Saturday, August 6, 2011

Protests, Protests, Protests

It seems that protesting is the "in thing" now. With the weekend upon us, protests are taking place all over the world. Protests in Israel took place over the high cost of living. Over 250,000 Israelis took to the streets in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. As these protests continue to grow, polls show that support for Benjamin Netanyahu and his government continue to decline.

Meanwhile, demonstrators also took to the streets in Spain, angry about the austerity program. Clashes between police and demonstrators left 20 injured and 5 detained. The government has taken these measures to reduce social dependency while the jobless rate remains the highest in Europe, currently at 21 percent.

Finally, in the most violent of the protests, businesses, cars, and even a bus were set ablaze in the Tottenham neighborhood of London. There are also reports of makeshift missiles being used against police. The violence started as demonstrators assembled outside of the Tottenham police station demanding justice following the shooting of a 29-year-old father. There are disputing reports about whether or not he exchanged fire with police prior to being shot.

Of Course It's All For the Children

The second-largest school district in Illinois is facing a financial shortfall, just like many other school districts. However, it is responding by laying off crossing guards (for a savings of $13,000) and hiring a Chief of Equity & Social Justice (at a cost of $120,000 plus benefits). Funds for student transportation, art, and physical education have also been cut. The official job posting states that the goals of the position are to create equity, close the achievement gap, and develop culturally responsive teaching. However, this will only be possible if the elementary students can make it to school each day without being hit by a car.

Sao Paulo To Host Heterosexual Pride Day

The city council of Sao Paulo, Brazil, has adopted legislation calling for a heterosexual pride day to be celebrated on the third Sunday every December. Carlos Apolinario, who wrote the legislation, stated that the day is simply a protest against the "privileges the gay community enjoys." However, those opposed to the legislation claim that it will increase the attacks on homosexuals. The Brazilian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Association stated, "The celebration of heterosexual pride is inappropriate because it belittles the just cause of the LGBT community. Unlike homosexuals, heterosexuals are not discriminated against simply for being heterosexuals."

The Brazilian LGBT Association has just discriminated against heterosexuals by claiming that their sexual orientation is not worthy of a "day of pride" like the homosexuals get. This group would be claiming discrimination if they did not get their own pride day, but they oppose granting it to others. I commend the council of Sao Paulo for standing up on this issue and passing the legislation.

John Kerry Says Tea Party Should Not Get Equal Media Time

In an MSNBC interview yesterday, John Kerry stated that the media needed to stop giving time to the tea party's "absurd notions" and "not factual" claims. He provides no evidence to back his claims up, especially considering that those "absurd notions" were what got many members of Congress elected in 2010. Furthermore, he is trampling on the right to free speech rights by claiming that dissenting views do not deserve attention.

Unemployment Falls to 9.1%

The government reported today that the economy added 117,000 jobs and the national unemployment rate fell to 9.1% in July. While many are hailing this as good news, it is not as significant as one would think. First, the unemployment rate is based off of a survey. While the sample for this survey is much larger than the sample for most other polls (60,000 as opposed to around 2,000), there is still a margin of error. A .1% change in the unemployment rate only requires a change in between 30 and 90 households. It is possible that the survey just happened to hit a few extra employed households, or it is possible that it just happened to hit a few extra unemployed households when it went up .1% in June.

Second, the unemployment rate is based on those who are actively looking for work. The AP reports that 193,000 jobless workers stopped looking for work in July. These people are no longer unemployed by the government definition, so their status change can also help lower the unemployment rate without the need for new jobs.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pelosi Says Republicans Want to Destroy Government

Speaking to ThinkProgress yesterday, Nancy Pelosi stated that Republicans just want to destroy government. She states, "It is about destroying government — federal involvement in education. It’s about clean air, clean water, food safety, public safety. You name it, they’re there to diminish it. Destroy it.”

Even though I am not a Republican, if that is her definition of destroying government, then I do want to destroy it! I want to destroy the massive federal bureaucracy that our government has become. Despite throwing trillions of dollars into education, our educational system continues to decline. We pass environmental regulations, and they kill jobs. I certainly want to feel safe, but the Bush response to 9/11 was to create massive new federal agencies that have done little to actually improve security but have done a great job at violating our freedoms (for example: you get to choose nude scanner or groping). It is time to kill government and get it back within the restrictions set forth in the Constitution we have been ignoring.

S&P Downgrades U.S. Credit Rating

For the first time since the S&P started rating America's bonds, the U.S. does not have a AAA bond rating. S&P stated late Friday that the agreement to raise the debt ceiling "did not go far enough to stabilize the country's debt situation." A spokesperson for the Obama administration stated that S&P's analysis contains "deep and fundamental flaws." The S&P issued a press release, which is available at the Wall Street Journal Blog.

Teacher Union Details Fight Against Parents

The American Federation of Teachers is coming under fire for an internal report posted on the internet (it has since been removed from their website, but it is still available elsewhere) that detailed their fight against "parental triggers" in Connecticut. A parental trigger is a reform idea from California that allows a 51% majority of parents in a failing school to change the administration or invite a charter school operator to take over. However, this reform was defeated and replaced with "School Governance Councils" which would be made of parents, teachers, and community leaders. However, these councils do not "govern," they only "advise," making them nothing like the parental triggers that were originally proposed. The original report is available below.

Wall Street Journal Announces "Worst Airport" Award

It's not an "official" award, and the Wall Street Journal stopped short of actually stating that it is the worst airport, but the newspaper does say Newark Liberty International Airport is "the one airport to avoid." In analyzing the Bureau of Transportation Statistics' list of the 100 flights with the worst on-time records, 40 of the 100 flights depart or arrive at Newark. Newark flights also hold half of the top ten spots, including the top two. So if you decide to fly and find out that you have a connection in Newark, be prepared for some delays.

Obama Clarifies: Change We Can Believe In, Just Not Tomorrow

Remember the 2008 slogans, "Vote for Change" and "Change We Can Believe In". Since electing Obama, we certainly have had plenty of change, but it has not been the change that most people hoped for. Now, the President has clarified his slogan. "Change We Can Believe In, Just Not Tomorrow or Next Week." Basically, he is saying that we need to give him four more years because the first four just were not enough time to provide change.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Obama Celebrates Debt Limit Raise With Burgers and Shakes

Following the passage of the debt limit compromise, President Obama treated some of his staff to a meal at the Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill. The Washington Times estimates his meal--a hamburger, fries, and a shake--weighed in at approximately 1700 calories. Should anyone care? Normally, the answer will be no. However, given that the President's wife has been forcing her food views on us, perhaps we should care what the President and his wife are eating just as much as they like to care what we are eating. I wonder how this lunch does under the "MyPlate" guidelines?

My Apologies...

I have not been feeling well for the past few days, and I have not felt like making myself feel worse by looking at the news! Posting will resume later tonight!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Five Lies About the Debt Ceiling

New post from Michael Hammond at RedState discussing five lies being told in the debt ceiling debate. Read it here.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Marco Rubio's Speech to the Senate

Great speech from Marco Rubio on the Senate floor yesterday. He was interrupted by John Kerry a few times for questions. Rubio showed that he can not only deliver a prepared speech well, but he can also give unprepared responses well too.