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Bad politiciains good people

 

It is sometimes said that doing something righteous but useless is like peeing in a pair of flannel pants. Maybe you’ll feel better, but no one will notice.

That sums up legislation just signed into law in the bright-blue state of Oregon. Their ground-breaking Governor Kate Brown has signed a bill that automatically registers people to vote if they have any interaction with the state Department of Motor Vehicles. In other words, if you’re an Oregon citizen and even think about driving, poof: You’re a registered voter. Congratulations.

Now there’s a lot to like about that legislation, especially in these times when our Republican friends are doing everything they can cook up to make it harder to vote. In 2009 they tried something similar in normally-rational Minnesota, but it was vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-collapsing bridges, who rationalized that “registering to vote should be a voluntary, intentional act.”

Now it sends needles of pain up my fingers as I type this, but Pawlenty has a point.

You can’t make people vote. All they’re doing in Oregon is expanding the void of so-called citizens who don’t vote.

And that won’t change a damn thing.

Let’s look at my beloved state of AZ, where we grow cactus in kitty litter, just so dirt bags like state Rep. Darrin Mitchell, R-Bare Mattress, can bulldoze them to make way for more stucco.

AZ voting population 2012

 

I hope this chart is readable on your compooters. It shows the turnout of potential voters – people who are eligible to vote – in AZ compared with the U.S. The chart only goes from 2000 through 2012, but it shows that about half of us nationwide turned out in 2012. Here in AZ it was more like 45 percent.

The rest of us didn’t show up.

Now, do you really think all those stoners, slackers, and the working stiffs who are more worried about the price of a weekend six pack, will vote  just because Oregon made it easier?

No. They won’t.

Here’s comes my sermon again.

If you ain’t voting, you don’t matter. That’s why Arizona folk want more education funding – and are even willing to pay more taxes to support it – but our knuckle-dragging Legislature and our Cold Stones Governor are gutting funding for K-12, universities and community colleges.

They don’t care whether you like it. Since YOU don’t vote, you don’t matter.

The people who do vote – especially when it matters – are the far-right whack-jobs, the true believers who blindly follow Cathy “Horrible” Herrod and the rest of Tea Bag Nation. Those people vote for less spending – even if that means we’re raising generations of illiterates.

So go ahead Oregon. Let loose with a liberal stream of feel-good.

Is that better?

Uh, no. Actually it’s not.

 

 

 

 

Eske Callaghans

I guess it’s pretty much a cliche that on St. Patrick’s Day, someone like myself proclaims his roots in the “Auld Sod.”

Don’t like it? Well, as they apparently say in Eire (via Google):

May the curse of Mary Malone…

and her nine blind illegitimate children…

chase you so far over the hills of Damnation …

that the Lord himself can’t find you with a telescope.

I come by my Irish roots honestly. My mother’s maiden name was Callaghan. Her parents were married in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New Yawk (in the “Lady Chapel” behind the main altar), and I, too, tied my first marital knot in that church many many years ago.

I had an Aunt Mary, an Uncle Pat and and Uncle Mike, who was also a NYC cop.

Yup. I’m so green I can grow fungus between my toes.

I’ve tried really heard to do some family research on both sides of my gene pool. Oddly enough I’ve had more success on the Jewish side. More about that some other time.

My Irish paternal roots stem from a town known as “Lough Eske,” or Lake Eske, a tiny town near Ireland’s Northwest coast. I’ve managed to establish the truth of that through several different documents.

According to family legend, my grandmother Maggie was born an O’Callaghan somewhere in County Mayo. I’ve never been able to trace much about her, but my mom says that they had to write home to make sure Willie Callaghan and Maggie O’Callaghan were not cousins.

Now Maggie O’Callaghan, according to pictures and family history, was a domineering woman who tended toward the beefy side. Apparently that’s where I get my waistline genes (Thanks a bunch, Grandma).

My Grandpa Willie, by all accounts, was a gentle man who accepted the small gifts of life in America without complaint. He worked as a labor, a watchman and never earned much. He didn’t curse, and he didn’t drink much (I think). He did raise four kids who assumed their place in American society, and for the most part prospered.

But I’ve always sensed a curtain of sadness over the Callaghan family roots. That’s reflected in the picture above.

