Thursday, 24 January 2013

THE NEW JERSEY TEACHERS' UNION LIE

Ken Berwitz

I have seen the commercial one time too many.  Now I have to react.

This morning - again, as it has for some number of days - I watched a commercial from the National Education Association (NEA) assuring us that it supports serious teacher evaluations and the the removal of teachers who are not performing up to par.

That so?

From an article in the August 6, 2012 New York Times (hardly a foe of teachers' unions), talking about the new teacher evaluation rules being force-fed to the NEA:

Teachers who fail to earn high ratings for two consecutive years will automatically face revocation of tenure, unless they have shown some improvement.

The previous law allowed school districts to dismiss teachers for "inefficiency," but the procedure for doing so took several years and could cost districts more than $100,000, which state officials said discouraged attempts to remove bad teachers. Only 20 teachers have been fired for inefficiency in the last 10 years, state officials said.

Signing the bill at a school in Middlesex Borough, the governor called it "a great day for good teachers."

"Good teachers will do very well under this system," he said.

Some superintendents in the state's big-city school districts, particularly Cami Anderson, who was brought in by the Christie administration to try to turn around Newark's schools, have argued that without ending seniority rights, they cannot afford other meaningful changes.

Ms. Anderson has said that Newark spends $8.5 million a year to maintain about 100 teachers in an "excess teacher pool" of teachers who are deemed not qualified to teach but have been hard to fire.

According to the NJ State Department of Education, as of the 2010-2011 school year, there were 108,591 full-time teachers, and some indeterminate number of part-timers. 

Do you think it is possible that only two out of those 100,000-plus teachers are not competent to teach children each year?  One out of over 50,000? 

Your local Burger King fires more Whopper-sloppers than that each year. 

Evidently, in the eyes of the NEA, the ability of a teenage kid to assemble a hamburger sandwiches at a fast food restaurant requires much more stringency than the ability of a teacher to educate our children.

And what about Newark's "excess teacher pool", in which incompetent teachers are paid not to teach, because it is too hard to fire them?  Does the NEA have anything to say about that? 

Is Newark's academic standing so elevated that this is not a problem?  Is its revenue base so strong that it can afford to pay 100 incompetent teachers not to be put in classrooms?  

Look, I respect and value school teachers.  I am not saying that to be cute, or because I think I'm supposed to, I am saying it because I really do.  I know too many good, dedicated, teachers to feel otherwise.

But I do not respect and value a teachers' union which lies to my face about the degree to which it respects and values our children. 

And, based on its BS commercial, that is the New Jersey NEA, personified.

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FROM THE UGLY TO THE BEAUTIFUL

Ken Berwitz

Terrible first half of yesterday:  The funeral and burial of my friend of 40 years and business partner for 31 of those years, Warren Goldman

Beautiful second half of yesterday:  The time my wife and I spent with our wonderful daughter-in-law and beautiful grandchildren, then with our son when he returned from work. 

We got home late.  We were tired and drained.  But we had to be at the first stop, and wouldn't have traded the second for anything.

Now, back to politics.


A PICTORIAL COMMENTARY ON THE OUTDOOR TEMPERATURE

Ken Berwitz

At about 20 degrees outside (up from 11 this morning), here is a much-needed laugh from my sister:

 

Photo

 

Ok, back to politics


A PICTORIAL TRUISM

Ken Berwitz

From my friend Observant Elizabeth......

LOL so true!!

 

What a great combination of funny and true. 


THE WORST RECOVERY IN HISTORY?

Ken Berwitz

Damn that George Bush

Not only did he leave us with the worst economic situation since the great depression, but now, three years after the recession ended,  he also has caused the worst recovery from an economic recession in history too.

Look at this graph from the Federal Reserve of Saint Louis, and see for yourself (for additional graphs showing our economic situation even more fully, click here).:

GDP recovery st louis fed

And what a machiavellian genius that Bush guy is, to have done all this after leaving the presidency. 

Obviously, brilliant and productive though we all know him to be, Barack Obama, is powerless against the dark forces of Bush's post presidency.  Personally, I think at least part of the blame is on Barney, the Bush's dog, who probably gives his master pointers on how to ruin the economy during their daily walks.

In closing, feel free to wipe the sarcasm off your screen any time now....unless, of course, you want me to also blog about how media are ignoring these data and what they say about the current administration's economic performance, in which case, you'll need another towel.  A big, very absorbent one.

