to believe that the most effective step we can take to ameliorate poverty, kick-start job growth and invigorate hope in every social stratum is to experiment with a $5 minimum wage. 

A $5 wage will put money and hope into the lives of our poor in immediate, powerful and enduring ways. For all its $4 trillion stimulus, mere nickels of quantitative-easing funding "trickled down" to where the poor reside. But a $5 minimum wage will "trickle up," directly from employer to employed—creating millions of jobs rapidly and putting them within reach of huge numbers of the poor. 
Three things. 1)What the hell is a "volunteer interviewer for the poor"? 2) This is an unbelievably stupid idea. 3) How in the name of Jay Gould does lowering the minimum wage "trickle up directrly from employer to employed"? You're giving the employer the ability to pay workers less, so wouldn't this in fact, trickle down (you know, like every single right-wing policy since the 1980s)?

How would such a program operate? At the government level, with as little red-tape as possible, although government must protect current workers by guaranteeing they will not be subject to any wage lower than the one they now earn.
At the employer level, hiring $5-per-hour personnel must be balanced against the risk inherent in the often-inexperienced people such a wage attracts. As an incentive, the IRS can allow a 50% tax deduction on all wages paid at the $5 level during a test period. Facing workforce mobility issues (prospective employees without cars, bikes or gas money), employers can offer transportation, water, food and necessary material services for which they may also claim tax deductions. As for the workers, they will receive gross-equals-net fully spendable pay at the end of each work period. 

 Not sure how in Hades the bolded is supposed to work. Presumably employers could just fire their current workers who make minimum wage and hire new workers at the new minimum wage.

 The best part of this piece however, is the following:

You'd think no one can value making $5 an hour. But for those in poverty, a primal need is immediate and reliable access to an income of one's own. When one has nothing, anything becomes priceless. Watch the expression on the face of a poor person when you provide him or her with $2, $3 or $5 to put gas in a neighbor's borrowed car so he can bring free groceries, clothing, linens, housewares or furnishings from our organization back home. You'll see then the value of such a "trivial" wage.

Here you have someone who, in all likelihood, is well off financially, who will most likely never be in a position that would cause him to struggle to make rent or pay for his next meal, making the argument that paying people less than what they could be making right now, is not a heinous and manipulative act, but in fact, an altruistic one! People like Strayton have convinced themselves that they in fact, are the true protectors of the poor.

To all conservative media, more articles like this, please.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Ann Coulter's Story of Woman Dying Because of Obamacare Raises Many Questions

On a weekend episode of Fox and Friends, Ann Coulter shared a tragic tale that was supposedly the result of Obamacare. 
 On Fox & Friends weekend edition, conservative pundit Ann Coulter told cohost Tucker Carlson that her friend’s sister had passed away over the weekend after putting off medical attention because she had lost her insurance coverage under Obamacare.

“This does have real world consequences: I got up the other morning and got an email from a friend saying, ‘My sister almost died because of Obamacare,’” Coulter said.

Coulter said the friend’s sister was kicked off her insurance when Blue Shield pulled out of California, put off going to emergency room despite having a fever because she didn’t have insurance, until she went into septic shock on Thursday. Over the weekend, the friend passed away.
That is indeed a tragedy, and something that no one should have to go through. But I would like to ask a few questions.

First off, I don't know what Ann's talking about with her comment about Blue Shield pulling out of California. I live in California, and one of my co-workers told me recently he had insurance through Blue Shield. Their website still seems to be up, and they also happen to be among the insurers who appear on the California exchanges:






I'll give Ann the benefit of the doubt and offer up the possibility that she meant some other insurance company.

Second, I would like to know what the sister's financial situation was. I would be surprised if she wasn't eligible for cheaper insurance through the exchange. I also wouldn't be surprised if she decided to forgo the exchange because people like Ann told her to do so.

Third, Ann implied she had sepsis, so if her insurance was good enough to cover treatment, which could get pretty pricey for something like sepsis, I would be shocked that it would get cancelled due to the ACA for being a junk plan. I'm not saying there might not have been other reasons that it got cancelled, only that it would be surprising if that was the case. But even if it was cancelled, you would think she would still get insurance considering her condition.