According to records and some family photos, the woman on the right is Great Grandma Mary Callaghan. To the Right is Great Grandpa Patrick Callaghan. At the bottom of the photo, which is hard to see, is something called a “famine pot.” It was housed in a stone cottage, and it was where they doled out soup to the people who were starving to death during the Great Famine.

I have good reason to believe that the Callaghans were among the wretched families that lined up, empty cans in hand, to accept the stingy charity doled out from that Famine Pot.

You’ve all heard the stories, and how it affected both Irish and US histories. In ca 1880 the potato crops that kept the peasants alive were devastated by a fungus. While the Protestant landlords continued to export huge amounts of beef, pork and other luxury foodstuffs, the poor were allowed to starve. Some landowners established these “famine pots” to provide thin gruel to the “deserving” local townspeople. Since they were usually filled with grasses, handfuls of grain and not much else, they didn’t prevent much starvation.

A lucky few managed to flee. Apparently Grandpa Willie made it to Scotland, and then to New York. One or two sisters came across too, and worked as domestic servants

Note the hands of Great Grandma Mary, which I enlarged toward the center. The picture shows a woman who is not all that old, but her cadaverous eyes and her gnarled hands tell of a hard life.

I can’t be 100 percent certain, but I think I’ve found records of a great aunt Mary who died in a home for the poor at age 14 around this time, so I’m fairly confident that the Callaghans were part of the tragedy of the times.

As I struggle with my own waistline issues, I look at my Callaghan ancestors and remind myself that I come from people who knew poverty, as well as starvation. They knew what it was like to watch with empty bellies as the landlords sold crops and livestock overseas while their own children were starving. The men had to swallow their pride while their wives and children were reduced to begging.

As I remember all that, I renew my resolve to fight the current poetical environment, in which we seem to be returning to the days when the rich kept getting richer, working families were treated with scorn, and the poor, well, can’t they hurry up and die?

So on this St. Patrick’s Day I promise to keep fighting those with Cold Stones who think it’s a great idea to eliminate funding for the public schools system that made this country so prosperous. While they seek to limit opportunity to stripping funding for higher education, I promise to fight those efforts with every fiber of my being.

And as they reduce lifetime welfare payments to 12 months, restrict the use of food stamps, and ignore women and children who are struggling to survive, I vow to take them on.

I don’t have much. I’m so poor I can barely pay attention. The wolves may not be at the front door, but every now and then I can hear them howling.

But I’m Irish, and somehow I received the Gift of the Blarney. I intend to use that gift to fight for what’s right. I owe it to Great Grandpa Patrick, and Great Grandma Mary.

AZ Tax Burden

You keep hearing this whine from righties. Taxes aren’t fair, they complain. They take too much from the “producers” (e.g., those who can afford to pay) to spend it irresponsibly on the “takers” (e.g., the poor, the sick, kids needing an education, etc.).

They use that argument to support the so-called “flat tax” concept, in which everyone pays the same income tax rate. They ran that gambit in the AZ lege last year. Look for it to return some day soon.

A flat tax is fair, they say. Why should someone pay a higher tax rate just because they’re more successful?

Well, OK …

Let’s make everyone pay the same rate of their income to support gummint.

Let’s make Doug Ducey and his Paradise Valley pals pay the same percentage as their secretaries, janitors and pool cleaners.

Because right now, we’re subsidizing their lifestyle.

Huh?

Well, look at the chart above. As you can see, the Country Club set pays just 4.6 percent of their income to gummint when all taxes are included.

What about you and I? Well, according to the U.S. Census, the average per capita income in our state is $25,358. To put a dose of reality into this picture – I mean, how many families can get by with only one income earner these days? – let’s double that to $51,000. This assumes Joe and Jane Six Pack are both working, and both bring home the average per capita paycheck.

Working on that two-paycheck assumption Jane and Joe Six Pack  cough up 9.2 percent of their combined income to feed the gummint kitty.

(Of course, there’s a whole world full of single parents, the unemployed and others who struggle with a lot less, but, let’s be fair when we’re making comparisons to the rich – OK?)

In other words, all levels of gummint take $2  out of our pocket for every dollar that Ducey and his pals shell out.

That’s fair? I think not.