Zeke .... .... I just heard on WOR 710 that the economy is recovering nicely. Stock Market is up because new unemployment claims are record low over the past 5 years. ........ ..... Of course, 4 million FEWER people are employed today than when GW Bush left office. .... (and the population has grown). ..... .... I live in an upper middle class town, and the number of retail stores for rent is incredible. .... ...... (01/24/13)


THE QUOTE OF THE DAY

Ken Berwitz

Today's quote of this cold, windy day is from our son, who lives, and works, in Manhattan:

"The only thing worse than the cold is the overcompensation of heat by virtually every building I walk into. There's a comfortable medium between Artic Glacier and Portal to Hell. Let's try to find it."

Truer words were never spoken.  And the pharmaceutical industry - especially their cough and cold divisions - couldn't be happier.


THE TWIN DISGRACES: HILLARY CLINTON & ANDREA MITCHELL

Ken Berwitz

"It will be a grueling day, first in the Senate, then in the House. Not how the Secretary of State had planned to wind up what is widely viewed as a stellar term as the nation's top diplomat.":  Andrea Mitchell, yesterday, before Hillary Clinton testified about the Benghazi attack and massacre.

Widely viewed as a stellar term?  By who, Andrea?  By you?  By your circumspect, non-partisan colleagues at NBC News --- or the other networks, or the NY Times, or CNN, etc. etc. ad infinitum ad nauseam?

Hillary Clinton finally testified about Benghazi - after ducking testimony for months, using one excuse after the other, until - she hoped, I'm sure - the public outrage would die down, and enough of us would forget and/or have moved on so that they wouldn't notice what a blithering incompetent, misfeasant joke she is as Secretary of State. 

And, just in case some of us still remembered, we have Andrea Mitchell (far from the only one) desperately trying to protect their heroine from the clutches of reality.

Did it work?  I don't know. 

But here's what I do know:  Clinton's testimony was evasive, dishonest, and about as sincere Benjamin Netanyahu getting a "congratulations on your re-election" card from mahmoud ahmadinejad.

The single most disgusting moment was when Clinton, "responded" (if you can call it that) to Senator Ron Johnson's questions about what Secretary Clinton's State Department knew, and when she and her people knew it:

SENATOR RON JOHNSON (R-WI): "Do you disagree with me that a simple phone call to those evacuees to determine what happened would have ascertained immediately that there was no protest  I mean, that was a piece of information that could have been easily, easily, easily obtained, within hours if not days."

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON:  "Senator, y'know, when you're in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going on..."

JOHINSON:  "I realize, I realize that's a good excuse"

CLINTON: No, it's a fact.  Number two, I would recommend highly you read both what the "R" (?) said about it and the classified R, because, even today, there are questions being raised.  Now, there is no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing, is still..."

JOHNSON:  "No, no, no, I, I, again, again...we were misled that there were supposedly protests and then something sprang out of that, an assault sprang out of that and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact and the American people could have known that within days.  And they didn't know that."

CLINTON (RAISED VOICE):  "With all respect, the fact is we have four dead Americans.  Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans.  (FLAILING ARMS, BANGING ON THE THE TABLE) What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator."

There it is.  The Clinton way.  Evade, then lie, then do a chorus of  Fleetwood Mac's refrain, "Don't, stop, thinking about tomorrow, yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone".

And our wonderful, "neutral" media?  For the most part, no problem at all about this.  Certainly not from Andrea Mitchell.

Hey, it's only four dead USA citizens and our Ambassador raped along with being killed, almost certainly by terrorists linked to al-qaeda, which Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton assure us is virtually non-existent now, and the Libyan forces from the government the Obama/Clinton administration was so instrumental in putting into power standing around doing nothing about it. 

For god sake, it's not like she was being asked about the possibility that someone missed a few National Guard meetings 35 years ago, is it?  Now that was meaningful.

If the mainstream media of this country looked at Hillary Clinton - and her boss, Barack Obama - with one tenth the seriousness, and one tenth the cynicism, they showed during the Bush administration, these two - 100% justifiably - would  have become objects of national derision a long time ago.

They surely would not have been treated as national idols - celebrated by the Andrea Mitchells of the world, who are far more interested in writing their hagiographies than showing any vestige of professional journalism.

How does Andrea Mitchell call herself a journalist?  How does she even face herself in the mirror?

And that goes double for her beloved twin disgrace, Hillary Clinton.

