Posts for July, 2011
The 4th of July - Independence Day - is the most significant date in the history of the United States - and it is a national holiday for good reason. We - Americans - are celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence and our freedom from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776. Today we continue to enjoy the liberties that the 4th of July has come to symbolize in our daily lives.
Celebrations on the fourth go hand-in-hand with fireworks, picnics and....parades! Many towns, villages, and cities across the United States will host such processions in their streets. Parades that honor our nation and promote patriotism - to be enjoyed by all....or not?
A recent study by two assistant professors at Harvard University concluded that the Fourth of July parades are "right-wing." They only serve to promote patriotism, which Republicans seem to appreciate significantly more than their Democratic counterparts. The Harvard study concluded that those who attend 4th of July parades share the following traits:
- When (attending a 4th of July parade) done before the age of 18, it increases the likelihood of a youth identifying as a Republican by at least 2 percent.
- It raises the likelihood that parade watchers will vote for a Republican candidate by 4 percent.
- It boosts the likelihood a reveler will vote by about 1 percent and increases the chances they'll make a political contribution by 3 percent.
Attending 4th of July parades has been found to be of no help to Democrats, much to the chagrin of Democratic politicians who march in them. For the Dems, the parades appear to be a waste of time. The Republicans turn out in droves, celebrating patriotism and the birth of our nation. Yet, the celebration apparently falls flat - according to this study - for those of the left - or Democratic - side of the political aisle. The study even concludes that if people wish to celebrate the Fourth of July in a real super patriotic way - they should head to Republican areas.
You can read all about the study at: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/dyanagi/Research/FourthOfJuly.pdf
This leads to the question, what type of parades DO benefit Dems? What types of parades do Dems and liberals support? Protests against taking away entitlements? Anti-war marches? Diversity parades? Walks in favor of socialism? Hikes for the rights of illegal aliens? Marches against private successful businesses? Save the Whales processions?
As for the Harvard study - no surprise there. When the President of the United States own wife - Michelle Obama - isn't proud of her own country - until her hubby becomes a candidate for office, what else can we expect? And when the President himself fulfills the self-appointed role as the Apologizer-In-Chief to the rest of the world - criticizing the very country he was elected to represent, well, should we be shocked? No.
It is really a sad day for America and Americans when all of us cannot be proud, patriotic, and supportive of the freedoms we have and the country we live in. To say that Fourth of July parades are "right-wing" just has to be absurd!!!
That would be like school children not including the words "under God" when they recite the Pledge of Allegiance....or not allowing firefighters to wear the American flag on their uniforms.... or not allowing the National Anthem to be sung before sporting events....or not allowing high school students to wear t-shirts with the American flag on them, cuz it might offend those celebrating Cinco De Mayo.... or not allowing Old Glory to wave...
Hmmmm......on second thought.....
Have a happy and safe 4th of July - no matter what your political persuasion! Just remember - freedom isn't free and America is STILL the greatest country on the face of the earth - no matter that a few Americans appear to disagree!!!
Excellent video, forwarded on to me from a reader who wishes to remain anonymous.
Barry Obama sure could abide by his own statement at the end: "Leaders at a certain point rise to the occasion. Leaders are gonna lead." Obama's had almost three years now. We haven't seen anything remotely resembling "leadership" coming out of the Obama White House. Ask yourself exactly what has Obama done while in office that warrants being re-elected.
Actions DO speak louder than words, Mr. President.
Someone needs to point out to Obama that being on the perpetual campaign trail doesn't count as "leadership"...
So much for all those "shovel-ready" jobs created by spending billions of tax dollars to fund those Generational Theft Acts - more commonly referred to as "stimulus bills." (Thanks, Obama!) Guess we could say that the rhetoric coming out of the White House regarding jobs and the economy is what is really "shovel-ready!"
In the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel today (7/9/11) the headline on the front page reads: "U.S. Unemployment rises to 9.2% - Job growth meager in May, nonexistent in June." After reading the entire lengthy article, guess what was missing? One name: Obama.
Now imagine if national unemployment, rather than improving, was getting worse - as it is - and Bush was President. Our nation is now at 9.2% unemployment with no end in sight. Think the press would have not mentioned President Bush in such an article? Be honest. You know that they would have - and not just once, but repeatedly - pointing the finger of blame directly at Bush for the situation. Yet, Obama once again gets a free pass.