Now this picture differs dramatically from the one that we get fed by the Koch Brothers and their media shills (including the Editorial Board of the Arizona Republic, which still thinks Ducey was  the right choice for Governor).

They’ll tell you that the rich pay far more than we peons. Well, maybe that’s because they HAVE all the money!

Why the difference? It’s because the above chart includes ALL taxes, including such regressive levies as sales taxes, so-called “sin” levies on cigarettes and liquor, and all the other fees. When Joe and Jane Six Pack pay a tax on their weekend beer run, the bite hurts more than the few bucks Ducey and his cronies pay for that $100 bottle of single-malt scotch.

And the gap has widened over the past decades, especially in this state.

Why?

Because the stooges down at the Capitol have been focused on eliminating the income tax. That’s the only levy in which the ability to pay is factored in.

So while the fools downtown slash away at the income tax – and continue to fling tax break candy at corporations that aren’t producing significant job growth – we get screwed in two ways.

The first way is through a higher burden that falls on our shoulder.

The second way is through that obscene budget our Legislative Klown Kar just puked up. We’re told there’s no money for K-12 education and higher education, so shut up, pay a higher property tax to support local schools, and tell your kids to take on even more debt if they want a college degree.

And even when someone talks dirty by mentioning higher levies, they talk about raising stuff like the sales tax, which falls the hardest on the poor, and the least on the rich.

Earlier this week, a report landed with a soft thud. Few folks, outside of fellow leftie Robbie Sherwood, paid much attention to it.

The report by the Keystone Research Center says the following:

Hmm. Would our schools be looking at four-day classroom weeks, closing buildings and laying off teachers if the state had another $2.74 million? Could we actually, y’know, OBEY THE LAW by fulling covering inflation on K-12 while providing college tuition rates that are really “as nearly free as possible,” as required by our Constitution?

Well, humph, perhaps …

But that-there’s Commie Talk! Class Warfare!

Yeah, maybe.

But the war between us and them is already being waged. And thanks to Ducey’s support from the Koch Brothers and the rest of the rich, they’re kicking our middle-class asses into extinction.

 

Klown Kar Wreck

Many years ago I learned a lesson that our Koch tool rookie Governor is now learning…

You can screw over poor people with impunity – because they’re powerless.

Just don’t try to screw over da rich.

I first saw this in action back in the stone ages, aka the 1980s, when I was covering the Tucson City Council. Some developer wanted to build a high-density monstrosity in the middle of a posh neighborhood just east of the University of Arizona.

I’d seen dozens of these zoning issues slide like Jello through a goose in areas where we unwashed lived. I even had it happen to me, when I owned a townhouse that looked out over an expanse of open desert – until some cement-head decided he wanted to fill it with stucco.

So I was a little shocked on a Monday night when a small army of attorneys, land-use experts and pissed-off Yuppies turned out en masse to tell the Council they wanted a “hell no!” vote on plans for to build high density in their silk stocking neighborhood.

The poor developer didn’t know what hit him. His zoning request crashed like a falling star.

I saw it again a few years later, when the Yavapai of Ft. McDowell were trying to stop Orme Dam from flooding their tiny reservation. Keep in mind this was before some white people invested millions of dollars in that gaudy casino. The Yavapai were poor, and they were Indians. In other words, they were relatively powerless.

Still, the Yavapai yelled and screamed. Journalists like me wrote articles. Didn’t seem to be making much of a dent in public opinion.

But the dam truly met its demise when some people living in Fountain Hills looked at some maps, and realized some of their pricey houses were gonna get flooded.

Good bye Orme Dam.

Well, now that lesson is being taught to Gov. Cold Stones. His “screw da schools” budget is running into a brick wall down at the Capitol.

Now I’d like to believe that the wall was erected by thousands of parents, kiddies and concerned citizens who showed Thursday afternoon. They objected to disemboweling community colleges, slashing university funding, and ignoring their legal obligation to fund K-12 education.

Those cries were backed up by university presidents and child experts who said this budget decimates our schools.

That probably had something to do with it.

But the coup de grace was delivered when Arizona’s charter schools realized they were gonna lose $68 million in state subsidies.

Big mistake, Doug.

A spokesman for the Arizona Charter School Association immediately jumped up to declare that many charter schools will face budget cuts as large as 25 percent. A fair-haired teacher for a private academy stood before TV cameras and declared that she’d have to lay off a big chunk of teachers.

