Saturday, February 9, 2013

In education as in life "you get what you pay for"

We’re all familiar with the old adage “you get what you pay for” but Rick Perry and the Republican controlled legislature seem to think it doesn’t apply to public education in Texas. It should be no surprise that with Texas education funding lower per student than 45 other states we have high failure rates and many of those who do graduate from high school aren’t really prepared for college. Now District Judge John Dietz has ruled that state funding is so low as to be unconstitutional. The Republican leadership wants to drag things out by appealing the ruling to the state Supreme Court even though the ruling is consistent with what the Supreme Court said in 2005.

The Comptroller’s office has now reported that it has collected $8.8 billion more in taxes than projected in 2011 which could easily cover the $5.4 billion that the legislature cut from education funding in the last session but the Republican leadership is holding up using those funds with claims that we should wait and see what the Supreme Court says about Judge Dietz’s ruling.

Most school districts in the state have had to request waivers of the student to teacher ratio rules because they don’t have the money to hire enough teachers. Every year we delay adequate funding of public education we damage the children of Texas and their futures. Call you state legislator today and demand that they address education funding like the critical issue that it is.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What's more important to you, your right to a trial or your gun?

While the bed wetters among us are all outraged about supposed infringement on their Second Amendment rights I’m not hearing much from them or anyone else about a far more chilling government breach of our constitutional rights. President Obama has taken it upon himself to determine enemies of the state and sign off on the execution of American citizens without a shred of judicial oversight. This is beyond the Patriot Act which opened Americans to invasions of privacy such as national security letters to libraries and internet service providers demanding our records without our knowledge and beyond warrantless wiretaps. This is giving one man the power to snuff out the life of an American citizen anywhere in the world at any time without even a single hearing before a judge.

The gun crowd is dampening their drawers over concerns requiring background checks on every gun purchase and limiting magazines to 10 rounds somehow violates the Second Amendment that even arch-conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia thinks is a limited right. At the same time many of them are supportive of these extra-judicial killings of people who have not even killed anyone let alone another American. I’m a lot less worried about the government taking my gun away than I am being bombed by a drone; after all look how many people are denied air travel because the government put their name on the “No fly list” because their name sounds like some reputed terrorist.