Zeke .... ... .... This is not rocket science. .... Prosecuting attorneys extract the truth from criminals and liars all the time. ..... .... Histrionics, evasions, and lies are EXPECTED from crooks. .... .... Why aren't the congressional investigators up to the task of determining what the meaning of "IS" is. .... ..... ...... Willie and Hillie -- SlickMeisters extraordinaire ! ........ 1) Who ordered the two ex-Seals to "stand down". .... 2) The US had overwhelming ground attack aircraft in Sicily - just 90 minutes away (closer to Benghazi than Libya's capital, Tripoli). .... Why wasn't this asset used. ..... 3) Jay Carney, Obama's Press Secretary, 3 days after the attack was still maintaining the attack was a reaction to the YouTube video, and there was no information this was a preplanned attack (BYO Mortar, BYO RPG) ... .... (01/24/13)


OPERATION FAST AND FURIOUS: UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

The highest-ranking Department of Justice officer yet is about to go bye-bye over Operation Fast and Furious - though you'd never know it by the way Danielle Douglas of the Washington Post positions it in her article.

Read these excerpts and see for yourself:

Lanny A. Breuer is leaving the Justice Department after leading the agency's efforts to clamp down on public corruption and financial fraud at the nation's largest banks, according to several people familiar with the matter.

As one of the longest-serving heads of the criminal division, Breuer has had a tenure filled with controversy and high-profile prosecutions. He was admonished for his role in the agency's botched attempt to infiltrate weapons-smuggling rings in the operation dubbed "Fast and Furious." And he has been accused of being soft on Wall Street for failing to throw senior bank executives behind bars for their role in the financial crisis.

Yet Breuer is widely credited with aggressively going after white-collar crime in the aftermath of the crisis. He also stepped up the division's involvement in money-laundering cases, launching a series of criminal investigations that have resulted in multimillion-dollar settlements.

It is not clear when Breuer intends to leave his post, nor what he plans to do once he departs, but it is certain that the prosecutor's days in office are winding down, according to people who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Officials at the Justice Department, including Breuer, declined to comment for this article.

That's it?  He was "admonished" for Operation Fast and Furious?

Read these excerpts again:  please note that, other than a vague reference to being "soft on Wall Street" the article cites Breuer for doing nothing else wrong, but makes sure to note that he was a bulldog against white-collar crime. 

So why is he being dumpe...er, leaving?  Does this make any sense, unless you focus on Fast and Furious?

The cover-up continues....aided and abetted by this administration's Accomplice Media.  

-We have Breuer's boss, eric holder, continues on as the incompetent, racist Attorney General who withheld significant evidence regarding Operation Fast and Furious - still is doing so - and lied about his knowledge of and involvement in it. 

-And we have President Barack Obama, who invoked "executive privilege" to help holder in his effort to suppress the truth about what happened, thus telling us in so many words that he was directly involved as well (how can he claim executive privilege if he wasn't?).  Where were the preponderance of mainstream media when that happened?  Where have they been since?

Will our media - with a few precious exceptions (CBS's Sharyl Attkisson comes to mind) ever regain even a smidgen of integrity and start asking the questions, making the demands, investigating the facts?  Don't hang by your thumbs waiting for it to happen.

And, yes, these are the same "journalists" who squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.


THE WORST RECOVERY IN HISTORY?

Ken Berwitz

Damn that George Bush

Not only did he leave us with the worst economic situation since the great depression, but now, three years after the recession ended,  he also has caused the worst recovery from an economic recession in history too.

Look at this graph from the Federal Reserve of Saint Louis, and see for yourself (for additional graphs showing our economic situation even more fully, click here).:

GDP recovery st louis fed

And what a machiavellian genius that Bush guy is, to have done all this after leaving the presidency. 

Obviously, brilliant and productive though we all know him to be, Barack Obama, is powerless against the dark forces of Bush's post presidency.  Personally, I think at least part of the blame is on Barney, the Bush's dog, who probably gives his master pointers on how to ruin the economy during their daily walks.

In closing, feel free to wipe the sarcasm off your screen any time now....unless, of course, you want me to also blog about how media are ignoring these data and what they say about the current administration's economic performance, in which case, you'll need another towel.  A big, very absorbent one.

Zeke .... .... I just heard on WOR 710 that the economy is recovering nicely. Stock Market is up because new unemployment claims are record low over the past 5 years. ........ ..... Of course, 4 million FEWER people are employed today than when GW Bush left office. .... (and the population has grown). ..... .... I live in an upper middle class town, and the number of retail stores for rent is incredible. .... ...... (01/24/13)


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