Even though Presidents themselves cannot create jobs out of thin air across the United States, the policies and legislation they help craft CAN and DOES contribute to the jobs and economic outlook in the country. Right now, the policies coming out of the Obama White House have had a very detrimental effect on jobs. From The New York Post (6/3/11) by Charles Gasparino:
What is really disheartening is an article that appears later in the Journal/Sentinel (main section/pg. 4A) from the Associated Press: "Jobs report a goad to debt talks - unemployment up as deadline creeps nearer." Seems President Obama is using the recent dismal job report - with unemployment at 9.2% - to "prod Congress toward a swift agreement on deficits and the national debt." And we know what that means - the Democrats want to raise taxes and fight any spending reductions. The House Democratic Caucus chairman, John Larson of Connecticut, even stated: "You can't cut your way to prosperity." Oh really? Do the Dems and Obama really think one can "spend their way to prosperity?" by continuing on the same destructive path that the Democratic Party has lived by: raising taxes and spending money the country doesn't have?
Remember years ago when then-President Bill Clinton borrowed Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson's W-2 Welfare Reform Plan? Maybe President Obama needs to borrow current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's budget plan. After all, Walker finally has put Wisconsin back on track for becoming fiscally sound and prosperous. Isn't' that what the politicians at the national level should be aspiring to do?
A story that ran on Fox 6 News concluded that every school district in the state of Wisconsin - except for Milwaukee Public Schools - has benefited from Governor Walker's Budget Repair Bill:
Well worth watching:
School districts are in better financial shape than ever before. Many that were fearing the loss of 5.5% in revenue per pupil have found that the Walker Budget Repair Bill - which required teachers pay 5.8% towards their own pensions and at least 12.6% for their own health care premiums - has saved districts so much money that NOTHING needs to be cut. Class sizes are not increasing. Jobs are not being lost. Specials - like music and art - will remain. Guess the sky isn't falling and the world isn't coming to an end. Whodathunkit?
Even those school districts that rushed to sign contracts before the budget repair bill became law are seeing positive results from the Walker bill and are in good financial shape.
Of course, there is one exception - the Milwaukee Public Schools system. (Is anyone surprised?) MPS sealed its own fate by negotiating and signing contracts prior to Walker's election. Now MPS Superintendent Gregory Thorton finds his school system in a major financial hole - to the tune of $82 million dollars. In order to help solve this problem, Thorton has gone back to the MPS union and asked them to re-negotiate part of their contract - and have teachers pay the minimum 5.8% towards their own pensions. Sounds reasonable, right? And this little contribution on the part of teachers would have saved 200 teachers jobs that are now on the line in the Milwaukee Public School system.
The union said "no."
Remember a WEAC ad that ran on television not long ago - it stated something like "great schools benefit everyone." Based on the MPS union mentality - allowing teachers to lose their jobs rather than require they pay a very small percentage of their salary towards THEIR OWN pensions - perhaps a more honest slogan for WEAC and the MPS union may be: "Benefits are more important than great schools."
It will be very interesting in the months to come to see how many teachers opt out of paying union dues. After all, if a union is willing to sacrifice the careers of 200 of their own members simply to continue forcing taxpayers to fund 100% of their own pension plans, who would want to belong to an organization like that?
"As professional educators, we understand the needs of our students and their families. We know from experience what it takes to improve achievement. When it comes to quality public schools in our city, we are the experts."
No comment needed on that statement. The irony is priceless.
Our entire state does owe Governor Walker and the Republicans in Madison a big thank-you and round of applause for doing the right thing! Improving the state's fiscal outlook AND maintaining the quality of the public school systems - all except for one - that were able to utilize the tools included in the Budget Repair Bill.
More bad news for the anti-Walker crowd. Seems that the state of Wisconsin added over 12,000 private sector jobs during the month of June - an incredible increase and the largest single-month gain since eight years ago.
Governor Walker is on a roll!
First, Walker's Budget Repair Bill is proving to the naysayers that the educational system in Wisconsin would not be destroyed as the unions and lefties claimed. Remember all the dire predictions of doom and gloom? We also heard over and over how Walker hates teachers...Walker hates kids...Walker hates public education....blah blah blah. Ad nauseum. The protests in Madison were ground zero for the anti-Walker crowds to scream for all to hear how horrible and evil Walker was!
And when it came down to it, none of it was true.
The exact opposite. School districts throughout our state are in better financial shape than many ever would have realized. Schools did not have to fire teachers (with the exceptions of two school systems that shot themselves in the foot signing contracts before Walker was even Governor), nor increase class sizes, nor cut many of the "specials," and things are looking good for the coming budget year. School boards now have the necessary tools needed to work out reasonable cost-saving measures and budgets for the present and the future.
Secondly, Voter ID has become a reality! Just think, Wisconsinites can now go to the polls confident that their votes are not being stolen by fraudulent means. Our votes WILL actually count. Honesty in elections! What a concept.