Now the Cold Stones Budget Express has hit the wall. Let’s not start celebrating. You can bet your tax refund that they’re warming up the water boards and testing out the cattle prods in the Capitol basement.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if a little smoke is thrown in the air, including language that exempts charters from some of the budget pain.

But the lesson here is that messing with people of means is begging for trouble.

Gov. Cold Stones is learning that lesson. We’ll soon see how it turns out.

 

 

New Congressional Maps for AZ

So, while we’re all torqued up because the Lege keeps screwing education, it seems the back-room politicians can’t help screwing … each other.

According to the Yellow Sheet, that tip sheet for those who can afford to buy it, House Speaker David “Kung Fu” Gowan, a 9th Degree Black Belt, is preparing to do a little Ju Jitsu on freshwoman Congresswoman Martha McSally. Now McSally is a Republican. However … well just read the headline.

Gowan might get a chance to do in Martha because the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday that the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission is unconstitutional. It seems that  it’s designed to keep the Legislature from shaping their own districts, and well … apparently the Constitution says ya just can’t stop the boys in the back room from taking care of themselves.

That’s what the professional tea-leaf readers are saying, at any rate. They expect the Libruhl gals on Da Bench to side with the People, but the nasty old men who control the high court are gonna rule in the favor of their fellow Republicans from the land of cactus and kitty litter.

McSally, a former fighter pilot, has been trying for years to replace Gabrielle Giffords, who was forced to step down after being shot. Her hand-picked replacement was Democrat Ron Barber, a former DES bureaucrat and fellow shooting victim. Giffords was a polished politician, but Barber, not so much. So, in 2014 McSally edged Barber into retirement after a lengthy recount.

Well, apparently McSally’s knuckles don’t drag on the floor enough for the Neanderthals who control AZ politics. So, if the Lege gets to draw new lines for Arizona’s nine Congressional Districts … GUESS WHAT?

McSally will get screwed in a not-so-nice way, politically speaking. She’ll have to choose between running in a bright-red district in which she won’t be crazy conservative enough to win a primary, or she’ll have to run against Raul Grijalva, the Leftie Dem  who is highly beloved by both Latinos and Tucson granola-eaters.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit I’m kinda fond of Raul too. Try not to hold that against him.

Well, wait. Back up for minute. If a new Southeastern Arizona District gets created that’s tailor-made for a Neanderthal, who will crawl out of a cave to run for Congress?

Uh, you DO know that Gowan hails from the military-loving town of Ft. Huachuca down in Cochise County, amiright? How’s that for a coincidence!

No coincidence. It’s just bidness. Ask Andy Tobin, the former speaker who tried to draw up his own district and fell flat on his face. Oh, by the way, Andy: Since you ain’t Speaker no more, and apparently since you won’t win any popularity contests down at the Lege, Gowan’s map screws over your plans to run again too! Yup. Rep Ann Kirkpatrick, D (sorta/kinda), won’t get screwed as badly as some Republicans hope.

It’s just like the headline says. There are thieves, and there are politicians. Very often – maybe more often than not – they’re one and the same.

And since there ain’t no honor among thieves/politicians or any other odious vermin, the new district lines won’t treat McSally like a lady of high morals.

 

Screw AZ SCHOOLS

You knew this was coming, didn’t you?

Gov. Cold Stones Ducey offered up a budget would have slashed universities by about $75 million.

He thought the Legislature would buy his BS ice cream sandwich. But he was wrong.

Yep. It appears that a $75 million cut to universities isn’t deep enough.

Let’s cut $102 million!

Community colleges? They get just five percent of their funding from the state. Ducey wanted to cut it to 2.5 percent.

Nope. Screw ’em completely, especially the ones in the larger counties. Don’t give ’em a red cent. Yeah. Zero state support. That sounds about right.

K-12? Well, we’ll keep playing shell games with them. Oh, we’ll cut ’em, but we’ll hide much of the reductions for the moment. Instead of making ’em swallow a $96 million cut, we’ll make it look like just a $5 million cut.

Oh, but we WILL prevent public schools from operating their own charters, because that would allow them to compete with our pals in for-profit schools, and we’ll eliminate that state subsidy that helps high-cost schools in Tucson and other commie urban areas reduce the bite on local taxpayers. Oh, and while we’re at it, we’ll make it harder for local school districts to obtain permission to spend a few dollars more by raising local taxes through overrides and bond elections.