Finally, perhaps the most important point that Ann unintentionally made. The victim in question reached the point she did because her only option left was to go to the emergency room. But wasn't the ER the conservative alternative to universal health care for the past twenty years? George W. Bush supported it, as did the last Republican presidential nominee.  It should be clear to anyone by now that the ER cannot be a replacement for proper health care.

To be fair to Ann, it seems she's not a fan of the ER either, though her reasons are a tad different compared to the left.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Religious Right Loses Ground With New Textbook Review Rules From Texas Board of Education

Definitely a step in the right direction:

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Board of Education imposed tighter rules Friday on the citizen review panels that scrutinize proposed textbooks, potentially softening fights over evolution, religion's role in U.S. history and other ideological matters that have long seeped into what students learn in school.

Tension over the issue has been building for years in the country's second most populous state, where the textbook market is so large that changes can affect the industry nationwide. Critics complain that a few activists with religious or political objections have too much power to shape what the state's more than 5 million public school students are taught.
 ...
Among the changes approved Friday was a mandate that teachers or professors be given priority for serving on the textbook review panels for subjects in their areas of expertise. They also enable the board to appoint outside experts to check objections raised by review panels and ensure they are based on fact, not ideology.

"It won't eliminate politics, but it will make it where it's a more informed process," said Thomas Ratliff, a Republican board member who pushed for the changes, which he said "force us to find qualified people, leave them alone, and let them do their jobs."
The new rules were unanimously approved.
 Hopefully this'll keep Creationist and other Bible-thumping shenanigans to a minimum.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Board of Education imposed tighter rules Friday on the citizen review panels that scrutinize proposed textbooks, potentially softening fights over evolution, religion's role in U.S. history and other ideological matters that have long seeped into what students learn in school.
Tension over the issue has been building for years in the country's second most populous state, where the textbook market is so large that changes can affect the industry nationwide. Critics complain that a few activists with religious or political objections have too much power to shape what the state's more than 5 million public school students are taught.
The 15-member education board approves textbooks for school districts to use, but objections raised by reviewers can influence its decisions. The volunteer review panels are often dominated by social conservatives who want more skepticism about evolution included in science textbooks, arguing that a higher power helped create the universe.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20140131_ap_9823b53d99594df6ad461cf6833625df.html#CHIiBZDFCVJbjcfH.99
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Board of Education imposed tighter rules Friday on the citizen review panels that scrutinize proposed textbooks, potentially softening fights over evolution, religion's role in U.S. history and other ideological matters that have long seeped into what students learn in school.
Tension over the issue has been building for years in the country's second most populous state, where the textbook market is so large that changes can affect the industry nationwide. Critics complain that a few activists with religious or political objections have too much power to shape what the state's more than 5 million public school students are taught.
The 15-member education board approves textbooks for school districts to use, but objections raised by reviewers can influence its decisions. The volunteer review panels are often dominated by social conservatives who want more skepticism about evolution included in science textbooks, arguing that a higher power helped create the universe.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20140131_ap_9823b53d99594df6ad461cf6833625df.html#CHIiBZDFCVJbjcfH.99
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Board of Education imposed tighter rules Friday on the citizen review panels that scrutinize proposed textbooks, potentially softening fights over evolution, religion's role in U.S. history and other ideological matters that have long seeped into what students learn in school.
Tension over the issue has been building for years in the country's second most populous state, where the textbook market is so large that changes can affect the industry nationwide. Critics complain that a few activists with religious or political objections have too much power to shape what the state's more than 5 million public school students are taught.
The 15-member education board approves textbooks for school districts to use, but objections raised by reviewers can influence its decisions. The volunteer review panels are often dominated by social conservatives who want more skepticism about evolution included in science textbooks, arguing that a higher power helped create the universe.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20140131_ap_9823b53d99594df6ad461cf6833625df.html#CHIiBZDFCVJbjcfH.99

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