Third, Walker and the Republicans supported the U.S. Constitution - specifically the 2nd Amendment - that 48 states always have enjoyed. For whatever warped reasoning, Wisconsin citizens were always denied this right in the past. Not anymore. Responsible people who complete a gun safety course will now be allowed to conceal carry. No longer will the criminals and thugs in our state have a monopoly on being armed. We can actually have the ability to protect ourselves.
Now, back to the big news of the day.
Wisconsin IS indeed open for business. Adding 12,900 jobs is no small feat, although the media and Democrats are trying to downplay this huge coup for Walker. The jobs aren't good enough - they're "seasonal" (how they know this is unclear, and even if some of the 12,800 may be seasonal, they still are jobs, aren't they? Someone is still working and receiving a paycheck!) The media bias in this case is alive and well - wonder if the press would be trying to downplay this news if Doyle was still Governor??? Anyhow, Walker does deserve the credit. Across the country, unemployment is unchanged under Obama, and the recession marches onward. Yet, in Wisconsin, defying all the odds, 12,900 people found jobs!!!
Please click on : "State reports a gain of 12,900 private-sector jobs" from the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel (7/22/11) to read more.
Given that nationwide, only 18,000 private-sector jobs were created last month, Wisconsin accounts for 66% of that figure. The lone state of Wisconsin contributed the majority of new private-sector jobs across the country. Incredible. Walker and the Republicans in Madison deserve the credit. What they don't deserve are recall attempts by misguided unions and liberals intent on kicking people out of office simply because they don't like what the elected majority has accomplished.
Asa side note, maybe President Obama should pencil in a "jobs summit" on his calendar to discuss job creation with Governor Walker. He sure could learn a thing or two. Unlike Walker, Obama is perceived - with good reason - to be anti-business, with many private business owners afraid of him and his administration. This fear prohibits many private businesses from future plans for hiring or growth. Recently billionaire CEO Steve Wynn didn't hold back in bashing Obama for his economic policies, rules, and regulations which hinder private businesses from growth and success. Read more at: "Casino Magnate Steve Wynn trashes Obama" from CNN Money. Here's a few excerpts:
"I'm saying it bluntly, that this administration is the greatest wet blanket to business, and progress and job creation in my lifetime," Wynn said in response to a question about Las Vegas real estate.
"The guy [Obama] keeps making speeches about redistribution, and maybe we ought to do something to businesses that don't invest or hold too much money. We haven't heard that kind of talk except from pure socialists."
But Wynn said he could be doing even more if not for Obama. His company alone could add 10,000 jobs in Las Vegas, but he is "afraid to do anything in the current political environment in the United States."
"The business community in this country is frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the president of the United States," Wynn said.
But things won't improve, Wynn said, until Obama is out of the White House. "Until he's gone, everybody's going to be sitting on their thumbs," Wynn said.
Thankfully the same cannot be said about Governor Scott Walker. Business owners and companies are realizing this. What Walker and his administration have accomplished in a few short months is amazing. Walker has created a culture of common sense, fiscal responsibility, and optimism that has been lacking in our state for the last eight years. He has brought Wisconsin back from the brink of disaster. Look for more great things to come.
....Wisconsin IS open for business!
Following is a write-up by Senator Glenn Grothman, a Republican who represents the 20th District in Wisconsin. Grothman is also the current Republican Assistant Majority Leader in Madison. Senator Grothman was kind enough to give me permission to print his column (as well as any future information coming out of his office) re: collective bargaining. I hope you find it as interesting and informative as I did. Thank you, Senator Grothman!
"Collective Bargaining Repeal: the best thing that ever happened to Wisconsin schools" by Senator Glenn Grothman
The repeal of much of Wisconsin’s collective bargaining law with regard to many of Wisconsin’s public employees has not been adequately explained. This repeal will do more to improve the quality and lower the cost of Wisconsin government than anything else we’ve done. There are approximately 275,000 government employees in the state of Wisconsin. About 72,000 work for the state, 38,000 for cities and villages, 48,000 for counties, 10,500 (full time equivalent) for technical colleges, and 105,229 for schools. Only half of state employees are unionized, but almost all school employees are.
As you can see, the biggest impact will be on Wisconsin’s schools. Since my office has received the most complaints from school teachers, let’s look at how collective bargaining affects both the cost and quality of our schools.
Under current law, virtually all conditions of employment have to be spelled out in a collectively bargained agreement. Consequently, it is very difficult to remove underperforming school teachers. It may take years of documentation and thousands of dollars in attorney fees to fire a bad teacher. Is it right that two or three classes of second graders must endure a bad teacher while waiting for documentation to be collected? Just as damaging is the inability to motivate or change the mediocre teacher who isn’t bad enough to fire. Good superintendants are stymied when they try to improve a teacher who is doing just enough to get by.