Private prisons? Well… Instead of giving them everything they want right away, we’ll just give them only 1,000 beds this year. We’ll come back and add another 2,000 beds – maybe more – next year, when the public ain’t paying attention.

Yeah! That sounds about right to our knuckle-dragging Legislature! Yup! Let’s allow 12-year-olds to blast away at gun ranges. Let’s legalize sawed-off shotguns and silencers! Let’s turn public buildings into free-fire zones!

But spend money on education?

Are you some sorta Libruhl?

What’s that? You don’t like it? Who asked you?

Did you donate dark-money dough to Team Ducey? Did you kiss the ring of the right-wing extremists who set the Legislature’s agenda? Are you one of the 10 percent who actually bothers to vote on legislative races?

No? Then shut up, move to the back of the bus, and figure out how you’ll pay private-school tuition for any school-age kids in your family.

That’s the message being sent to we, the great unwashed, by our so-called elected representatives.

They don’t care what we think, because we don’t matter. We don’t vote, so we have no leverage over the pinheads, clowns and outright thieves who run our Legislature.

Now tomorrow afternoon at about 4:30 p.m., a bunch of pissed-off citizens are supposed to gather down at the Capitol to make some noise. This rally was organized by a couple of well-meaning moms who actually think our Legislature will pay attention to a protest by parents and taxpayers.

They’ve talked to some of the more odious slime-wads in the Lege who are trying to double-talk them into believing that education funding isn’t going to be decimated. Because these moms are reasonable people and new to politics, they actually think these dirt-bags are listening to them.

They’re wrong, of course.

But what the hell? Let’s show up in force tomorrow afternoon. Let our Legislators know that there’s a price to pay when you screw over our kids and deny the next generation the education they need to be happy and productive.

Who knows? Maybe it will have an impact.

After all. I’ve been watching this Legislature for nearly 35 years, hoping that something will change.

Why give up hope now?

 

Save our SkoolzSmell the Coffee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the world waits for Congressional Republicans to find a way out of the Homeland Security Funding mess, let’s take a look at the budget situation right here in the land of cactus and kitty litter.

I think there are signs that even our head-up-their-Keister Legislature is smelling something, and it ain’t coffee: It’s molten tar, bundles of feathers, and hordes of angry villagers who believe AZ ought to spend more money on education, not prisons.

Not too long ago, 233 school administrators rustled up enough gumption to stand up and complain about a state budget that – yet again – reduces funding for education. Despite the Tooth Fairy Math that our Cold Stones governor continues to use, he’s forcing schools to hack away at funding for heating and cooling, school buses, libararies and school lunch programs.

Da Guv keeps blithering that he’s just forcing schools to transfer more money to classrooms, but we, the AZ citizens, don’t find the math to be that hard. If Ducey tells schools to cut non-classroom spending by 5 percent, and your average school district spends 7 to 10 percent on administration, the money will come out of stuff that keep students warm in the winter, cool in the heat, and ensures they’ll get at least one decent meal a day.

If you don’t think that message has been delivered, ask yourself why the dark dough forces of evil are trying to push back with robocalls and other lies propaganda.

While you’re at it, ask yourself why such a big crowd showed up at the Capital earlier this week to protest education cuts. By the way, there will be more such demonstrations next week. Stay tuned.

And now comes ASU Prez Michael Crow, sending out an email that blisters Gov. Cold Stones for sending “signals to the state and the nation that higher education is a low priority in Arizona.” He got to be the head of a major university because he is a skilled nose-counter and  a savvy leader. He wouldn’t have sent out that email if he didn’t check with the boys and girls in the back room first. The fact that they signed off on his complaint is clear evidence that the business elite don’t like these budget cuts any more than your average parent of school-age kids.

And then there was one of my personal favorite messages, this from from Mark Killian, a member of the Board of Regents and a former Speaker of the House. Mark ain’t no liberal. I can still remember him getting all teary-eyed when the House voted to impeach former Gov. Ev Mecham.