While most teachers care about their students, some only “teach to the contract.” An elementary school teacher’s contract may require just seven hours and forty-five minutes a day in school. If the principal wants to have a meeting after school to discuss curriculum, or requests a meeting with parents of a troubled student, a teacher could say that this is not in the contract. Recall the recent flare-up when Fond du Lac teachers objected to having to work eight hour days.
Another problem affecting our schools’ quality is that payment for individual teachers is not based on merit but on a union negotiated pay schedule. A mediocre teacher with a master’s degree and additional college credits gets more money than a superior teacher who doesn’t have as many college credits. This is clearly unfair, and destroys healthy incentives that would encourage teachers to be more effective.
If enrollment drops, teachers must be let go. In practice, this means that collective bargaining causes the better teachers with less seniority to be laid off. If that’s not bad enough, a teacher who has never taught third grade may get to move ahead of a good third grade teacher because of union bumping rights. You also have to ask the union for permission to “share” a teacher with another school district if you want to give students more options. If you want to borrow another district’s teacher for a day to offer Mandarin Chinese, you must ask the union to sign off. The same could be true of offering new electives online for particularly gifted and talented students.
It has been well reported that, under collective bargaining, districts have been stuck with the teacher union insurance company which can cost $3,000 or more per teacher than a plan that is virtually identical to that which another company is willing to provide. Switching to Health Savings Accounts like the private sector is out of the question.
The teachers union must agree to on changes in the schedule. If a school district wants to set their schedule so that it is the same as private schools to save money on school busing, the union must sign off.
A teacher may be entitled to thirteen paid personal days. All this for employees who may only be required to work 190 days a year in the first place. There is also the cost of time spent negotiating seventy page contracts.
Clearly, collective bargaining penalizes schools and students, costs an exorbitant amount of money, and lowers the quality of education in Wisconsin. The same story could be told for tech schools, cities, counties, and the state. Tech schools may have to pay the same amount for teachers in very different fields. If such a school needs to offer a good salary to attract talented teachers for dental hygiene or tool and die, that’s understandable. Must Milwaukee Area Technical College, however, pay well over $100,000 to teach someone how to pass their GED? The compensatory problems that are a problem in our K-12 system hurt our tech schools, in my opinion, even more.
Counties or cities may want more flexibility to transfer employees between departments. Why should a local government not be able to switch people from roads to parks? Racine County was sued by the union for using jail inmates to do landscape work on medians. Volunteers have been unable to help out because of union contracts.
The removal of collective bargaining in prisons will also save money. Under collective bargaining, guards could call in sick on first shift and work overtime on second shift. Similar to counties, you could not shuttle people back and forth between job descriptions. If a prisoner must go to the hospital, the prison may have to send a transporter who is on overtime to take the prisoner to the hospital rather than an extra prison guard who is not in the prison at that time.
Franklin Roosevelt originally said that unions and government do not mix. After reviewing some union contracts, I can see why. Jimmy Carter, a Democrat backed by a Democratic Congress, greatly reduced collective bargaining for federal employees via the Civil Service Reform Act. Even President Obama has not tried to restore these rights. Massachusetts Democrats recently passed a bill divesting government employees of the power to collectively bargain most health-care benefits.
While we did not eliminate collective bargaining, we certainly reduced its scope in Wisconsin. As a direct result, the cost savings are significant at all levels of government. (Cost savings to schools from having school employees pay a small part of their health insurance and pension costs more than offset the mild reduction in education funding.) But, the most important benefit will be an improvement in the quality of our schools as efficiency, personal decisions, compensation decisions and methods of teaching children will not be subject to union meddling and obstruction. Contact me if you have any opinions on the above at Sen.Grothman@legis.wisconsin.gov.
- It's Hemmer Time Rain: "Hold my umbrella" - Benghazi: "Stand Down" (184)
- Cook's Corner Facebook recipes, who knew? The Best Pork Tenderloin (1)
- The Engineering Perspective The Raw Milk Debate (183)
- Eagle's Eye Stroke Story (34)
- "Hear's" to Life! Outnumbered in the Elder Care Journey (2)
- A Day in Ion Square A Change in Topic (101)
- Community Splashes Come meet the team from Transport Waukesha and enjoy a community social
- Alien Relay 2.0 To discharge or otherwise discriminate against any individual because of any of the following (228)
- Lake Country Rotary Happenings Splash Pad Ground Breaking Has Happened!
- Dispatches from the GOP convention Photos from Romney, Ryan events (24)