Killian was OK with semi-reasonable education cuts when he was in the Lege, so when even he says that higher education cuts violate that pesky clause in the State Constitution – the one that says an Arizona university education must be “nearly as free as possible”  – well, it’s time to pay attention.

Now the Regents are on record. They ain’t gonna raise tuition.

But there are other ways to boost costs that haven’t been ruled out. We’re talking “lab fees,” and cuts in financial aid, to name just two ways that can keep that promise while still raising the cost of a college degree.

Now let’s not get carried away here. It’s clear that the will of the average Arizonan doesn’t matter to the Legislature. That’s why they keep trying to repeal voter-mandates establishing the Clean Elections System, making it harder to vote, and they’re trying to re-legalize payday loans that charge triple-digit interest rates – even though voters banned them just a few years ago.

That’s because too many serfs don’t vote. The Lege can screw them over without paying a price, since the right-wing wing nuts who control Republican primaries have a very different agenda.

But when the ruling class gives a green light to K-12 schools and universities to stand up and hollar out loud about education cuts, something is going on.

Word down at the Capital is that the budget continues to move through the legislative digestive system and will soon be dumped on our heads. But ya gotta wonder: what are our legislators saying behind closed doors?

Will they REALLY stand up and support a budget that increases class sizes, defunds libraries and school lunches, and makes it even costlier to get a college degree?

I guess we’ll see. I think the aroma of burning tar and singed feathers is wafting up to the noses of our Klown Kar Legislature. I won’t be surprised if we soon hear noise about a revolt against those education cuts.

 

Chuck Todd won't correct the record

I’m still fuming over efforts by Gov. Cold Stones and his lackies to sell us BS while telling us it’s chocolate ice cream.

An article in the Tuesday Arizona Republic reports that the Dark Dough dirtbags ain’t backing down. They’ll keep making robocalls. They’ll try to convince people that public schools waste our tax dollars.

They’re telling a big lie. They’re saying that less than half of education spending actually reaches the classroom. Most of the rest is “wasted” on such useless frills as heating and cooling, school buses, student assistance and libraries.

Of course they leave out that stuff about school lunches, school buses and student assistance spending. That would only confuse people. We can’t handle the truth, apparently.

The calls are being engineered by Mr. Sean Not-So-Noble, paid shill of the Koch evil empire and Gov. Cold Stone’s personal Rasputin. Mr. (Ig)Noble says he’s just exercising a First Amendment right to bury truth under a blanket of fertilizer.

“Having a discussion about important policy is now political intimidation?” Mr. (Ig)Noble told the Republic’s Yvonne Wingett Sanchez (presumably with a straight face). “Do school districts actually spend enough (money) in the classroom?” Noble asked. “I think not.”

Now Wingett Sanchez is a diligent reporter, someone who is willing to go elbows deep into the muck to dig out the truth.

But she failed on this mission. Instead of trying to ferret out the truth, she dutifully did a point-counterpoint.

Mr. (Ig)Noble got to spew his lies. A spokeswoman for Mesa Schools was allowed to issue a tepid statement noting that “critical support services for our students and teachers in the classroom will be diminished” if the Cold Stones budget takes effect. A seemingly neutral “expert” from ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy dismissed the whole thing as business as usual. “They (Noble and the Koch evil empire) put him in office and they want him to look good,” said David Berman, author of a paper on dark money.

Where does that leave the hapless readers? Well, they can only conclude that some people say it’s a good thing. Some say it’s a bad thing. And an expert says it’s just the way things work.

Uh, how about a little digging?

As I noted earlier this week, the facts are just a hyperlink away. Noble and Gov. Cold Stones say the school bureaucrats fritter away our tax dollars instead of putting them into the classroom. Yet an Arizona Auditor General’s report says that Mesa spends just seven percent of its budget on administration.

Read that again, please.

  • Mr. (Ig)Noble’s anti-education robocall says that “nearly two-thirds of Mesa’s education dollars never reach the classroom.”
  • The auditor General says this excludes spending on programs that helps students, feeds students, and buses them to school every day.
  • The actual cost of overhead in Mesa Schools is seven percent, not the 66 percent alleged by Mr. (Ig)Noble.

As a result, some of the sewage being spewed by Mr. (Ig)Noble is sticking to its victim. According to Mesa’s spokeswoman, the district received 15 messages in response to those rorocalls

Nine of them supported the district. Five callers buy into the roboball BS. One caller couldn’t figure out who was right.

In other words, about one out of three callers couldn’t figure out that the robocalls were unadulterated bullshit.

I don’t blame the callers. At least they cared enough to listen. Most readers of the morning paper simply shrugged their shoulders and finished their breakfast.

Now I get it. I really do. Reporting is hard. Digging through the dirt is difficult, and all it gets is calls to your editor complaining about your “bias.”

But that’s the media’s job. Or at least it used to be.

In these days of money-losing journalism and newsroom budget cuts, it’s easier to “report both sides, and let the reader decide.”

The media are forced by dwindling resources to transcribe  clashing talking points.

Or as Chuck Todd, the worthless windbag who hosts NBC’s Meet Da Press likes to say, it’s not his job to sort out the truth.

Well, whose job is it? And how does an informed citizen decide?

I guess that’s just another unanswered question

 

 

 

US - AZ abortion rates

Since this is Arizona, no legislative session can be complete until the Lege throws a bloody bone to  their ideological masters at the Center for Arizona Policy. That’s the all-powerful pack of “pro-family” polemicists run by Kathy Herrod.

Their stated goal, from CAP’s very own website:

The sanctity of human life should be protected from its very beginning to it’s natural end.

In other words, any abortion is one too many. Every pregnancy is a gift from God. Throwing away such a sacred gift ain’t just a sin. It’s a crime, a case of genocide.

So I guess CAP wants to eliminate abortions. All of them. No exceptions for rape or incest. Exceptions tisane a mom’s life? Hmmm. Tough one.

To achieve its goal of ending abortion, CAP has gotten its Lege lap-dogs to apply an ever-tightening clamp on a woman’s legal right to make this heart-rending decision. Yup, the forces of less gummint can’t interfere enough when a woman consults with her family, and her doctor, on this toughest of tough decisions.

The lege has ordered doctors to make a woman hear a fetal heartbeat. They’ve demanded that girls be lectured before they can terminate. Doctors who insist on providing this sinful procedure have been badgered and bullied. Organizations like Planned Parenthood (Booooo!) have been demonized and forced to comply with rules that make it nearly impossible to provide access to this procedure.

You’d think by now that they’ve run out of new restrictions. Silly hippy! This year’s clamp on abortion rights: Health insurance programs, especially those funded by that evil Kenyan-style Obamacare, must be prohibited from covering the cost of an abortion!

There. That’ll bring the abortion rate down nearly to Zero!

Uh, Not really.

See the chart above.

Now let’s be accurate as well as fair here, my fellow hippies. The AZ abortion rate has plummeted from nearly 23 per 1,000 women aged 15-44 here to just about 12.7. That’s a 53 percent drop! Not too shabby if you’re heck-bent on eliminating the procedure!

What’s that? CAP’s jihad on choice has nothing to do with this drop?

Why not?

Well, the national abortion rate has fallen even faster, from 26.3 per 1,000 reproductive-age women to 16.9. That’s down 62 percent.

Chew on that for a second. Abortion rates in the nation as a whole have dropped further and faster than here in pro-life AZ. Fifty three percent vs. 62 percent.

So; if the CAP’s draconian war on choice is supposed to be making abortions go away, it just ain’t working!

Well, why the heck not?

The answer may lie in teen pregnancy rates.

Take a gander:

Teen pregnancy

As it shows, Arizona ranks third nationally in teen pregnancy rates. Now our all-knowing Lege has funded – and mandated – high school programs designed to get teens to keep an asprin between their knees. Pledge to your sweet loving daddy that you’ll  save it for marriage!

Just don’t provide any accurate information about reproduction and/or successful contraception. Information like that would just encourage  them raging adolescent hormones!

Ignorance is bliss!

Uh, Nope. Sees that doesn’t work. either. Otherwise we would have so many teens killing da rabbit.

In other words, maybe if the Lege spent more time trying to figure out how to keep teenagers from getting pregnant … maybe by, oh, I dunno … MAKING IT EASIER TO OBTAIN CONTRACEPTION .. we might have fewer teen parents, and maybe even fewer abortions.

Nah! That’s heathen talk, amiright?

 

 

Sean Noble uses Koch money to spread the bullshit deep and thick.

Gov. Cold Stones uses Koch money to spread the bullshit deep and thick.

When you’re selling a lie, don’t back down. Just keep saying it as loudly and as frequently as you can. If you’re a skilled liar, or if you just use the biggest megaphone money can buy, it just might stick.

Gov. Doug Cold Stones Ducey and his dark dough dirtbags are skilled liars – and they have the resources they need. The Koch evil empire ships money to Arizona by the trainload. That allows the Duceyites to buy megaphones at wholesale rates.

Take education. Gov. Cold Stones keeps saying he’s increasing education funding. Never mind that it ain’t true. Ignore the fact that fewer dollars will be going into education under next year’s Cold Stones state budget.

Last week 233 school superintendents around the state sent out parent letters in an effort to point out the truth: Ducey’s budget will cut $113 million from education. That’s on top of massive cuts already in place that have put Arizona near the very bottom in terms of per capita student spending.

Now the Duce’s dirtbags are answering back with an under-the-radar robocall campaign. They’re trying to sell a flat-out lie.

The bullshit is being spread by Sean Noble’s Conservative Encore, one of the many Koch tentacles that is strangling the middle class and is trying to re-establish the 19th Century Robber Baron class.

If you believe the media, the calls so far have targeted just the Mesa Unified School District’s Michael Cowan.

But remember that Cowan is just one of 233 Arizona school superintendents trying to turn this tidal wave of sludge. The anti-Cowan robocall managed to find its way to the media because it targets an area where journalists live. if you think the other 232 superintendents won’t face this same counterattack, you just ain’t paying attention.

The lie is that Mesa School district “spends nearly half its entire budget outside the classroom.” Mr. Not-so-Noble’s website also alleges that “nearly two-thirds of Mesa’s education dollars never reach the classroom. This is a major departure from national standards and is unacceptable for Arizona students.”

Now this is total, unadulterated bullshit. They’re telling you it’s chocolate ice cream, but don’t let the color fool ya.

You’re calling our Governor and his fine public servants a bunch of liars? Them’s strong words. Prove it, ya hoary old hippy reprobate!

OK.

I refer you to an Arizona Auditor General’s Report on the Mesa district. Among the expenses that “never reach the classroom” are the following:

  • Plant Operations consume 10.8 percent of their budget. That’s heating, air conditioning, electricity. That stuff “never reaches the classroom?” They don’t heat or cool classrooms?
  • Transportation consumes 6.2 percent. That’s school buses and some maintenance vehicles. I guess they actually don’t reach the classrooms . They just transport kiddos to and from the classrooms.
  • Instruction support: 6.9 percent. Student support: 6.5 percent. These are programs to help kids who are struggling,  those who excel, and those who have a special talent, such as art or music, to nurture those skills.
  • Food Service: Lunches and stuff eat up 5.4 percent. That’s money that reaches student bellies,  I guess those stomachs are not “reaching the classroom.”

So. When they tell you money ain’t going to classrooms, that’s what they mean.

Now some may say that ain’t a lie. It’s just a distortion.

No. It’s flat-out bullshit intended to make it sound like money is being wasted on red tape and fancy salaries for administrators. I mean, ya know that Cowan Superintendent makes a decent buck, right?

Yeah. He makes about $198,000.

But Mesa is the largest school district in the state. Its overall administrative spending  is 7.9 percent. That’s all administrative staff, from the superintendent down to assistant principles.

It comes to about $611 per pupil. How does that compare?

Well, the statewide average for administrative spending is $640 per pupil. The nationwide average is $1,138. In other words Mesa administrative costs are below the statewide average, AND that’s about HALF the national average. Look at the Auditor General’s report. See it for yourself.

So when you hear Ducey and his fellow dirtbags allege that money is being “wasted” on non-classroom spending, don’t swallow it. And when you hear that about 50 cents out of every school dollar doesn’t reach the classroom, don’t eat that stuff either. It comes from that feedlot where the bulls go to the bathroom.

It’s a lie. It’s a deep carpet of bullshit speed on the face of reality to sell you on efforts to starve public schools to death.

It’s more than shameful. It’s a flat-out assault on the education system that has made our country rich, and created a solid middle class.

You bought Sean Noble’s bullshit when you elected Ducey. Don’t buy it when it comes to school funding.

 

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